It's a whole different—and wonderful—world now where men are no longer ashamed to recognize and discuss male-related issues such as erectile dysfunction (ED) or low testosterone. In fact, more men are assertively seeking knowledge and solutions to what they may perceive as problems stemming from declining testosterone production. In other words, men have come out of the shame closet. And this bodes well for the category of male virility support supplements.
Pharmaceutical solutions to raise endogenous testosterone may contribute to heart failure, according to drugwatch.com. The third-party site reported that since 2000, approximately half a million men began using hormone replacement therapy, and this number has grown four-fold. In addition, American men shell out collectively about UDS $2 billion on testosterone treatments; this number was expected to reach about $5 billion by 2017.
"The United States is home to more than 78 million Baby Boomers, many of whom are concerned with maintaining their youthful energy and vigor," said Jith Veeravalli, president, Gencor.
As more men get older, more are being diagnosed with low testosterone, observed Steve Siegel, vice president, Ecuadorian Rainforest LLC. Now that it is no longer a taboo subject, men are reporting the disorder in larger numbers. It has also helped that prominent men have come out in the open about their low-T situation.
"Take the famous blogger Andrew Sullivan, for instance," Siegel offered. "He spoke candidly about his low-testosterone situation, which gave men a space to talk about the issue. Sullivan credits his success and overall change in life to the therapy. He says it has made him sharper and able to manage his busy schedule. Now, low-T is ubiquitous and no longer embarrassing for men to speak about. They feel safe talking about the affliction, and instead of living with it, they are choosing to do something about it. This is why it has become such a booming market."
Diminished endogenous testosterone production not only causes frustrating sexual issues, it changes muscle-to-fat ratio, where fat builds up around the trunk, and strength may decrease.
Veeravalli elaborated, "After age 30, most men begin to experience a natural and gradual decline in testosterone levels. This decline is often experienced as a reduced sexual drive and can be accompanied by a slow loss of muscle tone and definition. Low testosterone can also lead to frail bones, depression and a dampening of energy, confidence, motivation and energy."
As the population matures (remember, Gen-Xers are now in their early or mid-40s), the idea of slowing down in any capacity is vehemently rejected as both men and women are devoted to maintaining health, vigor and wellness. Combine this with the aforementioned fact that men are no longer embarrassed to acknowledge that they have low T—and you have a category ripe for sustained sales of a naturally effective testosterone support solution.
Gencor's fenugreek extract, Testofen, contains active constituents that have been shown to support healthy sexual desire, muscle mass and free testosterone levels in men, according to Veeravalli.
"Regular exercise, and supplementing diets with products containing Testofen, can help men maintain healthy levels of free testosterone, which, in turn, supports multiple bodily functions," he explained. "While the mechanism of action has not yet been determined, Testofen appears to increase free testosterone through displacement of bound (inert) testosterone from albumen and the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) protein, raising the free/bound ratio, and thereby making the testosterone more active."
An eight-week, double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled unpublished human clinical study conducted on 60 healthy men on an exercise protocol showed Testofen was effective in significantly increasing free testosterone levels. It also promoted increased muscle mass and a decrease in body fat.
A second study used the DISF-SR index (the leading index in sexual health studies) to measure various parameters of male sexual health.1 This randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted on 60 healthy men. The results showed statistically significant improvements for the active participants in sexual function, performance and overall sexual health. A general quality of life survey showed Testofen also had a positive effect on muscle strength, energy levels and overall well-being.
Ecuadorian Rainforest offers a white kidney bean powder. White kidney beans are great sources of vitamin D and zinc, according to Siegel. In one study, research showed vitamin D may help boost testosterone levels.2 Zinc may also help boost serum testosterone levels in men.3
Already shown to safely enhance stamina, LJ100 Eurycoma longifolia (from HP Ingredients) has now been demonstrated in a 12-week placebo-controlled study to help improve quality of life assessment and sexual well-being in men.4 In their conclusion, the authors wrote: "During daily intake of the herbal extract, the quality of life, physical fitness, erectile functioning and sexual health, sexual libido and sexual satisfaction improved in various domains over time."
"The results of this clinical investigation continue to build great evidence for LJ100 Eurycoma longifolia as a men's health and vigor supplement," said Annie Eng, CEO of HP Ingredients. “Not only is it safe, but the sexual and quality of life benefits also work to enhance healthier stress management and stress resistance."
Also featuring E. longifolia (aka Tongkat ali) are AlivEL® 100 and AlivEL® 3X100 from SourceOne Global Partners. According to company CEO and founder Jesse Lopez, this botanical has been used for centuries in its native Malaysia and Southeast Asia as a traditional remedy for fatigue, loss of sexual desire and poor performance. Research demonstrates E. longfiolia delivers performance beyond boosting free testosterone levels: it boosts energy levels and vitality, supports optimal sexual performance, increases stamina and strength, and promotes favorable anabolic balance during intense and prolonged exercise.
AlivEL® 100 is made from a proprietary natural water extraction process that produces a high potency, pure and biologically active Eurycoma longifolia botanical extract. AlivEL 3X100 is a triple-strength extract utilizing an exclusive technologically advanced natural water extraction process that produces an effective, biologically active and high-potency Tongkat ali extract.
Men, as they age, are more likely to purchase supplements to help keep them feeling young and healthy, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Nearly 3 percent of American men older than 40 have taken testosterone therapy. "Many of these men are likely to take an alternative route if they are educated on how to boost testosterone naturally and given products that may help them reach the levels they desire," Siegel said.
Visit INSIDER’s Men’s Health page for more information on ingredients to support heart health, muscle loss, erectile dysfunction and prostate health.
1. Steels E1, Rao A, Vitetta L. “Physiological Aspects of Male Libido Enhanced by Standardized Trigonella foenum-graecum Extract and Mineral Formulation.” Phytother Res. 2011 Feb 10. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.3360.
2. Pilz S. et. al. “Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Testosterone Levels in Men.” Dec. 10, 2010. Horm Metab Res. 2011 Mar;43(3):223-5. DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1269854.
3. Prasad AS et. al. “Zinc Status and Serum Testosterone Levels of Healthy Adults.” May 1996. Nutrition. 1996 May;12(5):344-8.
4. Ismael et al. “Randomized Clinical Trial on the Use of PHYSTA Freeze-Dried Water Extract of Eurycoma longifolia for the Improvement of Quality of Life and Sexual Well-Being in Men” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 429268, 10 pages, DOI: 10:1155/2012/429268
Lisa Schofield, owner of WorDesigns, is an industry veteran who focuses on promotional writing, copy editing and trade press relations. She has been assisting ingredient suppliers in their quest for industry "fame" for 10 years and prior to this, she was a long-time trade media editor.