A while back, my friend Kate had asked me to share with her the research I had done regarding elevated androgen levels, DHEA, PCOS and Pregnitude. I put this together for her and since the topic keeps coming up in a lot of groups and discussion boards, I thought I would include all my research here too. Some of the studies also include information on increasing your AMH which I have heard from a few doctors isn't possible but since it happened to me and a few other ladies I know, I tend to defer to the study, rather than the doctors.
Read it all now or bookmark it in case you need it later. Either way, I just wanted to share my findings in case someone else out there finds themselves in need of the info!
It was actually my PCP who tested my androgen levels. He had just been to a conference about PCOS and excess androgens so with all of his patients with IF, he was running those labs prior to sending them to an RE, because he learned at the conference that RE’s don’t usually run those tests. I was his first patient to come back with elevated androgens. What my PCP told me was that my elevated androgen levels were affecting egg maturation. He said that since my temping was confirming ovulation, he suspected that I was O-ing but the eggs weren’t mature because my excess androgens were messing with maturation and were causing the eggs to release too early. My PCP had directed me to this study: http://www.rbej.com/content/9/1/116 to explain what he suspected. It has info about excess androgens and DHEA.
When I went to the RE, and told him what my PCP said, he confirmed that excess androgens of a certain type can cause that to happen but said the other possibility is that the excess androgen is actually a result of improper ovulation (http://members.tripod.com/helpful_info/helpfulinformation/id155.html ). My RE commended my PCP for running those tests, he said they wouldn’t have normally looked for that. At that time, my RE also confirmed my PCP’s PCOS diagnosis.
When researching PCOS and excess androgens, I came across this: http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=134668 Which mentions the use of Inositol in polycystic women and spearmint for reducing hair growth and balancing hormones (I ignored the cinnamon part because I have hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, not diabetes) When I did a search for Inositol, I found Pregnitude.
Info on Pregnitude:
(European version of Pregnitude and studies) http://www.inofolic.it/drupal/?q=node/45
While researching the use of spearmint for excess hair growth and hormone balance, I came across this: http://www.mypcos.info/1/treatments/natural/spearmint/ This resource says that it is not proven to balance testosterone, but does have anitandrogen effects, it helps with LH, FSH and oestridiol levels, which can combat excessive androgens. (Here is another resource about spearmint that also mentions DHEA http://www.raysahelian.com/polycysticovarysyndrome.html
I do not take DHEA due to the fact that I also heard it can cause excess androgens and I have enough already, so I figured the best route would be to try and reduce androgen levels naturally while also trying to improve egg quality. Also, when I brought DHEA up to my RE, he said his concern with my taking it was that it would counteract the effect of the Femara, which blocks estrogen production since some studies have shown that DHEA increases estrogen. http://www.virginiahopkinstestkits.com/dheahormonelevels.html
My RE wasn’t too supportive of my use of Pregnitude, but the cycle after I started it, I had the best follicles of any cycle and during my break cycles, I was O-ing around cd 14 when I have always O’d around cd 10 or 12 at the latest, which pretty much convinced him that it was working for me. This last cycle that got cancelled, I ran out of Pregnitude and Walgreens was backordered so I went a whole week without taking it. I either O’d on cd11 prior to my monitoring appointment or the follicle just plain collapsed with no O and I was cancelled. I think it has everything to do with stopping the Pregnitude for a little while. Mr. Idon’tthinkitwillhelpbutitcan’thurt RE scolded me for stopping it for a week!