6 Powerful Libido Enhancing Supplements with Proof

March 4, 2015 by in category sexual health with 0 and 0

libidoDesire for sex or libido is a term used to describe a person’s sexual desire. Social psychological and biological factors determine it.

Biologically, the hormones in our body such as testosterone affect our desire for sex while social factors like work and relationships, have considerable impact.

Psychological factors, such as personality and stress also have an effect on an individual’s sex drive.

In addition to these, certain other factors like medical conditions, medications, life-style and relationship issues are also likely to impact sex drive. A healthy sexual desire is important as it is a vital part of intimate relationships, and a lack of sexual desire can sour relationships.

Today the market is flooded with supplements and other products which promise you an increased sex drive and a revitalized sex life. However, not all of these are worth trying and many are effective only in burning a hole in your pocket.

We have compiled a list of supplements which are scientifically proven to give your sex drive the required boost and can be used with minimum risk of any serious side effects. Various supplements, known to have beneficial effects on sexual drive are discussed below.

Maca

For 3000 years Maca has been cultivated as a vegetable crop in Peru. It is actually a relative of the radish and has butterscotch-like odour. It’s root has great nutritional value and the root is infact used to make certain medicines.

maca

It is believed to be helpful in treatment of erectile dysfunction and in treatment of erectile dysfunction and improving sexual drive (libido) in men and also known to help reduce anxiety, enhance stamina and improve stamina when supplemented in powdered form for about 8 weeks duration.

There are different types of maca plant. However, research says that when it comes to improving libido, there is no difference between red, black or yellow maca. Scientific research has illustrated the beneficial effects of Maca root supplementation in improving libido among men.

This supplement is commercially available in powder form. According to various studies carried out to test efficiency of Maca root supplementation in humans, the recommended dosage which is safe and effective is 1500 – 3000 mg maca root extract powder per day. In certain cases, higher dosage may be more effective.

Experts say that to be on the safer side, Maca root should not be taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding as its effect on women and the child in such situations is not known so far. Also, since this extract may act like estrogen (female sex hormone), people suffering from certain types of hormone sensitive cancer such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer or uterine fibroids should not use it.

Clinical Proof #1

A research study was conducted by Gonzales and co-researchers in 2002 on men who were (21-56 years old) to see if giving maca root powder to these men in different doses was showing any positive effects on their sex drive.

The men were divided into 3 treatment groups. Neither the men who participated in the study nor the researchers who did the study knew which individual was in which group, receiving which treatment. This type of ‘double-blind randomization’ is done to ensure that there is no bias in the results of the research.

  1. Group 1 was given 1500 mg/day Maca root powder
  2. Group 2 was given 3000 mg/day Maca root powder
  3. Group 3 was given a Placebo (substance similar to Maca root which did not have properties of Maca root)

Self-perception of sex drive among the men in the research study was measured at 4 weeks, 8 weeks and 12 weeks of treatment. There was an improvement in self-perceived sexual desire from the 8th week of treatment. However, no change was observed in the serum testosterone levels.

The research concluded that maca root supplementation for 12 weeks showed a positive effect on sexual desire at 8 and 12 weeks of treatment.

Clinical Proof #2

Another research done by Dording and co-researchers in 2008 aimed to see how well maca root powder supplementation in two doses (1500 mg/day and 3000 mg/day) worked in managing SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) Induced Sexual Dysfunction among individuals. The participants enrolled in the study were depressed and their average age was 36 years. Out of 20 participants, 17 were women. The participants of the research study were put randomly into 2 treatment groups.

  1. Group 1 was given 1500 mg/day Maca root powder
  2. Group 2 was given 3000 mg/day Maca root powder

It was a double blind, randomized study which means that the two treatment groups were decided at random. Neither researchers nor participants were aware which group they were being out in. Additionally, none of them were aware which group was being given which treatment dose of maca root. This is done in this kind of study to avoid any type of bias in the results and ensure fair and accurate outcome.

Sexual dysfunction among the trial participants was measured by using two standardized measurement tools; ASEX – Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (ASEX) and MGD-SFQ i.e. Massachusetts General Hospital Sexual Function Questionnaire. Higher scores mean higher degree of sexual dysfunction.

maca's effect on sexual dysfunction

When the scores of both groups, before and after supplementation were compared, Group 2 showed a lot of improvement in both ASEX and MGH-SFQ scores while Group 1 showed no improvement in either scores.

Both doses of maca root were well tolerated by the research participants and the dose of 3000 mg/day seems to work well in enhancing libido and reducing SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) Induced Sexual Dysfunction.

Clinical Proof #3

Stone and co-scientists did a study on sportsmen 2009 to see if maca supplementation improved physical endurance and sexual desire in them. Eight sportsmen (trained male cyclists) participated in the research study and were given maca supplementation for 14 days. The participants were divided into 2 treatment groups.

  1. Group 1 was given Maca root powder for 14 days
  2. Group 2 was given a Placebo (substance similar to Maca root which did not have properties of Maca root) for 14 days

These participants completed a 40 km cycling time trial before and after the supplementation. They were also asked to complete a sexual desire inventory to compare the changes in their sexual desire by the end of the supplementation.

Highlights of the research results:

  • Maca extract supplementation significantly improved 40 km cycling performance in Group 1.
  • There was no difference in cycling performance of Group 1 & 2 by the end of the supplementation.
  • Self-rated sexual desire score was much better for Group 2 after supplementation with maca extract.
  • Group 1 had higher self-rated sexual desire score than Group 2 by the end of the 14 days of maca extract supplementation.

There was marked improvement in both physical endurance (measured by improvement in 40 km cycling time trial performance) and self-rated sexual desire among the sportsmen who were given maca extract supplementation for 14 days.

Yohimbine

Over the years Yohimbine has been widely used for its aphrodisiac properties. It is perhaps one of the more popular sexual enhancement supplements.

yohimbine tree bark

Clinical Proof

It is not uncommon for people to develop libido and sexual response problems after undergoing treatment with anti-depressants like Fluoxetine. Such patients were invited in one specific trial and were prescribed Yohimbine 5.4mg 3 times a day.

Interestingly 8 out of the 9 participants reported improved libido levels. Excellent results, no doubt, but in the absence of placebo control, any over-enthusiasm about the results here have to be managed.

In a clinical trial conducted in male rats old male rats were intracerebroventricularly injected with 10 micrograms of yohimbine hydrochloride. The rats showed reduced time to initial mounting(sexual act) and also increased attempts to mount overall.

There is no doubt that yohimbine is a alpha-2-adrenergic agonist that can combat anti-aphrodisiac effects of certain chemical agents like Clonidine, Naloxone and Fluoxetine.

In a more recent trial conducted in post-menopausal women however, 23 women were each given yohimbine alone and in combination with arginine at different times. Their responses were then measured alternatively to non-sexual and sexual film.

60min from the time when they were given the combination therapy of yohimbine(6g) and arginine(6g), they exhibited a significant increase in vaginal pulse amplitude. It is to be noted that there was very little to no differences from neutral response when they were on yohimbine alone.

Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus terrestris is known in Sanskrit as Gokshura and is believed to be an extremely powerful medicinal plant with a strong effect on libido (sexual drive), testosterone levels, and erectile function among other sexual functions. It has been traditionally used in India and China as a medicinal plant for more than 3,000 years.

Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus terrestris is commercially available as tablets and capsules. The Saponin content of the Tribulus terrestris tablets decides which dose should be taken. Generally, for libido enhancement and treatment of erectile dysfunction, a dose of 200 to 450 mg per day is recommended, if the Saponin extract of the supplement is 60%.

Clinical Proof #1

A researcher named Sellandi, alongwith co-researchers conducted a scientific study in 2012 to see if Tribulus Terrestris was actually as effective as believed by traditional Indian and Chinese medicine.

This study was done on men with oligozoospermia (low sperm count) which is one of the leading causes of male infertility.Men, in the age range of 21-50 years who were suffering from Oligozoospermia were included in the study and put into 2 treatment groups.

  1. Group 1 was given Gokshura granules for 60 days
  2. Group 2 was given Placebo (substance which is similar to Gokshura but does not have effects of Gokshura) for 60 days.

The study was a randomized, double blind study which means that the treatment groups were made randomly i.e. neither researcher nor participants could decide which group they would be put into. Also, none of them knew which group was being given which treatment (Gokshura or placebo). This is done to ensure that there is no bias on part of participants or researchers and study results are accurate.

Improvement (if any), in the sexual health of participants was measured by making them fill a Quality of Sexual Health Questionnaire before and after treatment.

sexual health improvement scores withTribulus terrestris

The group that was given Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris) supplements had much better sexual health by the end of the study period compared to the group that was given placebo.

Panax Ginseng

Panax Ginseng is a plant which grows in Asia. It is therefore also known as Asian Ginseng, or Chinese Ginseng. Another name for it is Korean Red Ginseng. Ginseng supplement contains the root of this plant. When the root is allowed to dry, it forms white ginseng. When it is steamed and then dried, we get red ginseng.

Panax Ginseng

The root of Ginseng plant has been used traditionally as a medicinal plant for improving libido or sexual drive i.e. desire to have sexual intercourse in menopausal women (women who are undergoing menopause).

It is also believed to have ability to cure impotence (erectile dysfunction) in men. Traditional medicine claims that Panax Ginseng possesses anti-cancer properties, helpful in preventing breast and colon cancer among humans.

It is commercially available as liquid, powder and capsule. Even the dried root form of ginseng is available which can be added in tea while preparing it.

Recommended dosage of Ginseng for treatment of erectile dysfunction in men is daily dosage of 900-1000 mg, 3 times a day. The recommended dose should never be exceeded and care should be taken to avoid mixing Korean red ginseng with medications and caffeine. It is wise to consult your health care professional before starting this supplementation.

There are some safety concerns for using this supplement. When used for less than 3 months, it seems safe for most adults. However, a common complaint among Ginseng users is difficulty in sleeping (insomnia).

Some people face problems such as high fast heart beats, abnormal blood pressure, headache, reduced hunger, skin irritation and rash, mood swings and diarrhea. Women may also get vaginal bleeding, pain in breast or irregular periods by using this supplement.

Since the effects of Ginseng are not known in infants and children, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using it. People suffering from heart conditions, diabetes, bleeding conditions, auto-immune disease, hormone sensitive cancers such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis or uterine fibroids, mental disorder and organ transplant should avoid it.

There is a scientific basis for the claims made regarding beneficial effect of Panax Ginseng in improving libido among menopausal women. A scientific study providing evidence for this is discussed below.

Clinical Proof

A team of scientists led by Oh KJ did a study in 2010 where they gave Panax Ginseng supplementation to 28 menopausal women to see if it improved their sexual function. These women were divided into 2 treatment groups.

Firstly, Group 1 women were given 3 capsules of Ginseng daily (1 gm per capsule) while Group 2 women were given placebo (substance which is similar to actual supplement but does not have the biological effects of the actual supplement).

After this supplementation period was over, there was a gap of 2 weeks after which, the women in Group 1 were given placebo and those in Group 2 were given 3 capsules of Ginseng daily (1 gm per capsule).

This type of study design is known as “cross-over clinical study” which is done to optimize efficiency of study results.

Two questionnaires were used to measure the effectiveness of the supplementation.

  1. Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI)
  2. Global Assessment Questionnaire (GAQ)

The average age of these women was 51 years and the average duration of menopausal state (duration for which they experienced menopause) was 37 months.

How Panax Ginseng affects womens libido

As seen in above graph, there was a notable increase in the FSFI score for “sexual arousal” in the women after supplementation compared to before (3.1 to 3.5).

The GAQ scores of the group receiving the supplementation were remarkably higher than those receiving placebo.

Supplementation of Panax Ginseng improves libido (sexual desire) in menopausal women has proven a useful option for those women who experience a dip in their sexual desire during menopause.

Eurycoma longifolia

Eurycoma longifolia is a tall and thin evergreen shrub tree which is commonly found in the South East Asian region. It is also known by several other names such as tongkatali, Ali’s walking stick and Ali’s Umbrella among others. In Malaysia, it is strongly believed as a libido enhancing natural remedy and is thought to improve sexual abilities and virility.

eurycoma longifolia

It is used in traditional medicines around the globe. While traditional belief and some scientific research strongly assert that Eurycoma longifolia boosts the sexual desire in men as well as women and is also capable of increasing testosterone levels in men, more extensive research is required to confirm these beliefs.

It is commercially available in liquid extract as well as capsule form for supplementation purposes. Theoptimal dose of Eurycoma longifolia depends on factors such as overall health and age.

Currently, there is insufficient evidence regarding the confirmed, standard recommended dosage for Eurycoma Longifolia. However, whatever research has been done with this supplement suggests the recommended dosage to be 200 – 300 mg per day. This is a rough estimate of the recommended dose and it is not yet known if a higher dose is more effective.

It is vital to follow guidelines given by your doctor and the directions on product labels on the packaging or bottle of supplement before using.

Since not much is known about the effect of Eurycoma Longifolia on pregnant and breastfeeding women, it should be avoided by pregnant women to avert possible risks.

Clinical Proof

In 2012, a scientist, Ismail along with his co-workers conducted a scientific trial on 109 men (30 – 55 years) to check if Eurycoma longifolia actually had the benefits that is believed to have. He divided these men randomly into 2 groups.

One group was given Eurycoma Longifolia extract (300 mg of freeze-dried water extract) while the other was given a placebo (substance which was similar to Eurycoma longifolia but did not have its properties). Neither the scientists nor the men who were participating in the trial knew which group they were being put into.

The effect of the supplementation was checked using Quality of Life (SF-36 questionnaire) which included questions about physical functioning, social functioning, mental health, vitality and general health perception. The participants of the trial were asked to complete this once before the supplementation, then after 6 weeks of treatment and then again after 12 weeks after supplementation.

Sexual Wellbeing of the trial participants was investigated by International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), Sexual Health Questionnaires (SHQ), Sperm motility and Semen volume. These assessments were made once before start of the study and then after 12 weeks of supplementation.

The physical functioning of Group 1 (which was given supplementation) had improved after supplementation. It was also much better than that of placebo group when both groups were compared at 12 weeks after supplementation.

Erectile function, Sexual Libido, Sperm motility as well as Semen volume had improved in Group 1 which clearly indicates the positive role of Eurycoma longifolia supplementation in enhancing quality of life and sexual well-being among men.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is a plant, the seeds of which are used to make medicine for a variety of purposes in traditional Indian medicine. It is sometimes used to improve vitality and masculinity as well as to increase libido and sexual satisfaction. It is also supplemented for treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED), and other male problems.

fenugreek

Little scientific evidence is present which supports these traditional belief. The following research is one such scientific study which confirms the beneficial role of Fenugreek supplementation in male libido and sexual satisfaction.

How much fenugreek supplement should be taken depends on various factor such as sex, age, health condition and current medications you are taking. It is available commercially as defatted seeds and capsules for supplementation purpose.

Recommended dosage of fenugreek is not confirmed by research but studies conducted so far suggest that a dose range of 500 – 600 mg per day of fenugreek product called “Testofen” is beneficial in improving sexual function among men.

People who are allergic to green pea, chick peas, peanuts or soybeans may also be allergic to fenugreek. SO they should exercise caution when starting this supplement.

Clinical Proof

In 2011, Steels, Rao and Vitetta studied the effect of fenugreek supplementation in 60 healthy males (25 – 52 years of age), none of whom were suffering from erectile dysfunction. These men were divided into 2 treatment groups randomly.

Neither the researchers nor patients themselves could decide which groups they would be out into. It was a “Double-blind, Randomized Study”.

  1. Group 1 was given 600 mg Testofen (Fenugreek extract) per day in the form of 2 tablets every day.
  2. Group 2 was given a placebo (substance which was similar to Testofen but did not have the properties of Testofen).

Among Group1 subjects, i.e. those who were given Fenugreek supplementation, there was definite improvement in libido (sexual desire) as well as sexual arousal and orgasm.

Also, there was enhancement in self-reported quality of life in terms of satisfaction with muscle strength, energy levels and well-being among these men. The supplementation was also instrumental in maintaining normal Testosterone levels among the men.

Overall, 600 mg/day supplementation of the Fenugreek extract seems to have a positive effect on the sexual well-being, general health and hormone levels in men.

Popular supplements with no proven benefits on libido

Dehydroepiandrosterone

Dehydroepiandrosterone is a steroid hormone which is present in the body. It plays an important role in the production of sex hormones in the body. Scientific research fails to prove beneficial effect of Dehydroepiandrosterone as a supplement for improving libido (sexual drive) and enhancing sexual function in men as well as women.

Ginkgo Bilboa

This is a unique species of tree which grows in China. It is known for its use as a medicinal plant as well as a source of food in China. It is especially believed to be helpful in improving libido but no scientific evidence supporting these claims exist.

L-DOPA

This chemical is made inside the body of humans as well as some plants and animals. Its main function is to help in manufacturing of neurotransmitters (chemicals which transmit signals in the brain) in the body. Though it is believed to be helpful in improving sexual health, no significant influence on libido has been reported by any of the trials conducted using this supplement.

Nicotine

Nicotine is a plant product known for its addictive and stimulant properties. However, there is no scientific basis to the claims that it improves sexual drive in humans.

Velvet Antler

Velvet Antler refers to the antlers of deer, moose or elk which are used for medicinal purposes in traditional Chinese medicine. Supplement of velvet antler are available as dried powder as well as capsules. Though it is hyped as a performance enhancer for sportsmen and in improving sexual performance, none of the trials conducted using these supplements have shown conclusive positive results for this.

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