Herb Supplements That Help in Boosting Men’s Energy & Performance in Sports And Sex
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In a world full of hectic schedules and stressors, most people, especially men, are drained so much and thus need advice on remaining energised for proper performance.
As I mentioned in my last article about using TENS devices for back pain relief, an intensive active lifestyle often results in mental exhaustion and chronic fatigue. According to Kreher(2016), overtraining syndrome (OTS) lasts longer and involves more serious performance setbacks and more severe symptoms such as hormone changes, depression, fatigue, and systemic inflammation.
There's no doubt that I have OTS, and I have to admit my training routine has made me feel tired and down. So while I have FOMO to take a break, I decide to seek some energy boost in herbs.
Among the many possible alternatives, some supplements, especially herbs, have been scientifically proven to enhance one's energy. Excellence in sports and satisfactory sexual performance are the major areas that every man wants to achieve(including me). Therefore, after some research, I feel like sharing my experience backed with academic findings to recommend some herbal supplements that men can use to ensure constant energy and remarkable performance in sex and sports.
Identify Sports (physical performance) Parameters
To properly evaluate the performance of my selected herbal supplements, I need to set up parameters and benchmarks. In sports, muscle strength that determines the ability to contract, lift and recover is the primary performance determinant. The implication is that athletes use herbs and supplements that seek to advance their muscle strength to boost their speed, power and agility at reduced fatigue for optimal performance (Sanchez et al., 2019). The following herbs can be used to achieve this objective.
Celery seeds help in boosting oxygen supply
Celery seeds are believed to be the best herbal supplement to empower athletes due to their richness in vital nutrients, especially calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorous. In other words, the herb supports bone health by reducing bone fractures, which could be an inhibitory factor for athletics. In addition, by providing 38% of RDIs for men, celery seeds are more remarkable for promoting red blood cell formation, which is essential for oxygen supply during athletics, thus increasing the time before becoming fatigued (Sellami et al., 2018).
Creatine can facilitate ATP regeneration
Research has indicated that creatine is essential for increased muscle mass and enhanced strength when combined with strength training. More so study by Sanchez et al. (2019) established that when combined with caffeine, amino acids, and taurine, creatine increases the time athletes take to be exhausted and feel focused.
Ashwagandha Increases Levels of Antioxidant Enzymes to Reduce Stress & Anxiety
Another herbal supplement known to enhance endurance is Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha contains chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce swelling, lower blood pressure, and alter the immune system. Ashwagandha is full of potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which help increase levels of antioxidant enzymes like glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase, while also inhibiting lipid peroxidation. According to Sellami et al. (2018), it increases physical endurance after 8 to 12 weeks of use. Supporting this, Sanchez et al. (2019) reported that the herb increased the duration to be exhausted among elite cyclists following an 8 weeks treatment program.
L-Arginine Increases The Overall Oxygen Levels & Blood Supply
L-Arginine is known to decrease the levels of nitric oxide in the blood and hence, increase the sports performance by increasing the overall oxygen levels and blood supply to the muscles. It not only enhances the protein synthesis which is required for optimum muscle activity but also improves tissue repair rate which is particularly helpful for men who practice resistance exercise (Botchlett et al., 2019). On the other hand, the same amino acid has profound effects in the treatment of sexual disorders in men. It has a proven benefit in erectile dysfunction. 74% of men who take a regular dose of L-arginine have shown an increase in their overall sperm count with better motility and healthy potent sperms (Koolwal et al., 2019).
Identify Sexual Performance Parameters
Sexual dysfunction has become increasingly common, affecting men of all ages, creating worries and even psychological problems among young men. Sexual dysfunction is defined as any psychological or physical problem inhibiting sexual satisfaction. The most common sexual dysfunctions are erectile dysfunction, ejaculation disorders and inhibited sexual desire (Burg & Gittens, 2021). Luckily, these issues can now be remedied using scientifically proven herbal supplements.
Pygeum & Saw Palmetto Power Up The Prostate Functions
Pygeum & Saw Palmetto, both separately, have been known to work significantly on men’s sexual health. Pygeum in particular, has a lot of research that proves its benefits for the condition called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH. The herb works by improving the urinary flow rate by 16% and treating the symptoms of bladder incontinence (Morgia and Privitera, 2022) The bladder is effectively and fully emptied by the use of pygeum. The bar extract of pygeum increases sperm longevity and also improves the quality of seminal fluids by boosting the health of prostatic secretions (Calogero et al., 2017).
The approved use of Palmetto for sexual health revolves around its beneficial effects post-TURP surgery. Studies also show its benefits in BPH and other urinary tract infections; however, a few studies show that the herb is significantly helpful only when used together with Pygeum and other herbs but not alone (Trivisonno et al., 2011). Saw Palmetto & Pygeoum combined also have profound benefits when it comes to sports. These work like anabolic steroids (Iannone et al., 2021) and as both of these botanicals increase and regulate the levels of testosterone, they are responsible for enhanced sports performance in men which is also evident from a study published in NCBI (Wood and Stanton, 2011).
Fenugreek Offers Benefits to Blood Sugar & Enhances Testosterone
The first and possibly most effective herbal supplement for enhanced sexual performance is the Fenugreek, which is known for intensifying sexual arousal and orgasm. It is a popular herb in Arabic regions and India. It has traditionally been used to enhance libido and masculinity. Fenugreek’s herbal extract is not just among the top three selling men’s health supplements through iHerb, but scientific studies have proved the following. A study by Bonner (2016) established that there was an 82% libido increase (intense arousal) after six weeks among men who consumed.
"Fenugreek’s most well-known compound is 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which works to normalize glucose metabolism. The other compounds, called trigonelline, galactomannan, and trigoneosides, also work together to provide benefits for blood sugar." - examine.com
Moreover, Burg & Gittens(2021) found that 63% of men using the herb realised a sexual performance (stronger orgasm) boost. Another study by Bhagavathula et al., (2016) identified that 67% of users had enhanced sexual recovery time and realised greater muscle strength, overall energy and wellbeing. The recommended dose for men who want to increase testosterone or libido could consider taking between 500-600mg of a standardized fenugreek formulation, such as the commonly used product called ‘Testofen’. Testofen has 50% fenusides by weight.
Maca May Have An Inherent Ability To Treat Erectile Dysfunction (Unconfirmed)
Another herbal supplement that has been suggested to be effective in enhancing men’s sexual performance is the Maca, which is responsible for stronger sex drive, and sperm function. However, the studies are quite mixed. For instance, Bhagavathula (2014) reported that 40% of users experienced stronger sex drive, enhanced sperm formation and movement after three-month use duration. According to Burg & Gittens (2021), Maca is normally used in South America to boost fertility and is locally referred to as “the Peruvian Viagra”. More so, various studies (Bhagavathula et al., 2016, Bonner, 2016, Burg & Gittens, 2021)have held that the herb can be used to boost libido in humans, especially if it is lost due to the use of antidepressant drugs.
In addition, vitamin E is believed to help create healthier sperm and thus enhance fertility. To justify this, Bhagavathula (2014) reported that 50% of 700 infertile men who used 200 micrograms with 400 units of the supplement for 100 days recorded enhancements in sperm motility and form. More so, 11% of them developed the ability to impregnate their partners.
Horny Goat Weed Increases The Blood Flow Towards The Sexual Organs
Horny goat weed also acts just like the body sex hormones in your body. Its intake mimics the actions of testosterone and boosts your sexual as well as sports performance. It is a phytoestrogen that increases the blood flow towards the sexual organs and improves overall sexual function. A research published in Science Direct proves how the blood flow increases in and around the penile tissues and pelvic ganglia with the use of Horny goat weed (Shindel et al., 2010). Other studies testing the use of this herb in athletes and sportsmen show that the herb has a lot of flavonoids and has estrogen inhibiting potential (Lazarev and Bezuglov, 2021), thus lowering the risk of osteoporosis and helping build muscle and bone strength altogether.
Zinc has been positively associated with improving men’s performance both in sports and in sex. Regarding sexual health, erectile dysfunction has become a very common problem nowadays. Zinc supplementation is a solution to treat low libidos and maintain arousals. It is also helpful for maintaining an erection (Christine Case-Lo, 2022). Zinc also has a prominent role known for decades in enhancing the performance of athletes and sportsmen. With the other micronutrients, i.e. minerals like magnesium and iron, athletes with zinc deficiency show lower performance as compared to those who have adequate Zinc minerals in their bodies (Namju, 2017).
My Experience Taking These Herb Supplements
To take advantage of the maximum effect, I like to take these supplements in a cycle - 4 weeks on - 2 weeks off or 5 days on - 2 off. I initially took the combo of celery seeds + L-Arginine + Pygeum & Saw Palmetto + Fenugreek to relieve my fatigue from intensive powerlifting and martial art training. I have to admit the impact has exceeded my expectation.
- I do feel more focused and refreshed after taking L-Arginine. In fact, I usually feel a minor heart race which helps the blood flow and give me the energy boost I need.
- I like to mix the Maca powder with my protein shake to cover the earthy smell. After 2 weeks of intake with Pygeum & Saw Palmetto, the "morning glory" has become stronger and more frequent. (Other benefits are not really appropriate to write here. Please send me a message if you want to learn more about my experience)
- With the combination of L-Arginine and Celery Seed, I can feel my strength gradually enhanced, resulting in a better weight-lifting performance. Take dumbbell pushup, for example, my normal limit transit from 100kg to 108kg within 1.5 months. (Disclaimer: please make sure you have someone to spot you when trying the heavyweight. Safety always comes first)
- Finally, while I chose this combination based on my research, it's still my personal choice to test the effect. Please make sure that you consult your doctor if you are uncertain if your health condition is good enough to take these supplements.
There are so many herbal supplements that can be used to enhance men’s performance both in sports and sexually. However, there is still a need for a comprehensive study to establish the credibility and validity of each of these supplements. Most men are desperate and in need of accurate and reliable information to make appropriate decisions about their energy and performance abilities.
- Kreher, J.B. (2016). Diagnosis and prevention of overtraining syndrome: an opinion on education strategies. [online] Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine. Available at: https://www.dovepress.com/diagnosis-and-prevention-of-overtraining-syndrome--an-opinion-on-educa-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-OAJSM.
- Bhagavathula, A. (2014). Pharmacovigilance on Sexual Enhancing Herbal Supplements. Journal Of Pharmacovigilance, 02(06). https://doi.org/10.4172/2329-6887.1000149
- Bhagavathula, A., Elnour, A., & Shehab, A. (2016). Pharmacovigilance on sexual enhancing herbal supplements. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal, 24(1), 115-118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsps.2015.01.018
- Bonner, L. (2016). FDA: Sexual enhancement supplements for men often tainted. Pharmacy Today, 22(3), 46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ptdy.2016.02.022
- Burg, F., & Gittens, P. (2021). 093 Tracking use of Non-prescription and Herbal Supplements by Men with ED. The Journal Of Sexual Medicine, 18(3), S49-S50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2021.01.063
- Sanchez, X., Torregrossa, M., Woodman, T., Jones, G., & Llewellyn, D. (2019). Identification of Parameters That Predict Sport Climbing Performance. Frontiers In Psychology, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01294
- Sellami, M., Slimeni, O., Pokrywka, A., Kuvačić, G., D Hayes, L., Milic, M., & Padulo, J. (2018). Herbal medicine for sports: a review. Journal Of The International Society Of Sports Nutrition, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-018-0218-y
- Morgia, Giuseppe, and Salvatore Privitera. “Chapter 7 - Phytotherapy in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.” ScienceDirect, Academic Press, 1 Jan. 2018, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B978012811397400007X. Accessed 7 Apr. 2022.
- Calogero, A. E., et al. “The Use of Nutraceuticals in Male Sexual and Reproductive Disturbances: Position Statement from the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine (SIAMS).” Journal of Endocrinological Investigation, vol. 40, no. 12, 6 June 2017, pp. 1389–1397, 10.1007/s40618-017-0699-6. Accessed 18 Sept. 2020.
- Wood, Ruth I., and Steven J. Stanton. “Testosterone and Sport: Current Perspectives.” Hormones and Behavior, vol. 61, no. 1, Jan. 2012, pp. 147–155, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3264812/, 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2011.09.010.
- Trivisonno, Leonel Fabrizio, et al. “Serenoa Repens for the Treatment of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms due to Benign Prostatic Enlargement: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Investigative and Clinical Urology, vol. 62, no. 5, 2021, p. 520, 10.4111/icu.20210254. Accessed 6 Oct. 2021.
- Christine Case-Lo, Christine. “The Link between Zinc and Erectile Dysfunction.” Healthline, 19 Mar. 2014, www.healthline.com/health/erectile-dysfunction/zinc#ed-treatment. Accessed 7 Apr. 2022.
- Namju, Lee. “A Review of Magnesium, Iron, and Zinc Supplementation Effects on Athletic Performance.” Research Gate, 2017, www.researchgate.net/profile/Namju-Lee-2/publication/313932286_A_Review_of_Magnesium_Iron_and_Zinc_Supplementation_Effects_on_Athletic_Performance/links/5f683a02458515b7cf447b32/A-Review-of-Magnesium-Iron-and-Zinc-Supplementation-Effects-on-Athletic-Performance.pdf.
- Shindel, Alan W., et al. “Erectogenic and Neurotrophic Effects of Icariin, a Purified Extract of Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium Spp.) in Vitro and in Vivo.” The Journal of Sexual Medicine, vol. 7, no. 4, Part 1, 1 Apr. 2010, pp. 1518–1528, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1743609515329830, 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01699.x. Accessed 7 Apr. 2022.
- Lazarev, Artemii, and Eduard Bezuglov. “Testosterone Boosters Intake in Athletes: Current Evidence and Further Directions.” Endocrines, vol. 2, no. 2, 17 May 2021, pp. 109–120, 10.3390/endocrines2020011. Accessed 14 June 2021.
- Botchlett, Rachel, et al. “Chapter 55 - L-Arginine and L-Citrulline in Sports Nutrition and Health.” ScienceDirect, Academic Press, 1 Jan. 2019, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128139226000552. Accessed 8 Apr. 2022.