Supporting Three Key Aspects of Men's Sexual Health
By Corey B. Schuler, MS, DC, CNS
A focus on sexual health and function becomes important for men at different seasons of life and for different reasons. Sexual performance requires proper circulation, hormone health, and desire.
Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid involved in many biochemical pathways in the human body. It is involved in immune function, ammonia metabolism, and the secretion of hormones. Arginine is used to make nitric oxide (NO) in the body, a molecule that works on blood flow in the cardiovascular system by controlling the relaxation of blood vessels. That's not all arginine can do; this amino acid is needed to support numerous bodily functions beyond blood flow.*1
Citrulline is another amino acid, found most commonly in the juice of the watermelon.2 Since it is a non-protein amino acid, scientists used to think of it only as an intermediate metabolite, for example, in the formation of urea.3,4 But, newer research shows it is actually a donor of arginine and NO, and (like glutamine) essential under certain conditions. Citrulline is an antioxidant and vasodilator, and also serves many other vital functions.*5
In a small, uncontrolled trial, men were given 2.8 grams of arginine per day for two weeks. Forty percent of the men in the treatment group experienced improvement in sexual performance, compared to none in the placebo group.6
In a double-blind trial, men took 5 grams of arginine per day or a matching placebo for six weeks.7 Nine of 29 (31%) patients taking L-arginine reported a significant subjective improvement in sexual function. All nine patients treated with L-arginine and who had subjectively improved sexual performance had had an initially low urinary nitric oxide, and this level had doubled at the end of the study. Men given just 500 mg three times daily in another trial experienced no better improvement than placebo.8 These results suggest that higher doses may be needed, and that men with lower nitric oxide levels might benefit the most.
In a single blind, short-term study in men, L-citrulline was given 1.5 grams per day for a month. Researchers concluded it was safe and psychologically well-accepted, very satisfying to test subjects, and supported improvement of sexual function.9 Vasophil TM from Integrative Therapeutics offers 3 grams of L-arginine and 3 grams of citrulline in a great-tasting, sour apple-flavored, single serving drink mix. Circulation via NO synthesis can safely be supported daily with Vasophil.*
Maintaining healthy testosterone levels becomes of greater concern as men age. Inadequate nutrition and other lifestyle factors can also affect testosterone production. Testosterone Formula™ from Integrative Therapeutics combines essential nutrients with botanical extracts, such as ginseng and tribulus, to help support healthy testosterone levels.*
Of particular interest though in Testosterone Formula is the inclusion of ashwagandha as KSM-66® which has been approved in Canada for health claims that include stress reduction, sports nutrition benefits, and support for healthy testosterone levels. In March 2013, KSM-66 was recognized as the Best Botanical Ingredient by the editors of Functional Ingredients magazine. In a human trial, use of KSM-66 resulted in healthy testosterone and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels.*10 Several other well-done human studies have evaluated KSM-66.
Desire is the final aspect of sexual health and is often the most neglected. Men's libido is an important function that can be supported with traditional herbs with clinically studied extracts.* A double-blind clinical trial on 50 Caucasian men evaluated maca, a Peruvian herb grown at significant altitude.11 Using subjective measurements, maca outperformed placebo. Conventional approaches to common conditions may negatively influence sexual function and desire. A nested sample of 160 study participants showed favorable results when using yohimbe in conjunction with conventional approaches.12 In a placebo-controlled study of 119 men, Panax ginseng supported healthy sexual function.13 Maca, yohimbe, Panax ginseng, Epimedium sagittatum (Horny Goat Weed), and other herbs are included in ITI Man® from Integrative Therapeutics.
Sexual function is complex and far too often only one mechanism is addressed. Additionally, certain medical conditions can cause or make sexual health more difficult to attain. A thorough medical evaluation is recommended to preclude these conditions. While no single laboratory test, marker, or sign can explain the whole story, certain patterns may help us in our journey. A NEEDS Wellness Consultant may further be helpful to guide you in attaining health and vitality. The triad of circulation, hormone health, and desire offer men of any age an optimistic view of sexual function.
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2. J Inherit Metab Dis 2005;28:467–72.
3. J Nutr 2007;137:1621S–5S.
4. Amino Acids 2005;29:177–205.
5. Fundamental Clin Pharmacol 2013;27:35–50.
6. Int J Impot Res 1994;6:33–6.
7. BJU Int 1999;83:269–73.
8. Urol Int. 1999;63(4):220–3.
9. Urology 2011;77:119–22.
10. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:571420
11. Andrologia. 2009 Apr;41(2):95-9.
12. J Clin Psychiatry. 1992 Apr;53(4):119-22
13. Int J Impot Res. 2013 Mar-Apr;25(2):45-50
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.