Sexual Health Supplements Explained
Thanks to our high-stress lifestyles, it’s no wonder many of us are looking for ways to boost our sexual health – particularly our sex drives.
Take Viagra, for instance. This famous little blue pill has helped millions of men enjoy better sex. But natural alternatives such as herbal supplements are becoming increasingly popular too, with global research suggesting the market will be worth $600 million by 2027.
Indeed, many people experience some level of sexual dysfunction at some point in their lives. The exact number is impossible to pinpoint, as not everyone gets help for a sexual health problem. However, according to the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders up to 20 per cent of men worldwide could be affected by low libido and as many as 43 per cent of women.
Search online for sexual health supplements and you’ll no doubt be inundated with promises of:
- Boosted Libido
- Better Virility
- More Testosterone
But things are rarely that simple, especially with sexual desire. What works for some may not work for others. Plus to be honest there isn’t a great deal of solid scientific evidence to support sexual health supplements – though that doesn’t mean none of them work, just that their effectiveness hasn’t been proven yet.
Another potential issue with some herbal supplements is quality, which is why it’s smart to buy from a reputable supplement company that sells high-quality products made from the best natural ingredients and employs GMP standards in the manufacturing (Such as VitaBright... for example! 😉).
The sexual health supplements market can be confusing, thanks to the sheer volume of different products available. We can't comment on other brands, but here are two of our own supplements that we think warrant a closer look:
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) grows in India, the Middle East and parts of Africa. It owes its many alleged health-giving effects – including stress and anxiety relief – to compounds found in the plant’s roots called withanolides.
- One small-scale study, which used the KSM-66 ashwagandha extract, suggests it can help boost sexual function in women. The researchers have speculated ashwagandha works by reducing stress and increasing sex hormone levels.
- Another study found Ashwagandha extract boosts sperm production and increases testosterone.
Insider Know-How: KSM-66 is a highly concentrated form of Ashwagandha that is created using only the roots of the plant - whereas other extracts also use the leaves - and is produced without using chemical solvents.
We only use the finest and most scientifically supported ingredients, which is why our Ashwagandha capsules contain KSM-66 Extract.
Is it safe? Always consult Your GP, but particularly if you have a thyroid problem or if you are taking thyroid tablets before taking Ashwagandha, as it my increase your thyroid hormone levels. Also, be sure to seek advice from a health professional if you have an autoimmune condition, or if you're taking immunosuppressants or sedatives, and avoid taking Ashwagandha if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is used traditionally for increased stamina, fertility and sexual function. It’s a root vegetable related to the turnip and originates from Peru. Known as 'Peruvian Ginseng', it’s now grown in other countries now too.
Much of the evidence for the positive effect Maca has on libido and sexual performance comes from animal tests, which means the results aren’t as robust as those using humans. But a few human trials have shown promising results:
- One study found Maca supplements significantly increase sex drive in men when compared with a placebo (dummy pill).
- Another trial investigated men with mild erectile dysfunction, and found there was a slight but significant improvement in those taking maca.
But Maca isn’t just for men. Women can benefit from its libido boosting capabilities too, since evidence suggests those who take it enjoy increased sexual functioning. The dosage may be also important, with a small-scale study finding a higher amount of Maca (3000mg daily) improves libido in women and men significantly, while a lower dose (1500mg) does not.
Insider Know How: We include Black Pepper in our Ashwagandha and Maca supplements, as this helps your body absorb more of the active ingredients.
Is it safe? Maca extracts may have an oestrogenic effect, so you should avoid them if you have a hormone-sensitive condition such as endometriosis, fibroids or breast, uterine or ovarian cancer (if in doubt, speak to your GP or specialist). There’s also a lack of reliable information about the safety of taking Maca during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so again you may want to avoid it.
Which should you choose?
Ashwagandha and Maca are suitable for men and women, and both offer sexual wellbeing benefits. Maca may be more suitable if you’re menopausal, since studies suggest it helps improve menopause symptoms. Or if you’re having problems because you’re stressed, perhaps consider giving Ashwagandha a try.
Otherwise it may simply be a case of trying them to see which one suits you best. Another option would be to take both, since there’s no evidence to suggest this might cause any major complications.