The supplement industry is a multi-million pound industry and provides a huge array of products, which usually purport to provide some sort of health or fitness benefit.

However, as it is an unregulated industry many companies make false or exaggerated claims for their products or have substances in them that although they have scientific evidence backing their efficacy, may not have a large enough dose to be effective.

Supplements are a mine field and it is difficult for the lay person to plough through the scientific evidence to determine whether the supplement is actually worth taking and spending your hard earned cash on. 

This time we look at sexual health supplements, including testosterone boosters.

Sexual health is always a taboo subject among most men. While women’s sexual health is discussed fairly widely, men’s is much less so. However, it is clear that men have sexual health problems too. These problems are also much more prevalent in middle aged and older men and are of course also often related to a decline in general health.

Sexual dysfunction is more common than is acknowledged, although with the arrival of viagra and cialis, this has caused a bit more of an increase in discussion of the topic. While these products do deal with the symptoms, they don’t tackle the causes.

There are a number of supplements that are effective at treating sexual dysfunction, because rather then just boost libido temporarily, they actually offer a longer term solution.

Mal e erectile dysfunction (ED) has a number of causes and there are different problems, which require specific supplements to treat them.

Peripheral ED is associated with poor circulation and as well as ED, other symptoms like poor circulation in the hands and feet are apparent. This form of ED can be treated with nitrate, which I also discussed as a muscle building supplement. Including vegetables high in nitrate, such as beetroot, lettuce, carrots, green beans, spinach, cabbage, radishes, celery, parsley and collard greens, regularly in your diet may help alleviate peripheral ED. The antioxidants pycnogenol and grape seed extract have also been shown to improve circulation.

The next form of ED is psychogenic and is rooted in stress and anxiety. Chronic stress can have a detrimental effect on health in many ways, and can also contribute to a loss of libido and and the ability to get an erection. The supplements ashwagandha and rhodiola rosea can reduce feelings of stress and may help treat psychogenic  ED.

 

Sleep quality can also suffer as a result of high stress levels. Addressing your sleep patterns and avoiding using electronic devices near bed time can also help reduce symptoms of psychogenic ED.

 

The final form of ED is known as central or neurogenic and refers to the ability of the brain to initiate and/or sustain an erection. This is not necessarily related to the issues of circulation or stress discussed above. Supplementation for this form of ED is less effective and there are fewer solutions. Improving your lifestyle may play a big part in improving symptoms, although yohimbine has also been shown to potentially provide help.

 

There is very little research on female sexual dysfunction. Sexual dysfunction in women is often related to depressive or anxiety disorders, and maca root has been shown to provide benefits for women suffering this type of condition.

 

Testosterone Boosters

 

Testosterone is a sex hormone, more prevalent in men than women and plays a large role in the development of the sexual and reproductive system. In men testosterone is produced mainly in the testes, but also in the adrenal glands.

 

It belongs to a group of male hormones known as androgens, or more commonly known as anabolic steroids and as androgens play a role in muscle building, thus explaining their usage in bodybuilding circles.

 

Testerone levels in men naturally and gradually reduce after the age of thirty. Some men suffer from particularly low testosterone and may require testosterone supplements. These should only be taken following testing by, and under the medical supervision of your doctor.

 

There have been a number of substances that have been claimed to increase testosterone. These include tribulus terrestris, eurycoma longifolia, stinging nettle, maca, and pygeum.

 

However, there is little point in examining these individually as none of them are particularly effective. While they all do increase testosterone levels, the increases are so insignificant as to make their use pointless. There is some evidence they can increase libido, but not testosterone in amy meaningful manner.

 

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), D-aspartic acid, and the spice fenugreek have been shown to increase testosterone levels, but only when supplementing.  Thereafter, they return to normal levels.

 

Supplements like creatine, vitamin D, zinc and magnesium do increase testosterone concentration in the blood, but only very slightly. Supplementing with these as a stack could provide small boosts in testosterone. I would recommend those who train or exercise hard should be supplementing with vitamin D, zinc and magnesium anyway.

 

Libido Boosters

 

I touched on substances above that can boost the libido. Fenugreek and maca root have bee shown to increase libido, although neither has a hormonal effect. Tribulus terrestris has also been reported to increase libido, despite it’s negligible effect as a testosterone booster. 

Published by Neil Elbourne