GEN-TEC NUTRITION’S ULTIMATE MALE FUEL contains high quality herbs sourced from India including Tribulus Terrestris which now contains 80% Saponins equivalent to 10% Protodioscins. Tribulus Terrestris and Epimedium Sagittatum (Horny Goat Weed) are traditional Chinese herbal medicines which have been used for many years to help libido and support male sexual stamina and endurance. Serenoa Serrulata (Saw Palmetto) may assist in the management of medically diagnosed benign prostatic hypertrophy. These three herbs which help support physiological functions of the male body have been combined with Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B6.
A review of common herbal and nutrient preparation use in male health and support
By Dane Ivicevic
Biochemist & Director of BodyWell Institute
Herbal and nutritional medicine are commonly used to support health and wellbeing however what often lets consumers down is the use of proven extracts and medicinal synergies between bioactive compounds. Herbs and nutrients noteworthy of use in men’s health is tribulus, horny goat weed, saw palmetto, zinc, magnesium and B6 which in part are often misunderstood due to conflicting results within the scientific community. Here the aim is to explore the roles of high quality raw materials in herbal and nutritional medicine with a focus on clinical trials which provide reliable evidence based information to provide complimentary avenues to consumers and patients of health care practitioners.
Tribulus Terrestris (TT) is a chemically complex herb which has been traditionally used to improve libido, endocrine support, manage stress (adaptogen) and improve cardiovascular health. Its use in modern medical science has largely been focused on its immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, hypolipidemic, anti-carcinogenic and aphrodisiac effects in experimental trials (1-3). Due to the phytochemical complexity of TT, there are various types of TT on the market which quite often contain very different plant bioactive compounds and qualities of these compounds. One of these phytochemicals examined in research are steroidal saponins, of which the two furostanol glycosides, protodioscin and protribestin exert powerful pharmacological activity. However, analytic studies of TT in the US alone reveals most TT contain insufficient levels of these furostanol glycosides except tribulus products derived from Bulgaria (Eastern Europe) due to soil and growing conditions (4-7). Therefore, TT products on the market don’t often contain the bioactive compounds needed to elicit potential pharmacological activity which contributes to mixed results in the literature due to widespread inconsistency in TT extracts. Many pharmaceutical and food science manufactures who know this information often mix a very low percentage of Bulgarian TT with predominantly cheaper TT herbs sourced outside of eastern Europe in order to still falsely and misleadingly make claims of potency.
The most supported effects of TT in humans is its effect on sexual function with results from a recent large randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial published examining erectile dysfunction in those without hypoactive sexual desire disorder, found a statistically significant improvement in sexual function with no difference in adverse events (side effects) compared to placebo. Thus, supporting its efficacy and safety for sexual function (8). Furthermore, the use of TT has also been supported for its use in women for increasing sexual desire (libido) and hormone support through the hypothalamic pituitary and adrenal axis (Testosterone & DHEA) (9-13). The mechanism behind TT aphrodisiac effects are not clear however it is theorised that it may be due to an increase in androgen receptor density and/or elevations in testosterone. To date the effects on testosterone are controversial in human trials primarily due to unstandardized TT extracts being used and not tested for furostanol glycosides content, however, based on the available research it does appear to have an effect on androgen receptor content and function within the brain which is hypothesised to be responsible for the aphrodisiac properties (14-16).
Saw Palmetto (SP) is an herb containing many complex fatty acids and phytosterols. It is commonly used to treat urogenital and male reproductive conditions of which its use for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) has been most documented in the literature to date. While results in human trials can appear mixed, there are significant high quality trials which supports its use for improving symptoms associated with BPH, particularly urinary flow reported within a Cochrane systematic review (17). Furthermore, based on experimental research, there is evidence to suggest SP reduces receptor binding of DHT and testosterone to the prostate and inhibits 5-alpha reductase activity, therefore somewhat exerting androgen modulating effects which is an area of future research to explore (18-21).
Epimedium sagittatum (Horny Goat Weed) is a medicinal herb which containsphytochemical properties which has been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac. However, in modern medical sciences, the compound Icariin within Epimedium species has been demonstrated to exert significant cardiovascular protective properties including ant-atherosclerotic effects, which for males, especially those who have or are taking anabolic steroids, minimising the risk of gradual cardiovascular decline should be a priority (22-24). Furthermore, bioactive compounds within Epimedium sagittatum also appear to exert smooth cell phosphodiesterase inhibitory activity similar to that of Viagra in treating erectile dysfunction. This is also the case for bioactive compounds in Tribulus Terrestris and Epimedium sagittatum which work by improving haemodynamic (blood flow dynamics) function fostering improved sexual function (24-27). Furthermore, this medicinal herb also exerts significant benefits for women
Nutritional Medicine (Minerals and Vitamins)
Of all minerals affected by exercise, zinc and magnesium would be the most disrupted minerals in those who train. Zinc specifically has been well established to support energy, metabolism, hormones, fertility and protein synthesis, of which, in those who exercise, suboptimal levels are more prevalent than people realise. Numerous very high quality trials (systematic reviews and meta-analyses) support this and the potential need for greater zinc intakes to support the needs of those who exercise, specifically in maintaining endocrine function and recovery (28-31). In addition, zinc plays a critical role in fertility, especially sperm motility, with its role in reported function being supported in the literature at the highest levels (32, 33). Furthermore, the risk of digestive cancers in men is significant but also somewhat overlooked. Suboptimal levels of magnesium and zinc is associated with higher rates of digestive cancers (colorectal), therefore those who have higher zinc intakes also appear to have lower rates of digestive cancers. While association doesn’t infer causation, the association at a meta-analyses level provides insight into the potential protective effect these minerals can have on digestive cancers (34, 35). In addition, animal studies indicate that zinc deficient states resulted in significantly lower serum concentrations of luteinizing hormone, estradiol, testosterone and greater aromatisation particularly in males suffering from hypogonadism (31, 36, 37).
Moreover, pyridoxine (B6) is a key essential vitamin that becomes depleted in those who exercise and who are under stress. Its use for the symptomatic treatment of stress has been explored and proposed to assist in the biosynthesis of neurotransmitters such as GABBA and serotonin which are adversely impacted in pyridoxine deficient states resulting in mood disturbances (38).
While research examining the efficacy of herbs such as the aforementioned at times can be mixed, it Is clear that there is limited high quality research examining the correct herbal extract types and bioactive compounds in clinical trials. Due to the chemical complexities of herbal medicines it provides promising avenues in health and wellbeing such as the diverse role of steroidal saponins and other phytochemicals in health. In the meantime, there is sufficient good quality trials which support a beneficial complimentary supplementation with products containing proven herbal and nutrient mixtures to support vitality and wellbeing.
Summary of and Key Practice Points for Male Fuel (Gen-Tec Nutrition)
- Most products containing herbs such as tribulus do not contain sufficient levels of bioactive compounds which exert pharmacological activity. Male Fuel contains 100% Bulgarian Tribulus Terrestris which contains high levels of the steroidal saponins, furostanol glycosides (protodioscin and protribestin).
- The combination of high Icariin horny goat weed with high quality Tribulus Terrestris improves sexual function in males and libido in both women and men.
- Tribulus Terrestris enhances reproductive function and fertility in men and women.
- The mineral blend exerts anti-carcinogenic properties to reduce the risk of digestive cancers and support healthy testosterone levels in hypogonadal males.
- The correct extracts and bioactive constituents found within Male Fuel; Tribulus Terrestris, Saw Palmetto and Horny Goat Weed exert modulatory effects on endocrine metabolism and androgen receptor functions.
- Saw Palmetto provides proven relief of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia.
- The high Icariin Horny Goat Weed exerts anti-osteoporotic properties.
- How long will it take to work?
- The properties within Male Fuel which support sexual function will likely peak in 10 hrs and appear to return to baseline in 2 days with the majority of pharmacological activity occurring within a 15 hour period.
- Use for benign prostatic hyperplasia can take 4-8 weeks to provide symptomatic relief.
Are there any side effects?
Clinical trials have demonstrated no statistically significant difference in adverse effects than placebo, thus the herbal preparations used have evidence based support for their efficacy and safety.
DIRECTIONS FOR USE: Take 2 capsules before exercise and before bed. Store in a cool, dark place.
INGREDIENTS: Glucose Sodium, Benzoate and Sodium Saccharin.
May contain traces of milk, soy beans, cereals containing gluten, tree nuts, sesame seeds and their products.
NOTE: If symptoms persist consult your healthcare practitioner. Vitamin supplement should not replace a balanced diet.
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