The second you start looking into fertility testing, the acronyms are everywhere. Chief among them is AMH, or anti-müllerian hormone. It’s secreted by the ovarian follicles, and the higher this level, the more follicles you likely have and the higher your egg count. For those preparing for IVF, this number may indicate how well your ovaries respond to stimulation prior to egg retrieval. Of course, there’s a lot more to the AMH story, and it’s a number that’s really only helpful when you look at it in the right context. Here’s what to understand about your AMH level and what it means for your chances of becoming pregnant.
- AMH stands for anti-müllerian hormone, and it’s a good indication of ovarian reserve (how many eggs you have).
- For those hoping to conceive, a level greater than 1 ng/ml is ideal.
- Those undergoing IVF can use AMH levels to determine how many eggs might be retrieved after stimulation.
- Some studies show that AMH levels may increase with supplementation and lifestyle changes.
AMH Level & Fertility
There are a number of tests used to gather data points for a snapshot of your fertility health, and AMH is one of them. The information is specific in that the number reflects the number of eggs you have, but offers no insight into the quality, or more specifically, the genetic health, of those eggs. Unfortunately, no test can give you that information. But while we know that egg quality naturally degrades with age, reliable research indicates that specialized nutrition in the form of key micronutrients can actually promote and support egg quality.
An AMH test likewise provides no information on potential fertility hurdles like uterine scarring, fibroids, or other conditions. But by giving you a number of eggs in comparison to the average, this test does have value. A low AMH could signal early menopause, for example, while an abnormally high level might indicate PCOS. If you’re exploring egg freezing, AMH tells you something really useful–how many eggs you’ll probably be able to freeze in a single cycle.
Understanding whether your AMH level is high or low requires comparison to a useful population. The Center for Fertility Research & Education looked at the results of more than 2,600 AMH tests among non-fertile women to determine that, as one would imagine, AMH levels decrease as women age. Median levels in women under 30 were 2.91. By ages 35-37, the number was 2.03. After age 42, it was .59.
While it’s easy to assign a lot of meaning to those numbers, keep in mind that a low AMH doesn’t mean a woman is infertile. It’s an indication of ovarian reserve, and not whether a woman is able to become pregnant.
Can You Increase AMH Levels?
A woman is born with all the eggs she’ll ever have, and that number cannot increase, even if AMH levels change. Spoiler–they can and do. Fluctuating levels are common from one cycle to the next, and sometimes there is no discernible pattern. So what’s the benefit of increasing AMH? And is that even an option?
Increasing AMH levels can be beneficial in some cases, and there is some research supporting certain supplements, nutrition, and lifestyle changess
- Supplementation. Small studies have found an association between selenium and vitamin E supplementation to increase AMH and ovarian volume. Vitamin D is known to affect AMH signaling and progesterone production, and it may increase AMH levels in women without PCOS.
- Nutrition. Healthy nutrition habits support fertility in general, and diets high in saturated fats and fast foods are associated with lower AMH levels. Interestingly, dairy may also regulate AMH levels in women with a regular menstruation cycle.
- Lifestyle habits. Couples hoping to conceive are advised to adopt healthy habits, including dropping bad habits like smoking. That can support higher AMH levels as well.
The Bottom Line
Keep in mind that AHM is only one data point that can paint a broad picture of your fertility health. If the goal is a healthy baby, do what you can. Embrace the five pillars of fertility and focus your energy on nutrition, movement, sleep, minimizing toxins in your environment, and supplementing with a high-quality prenatal vitamin. Both partners will benefit from these best practices, and particularly the steady supply of micronutrients in Beli Vitality for Men and Beli for Women. Research is clear about the role nutrients play in supporting and promoting fertility in men and in women, and a daily prenatal vitamin is a small, mindful act with a big pay-off.