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Study Finds the Fertility Water Fountain of Youth

Fertility Authority,  Nov 27, 2012

November 27, 2012
Can a naturally occurring compound added to drinking water or taken in pill form cause fewer chromosome abnormalities and miscarriage in older women?

A recent study, under direction of Dr. Johné Liu of Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, suggests it can. According to the findings published online in Aging Cell, women in their late 30s and 40s are at greater risk of producing eggs with an incorrect number of chromosomes and as a result, miscarry or have a child with birth defects.

Putrescine, an organic chemical compound essential for cell division and produced in the breakdown of amino acids, added to water or administered in pill form could reduce the production of these chromosomally abnormal eggs- one of the top causes of infertility and pregnancy loss in older women. The enzyme that produces putrescine is known to rise around the time of ovulation in women, but at a much lower rate in older women.

A 2011 study published in Reproductive BioMedicine Online examined more than 20,000 retrieved eggs and found that 40% of eggs from women over the age of 40 were chromosomally abnormal. In Liu's study, putrescine water reduced defective eggs in older female mice by more than 50%.

However, putrescine has not been tested in humans and is not yet available as a fertility aid. Future use of putrescine for fertility must be administered with extreme caution. Putrescine is toxic in large quantities and is proven toxic to the fetus if consumed during pregnancy. Further research is needed to determine appropriate dosing, timing, and monitoring of patients using putrescine treatment for fertility.

The full manuscript, “Deficiency of ovarian ornithine decarboxylase contributes to aging-related egg aneuploidy in mice”, is available on PubMed [Epub ahead of print].


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