Sexual Health Supplements Go Holistic

If there’s one silver liner to the dark storm cloud that is the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s because it gave consumers time. Time away from the office. It’s time to cook at home again. And the time to prioritize their health. The pandemic has prompted Americans to focus on wellness and even reconsider health issues that could have been put on the back burner. The good news? As life returns to almost normal again, consumers are eager to maintain the holistic perspective they cultivated during their 40s. In fact, Mintel has identified self-prioritization as one of the top consumer priorities for 2021, citing the continued popularity of personal care and sexual health products, and the resurgence of ‘time for me’, as evidence of this change.1 For the sexual health supplement market, all of this is good news.

“Sex is a ‘feel-good’ activity, and coming out of a pandemic when people feel more optimistic and ready to return to their old, busy lives rekindles libido,” says Annie Eng, CEO of HP Ingredients (Bradenton , FL). “The state of the market for sexual health ingredients remains strong, if not stronger [than in years past]. “

According to the SPINS (Chicago) market study, sales of vitamin and supplement ingredients marketed as privacy products increased 9.35% in the 52 weeks ending July 11, 2021.%).

Eng believes the main drivers at play here include a growing awareness of sexual wellness products, the increasing ease of purchasing these products, and the diminishing taboo around sexual health issues.

“A lot of people think of sexual health as just ‘health’ and it’s not a taboo subject to expect a healthy lifestyle to include healthy sexual activity,” agrees Charlotte Traas, teacher. Certified Herbalist and Director of Education for Brand New Chapter Supplements Inc. “This has a lot of new customers looking to the supplement industry for natural ways to support healthy libido. “

Reaching today’s consumers

According to Shavon Jackson-Michel, director of medical and scientific affairs at DolCas Biotech LLC (Landing, NJ), consumers elevate the importance of sexual health to that of physical and emotional health, in part because of a generation older. liberal and more open-minded. , but also because the supplement consumer is “smarter than ever,” she says, “more educated and willing to invest his time in finding out where to put his money.” For this reason, the success of marketing sexual health products must also change.

First, marketers need to be mature, straightforward, and straightforward. “Communication about sexual health has evolved from the days when we referred to our sexual organs by cute pet names,” says Traas. “Consumers are more comfortable and more aware of their body and how it works, so it’s important to talk about sex with an educational approach combined with practicality. Respect for your body includes respect for your sexual health, so approaching the subject with dignity is important for credibility. “

Additionally, science must be at the forefront, especially as the FDA recently warned consumers to avoid certain male enhancement products due to hidden and potentially dangerous drug ingredients, casting doubt on the whole market.2

Research update

Mainstays of categories like ashwagandha, ginseng, arginine, fenugreek and sea buckthorn remain fertile ground for researchers as brands seek clinical justification for traditional and folk claims.

Fortiquin is a relatively new Ayurvedic blend from DolCas Biotech for male sexual stamina and stamina. It contains a variety of proven herbal remedies including fenugreek, mucuna, ashwagandha, artichoke, and L-arginine. In a recent study, the effects of 1 g per day of Fortiquin were compared with placebo in 60 subjects over eight weeks.3 Recruited participants began the study with baseline values ​​of two minutes of sexual duration. At the end of the eight weeks, the men taking Fortiquin experienced a statistically significant 5.1-fold increase in sexual stamina.

The long-standing ingredient in HP Ingredients LJ100 Eurycoma longifolia (tongkat ali) was the subject of another recent study, validating that supplementation preserves normal reproductive hormone production and interaction.4 In the double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 32 healthy young men (mean age 24.4 years) consumed either 600 mg of LJ100 or a placebo daily for two weeks. Researchers found that LJ100 was able to increase testosterone even in healthy young men when consumed in high doses. Significant increases in testosterone (14%) and free testosterone (34%) were recorded after two weeks.

Draco Natural Products (San Jose, CA) BaZiBuShen (BZBS) formula, based on Traditional Chinese Medicine’s concept of balancing yin and yang ingredients, was recently found to preserve testicular morphology and spermatogenesis in a model of rapidly aging mice.5 Researchers postulate that this result is the result of the ingredient’s ability to inhibit oxidative stress.

Further research will be the way forward for this category, says Kartikeya Baldwa, CEO of Ixoreal Biomed Inc. (Los Angeles), which markets science-backed KSM-66 ashwagandha, especially as a new generation of educated supplement consumers focuses on sexuality. health support.

“More human clinical studies can help establish long-term bestsellers,” he says, “but in general this category has been so filled with false claims and mediocre products, we will need years to ‘education and science to clean up the situation. “

Future formulations

If you ask Paul Clayton, science advisor at Gencor (Irvine, CA), the future of the sexual health supplement category won’t focus on heroic ingredients; on the contrary, supplements that support lifestyle and diet changes with a blend of beneficial ingredients will be appreciated.

“We’ve had a lot of requests for our traditional formulas for female and male libido, more than even unique ingredients,” agrees Brien Quirk, director of research and development at Draco Natural Products, where herbal tonic yin with Ancient libido-boosting benefits like rehmannia root, Chinese yam, asparagus root, and Solomon’s seal root have been in demand.

Formulators and brands can also expect sexual health supplements to contain other nutrients with holistic benefits, such as vitamin D. “Expect the conversation about immune health to enter our minds. [conversations around] sexual health, ”says Traas of New Chapter. “The healthier your body, the more likely you are to improve your sexual function.”

The references

  1. Wroble A. “Wellness trends to watch in 2021.” Mintel.com. Published online January 20, 2021.
  2. FDA press release. “The FDA is warning consumers to avoid certain male enhancement and weight loss products sold through Amazon, eBay, and other retailers due to hidden and potentially dangerous drug ingredients.” Posted on December 17, 2020.
  3. Panda SK et al. “A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of OLNP-05 compared to placebo for the treatment of subjects with premature ejaculation.” Medicinal Food Journal, flight. 23, no. 9 (September 2020): 1006-1013
  4. Chan KQ et al. “The effect of Eurycoma longifolia on the regulation of reproductive hormones in young males. Andrology. Published online February 9, 2021.
  5. Lin L et al. “BaZiBuShen attenuates altered testicular morphology and spermatogenesis and modulates the Sirt6 / P53 and Sirt6 / NF-κB pathways in aging mice induced by D-galactose and NaNO2. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Published online January 26, 2021.


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