Decreased libido and sexual function isn’t unusual as men age – and it frequently interferes with intimacy in romantic relationships. Healthy sexual function is a multifactorial process requiring healthy hormone production, healthy circulation, adequate energy levels, and proper mental well-being.
Research suggests that nutraceuticals that specifically address testosterone and nitric oxide levels may have a positive impact on male sexual function. Before we discuss specific nutraceuticals, let’s first take a look at the decline of testosterone and nitric oxide in aging men.
Decline of testosterone
Testosterone (T) levels in men gradually decline with age. A significant percentage of men over the age of 60 have serum T levels below the lower limits of rates in young adult men (aged 20 to 30).1 Some studies2 show that men experience a gradual and gradual decline in total T levels that occurs at a rate of about 1% per year starting in their thirties; other studies3 show a mean annual decline of 1% to 2% in total T levels, with an even faster decline in free T. This reduction is involved in the reduction of libido and sexual function.
Decrease in nitric oxide
Nitric oxide (NO), a compound produced by the body, is necessary for the vasodilation of blood vessels and, therefore, for erectile function. NO production, however, steadily decreases with increasing age in healthy humans.4 In the coronary circulation of aging adults, a 75% loss of endothelium-derived NO was observed in patients aged 70 to 80 compared to healthy 20-year-olds.5
While there are several nutraceuticals that can help promote healthy testosterone levels, the one I’m going to focus on in this article is ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera), which has been used in Ayurvedic medicine6 for over 3000 years. The traditional therapeutic actions of ashwagandha are said to include tonic, aphrodisiac, narcotic, diuretic, deworming, astringent, anti-inflammatory, sedative, alterant, thermogenic, and stimulant effects.7.8
In a 90-day, two-arm, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study,9 the effects of ashwagandha root extract (ashwagandha brand KSM-66, 675 mg / day in three doses, n = 21) or placebo (n = 25) on spermatogenic activity and levels of Serum hormones in 46 patients with oligospermia were examined. The results with ashwagandha were:
- 167% increase in sperm count (P
- 53% increase in semen volume (P
- 57% increase in sperm motility (P
- 17% increase in serum testosterone (P
- 34% increase in luteinizing hormone (P
Another randomized, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studyten was conducted to examine the effects of ashwagandha root extract (brand KSM-66, one 300 mg capsule twice daily) or placebo on muscle strength and endurance, size and recovery, testosterone and body fat in 50 healthy, physically active men (18-45 years old, n = 25 for each group) with little experience in bodybuilding. Creatine kinase (CK) has been evaluated as a biomarker of recovery from muscle injury. Compared to placebo, here are the results of ashwagandha supplementation:
- Significant increase in muscle strength (bench press) (P
- Significant increase in muscle size (arm) (P
- 15% increase in serum testosterone (P
- Significantly reduced percentage of body fat (P
Blend of plant-based superfoods
While there are a few nutraceutical options for boosting nitric oxide (NO) levels (including arginine, citrulline, and beets), maybe my favorite is a plant superfood blend known as Spectra. . In addition to being a powerful antioxidant with a high ORAC value,11.12.13 a single-dose, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study14 on the effects of this superfood mixture (100 mg / day) was shown to cause a significant reduction in the cellular inflammatory response and also increase in the concentration of bioavailable NO 64%.
Given the prevalence of decreased testosterone and nitric oxide in aging men, the use of these nutraceuticals offers an option to help increase the levels of these vital biochemicals, with a high margin of safety. and efficiency.
Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH (AHG) has 42 years of experience in the dietary supplement industry. With a master’s degree in nutrition and a second master’s degree in herbal medicine, he has a proven track record in formulating innovative and evidence-based dietary supplements. Mr. Bruno is currently both Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at NutraScience Labs and Professor of Nutraceutical Sciences at Huntington University of Health Sciences.
- Wang C et al. “Investigation, treatment and monitoring of late-onset hypogonadism in humans: recommendations from ISA, ISSAM, EAU, EAA and ASA. ” European Journal of Endocrinology, flight. 159, no. 5 (November 2008): 507-514
- Matsumoto AM. “Andropause: Clinical implications of lowering serum testosterone levels with aging in men. ” Gerontology journals: Series A, Biological and medical sciences, flight. 57, no. 2 (February 2002): M76-M99
- Araujo AB et al. “Endocrinology of the Aging Man.” Best practices and research. Clinical endocrinology and metabolism, flight. 25, no. 2 (April 2011): 303-319
- Torregrossa AC et al. “Nitric oxide and geriatrics: implications in the diagnosis and treatment of the elderly. ” Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, flight. 8, no. 4 (December 2011): 230-242
- Vita JA et al. “The coronary vasomotor response to acetylcholine is linked to risk factors for coronary heart disease. ” Circulation, flight. 81, no. 2 (February 1990): 491-497
- Anonymous. Monograph. Withania somnifera. Journal of Alternative Medicine, Vol. 9 (2004): 211-214
- Singh N et al. “An Insight into Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenating) of Ayurveda.” African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, flight. 8, 5 Suppl (2011): 208-213
- Uddin Q et al. “Phytochemical and pharmacological profile of Withania somnifera Dunal: a review. ” Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences, flight. 2, no. 1 (2012): 170-175
- Ambiye VR et al. “Clinical Evaluation of Spermatogenic Activity of Ashwagandha Root Extract (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study.” Complementary and alternative medicine based on evidence. Published online November 28, 2013.
- Sachin W. “Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract (Withania somnifera) on muscle strength, size and recovery, testosterone and body fat in healthy adults. Unpublished; 2014: 25 pages.
- Certificate of analysis. Client: Van Drunen Farms. Sample identification: Lot number: B-10516b. Description: Specters, Powder, 19600000N850. Report date: 06/08/2010. Brunswick Laboratories, 200 Turnpike Rd, Southborough, MA 01772 USA
- Certificate of analysis. Client: Van Drunen Farms. Sample identification: Lot number: B-11202b. Description: Specters, Powder, 04910000N850. Report date: 03/25/2011. Brunswick Laboratories, 200 Turnpike Rd, Southborough, MA 01772 USA
- Certificate of analysis. Client: Van Drunen Farms. Sample identification: Lot number: B-11670b. Description: Specters, Powder, 24210000N850. Report date: 09/30/2011. Brunswick Laboratories, 200 Turnpike Rd, Southborough, MA 01772 USA.
- Nemzer BV et al. “New information on the effects of a dietary supplement on oxidative and nitrosative stress in humans. ” Food Sciences and Nutrition, flight. 2, no. 6 (November 2014): 828-839