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Study: Supplement Can Help Take the 'Dys' Out of Female Sexual Dysfunction

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WebMD Health News

June 5, 2001 (Washington) -- ArginMax -- a dietary cocktail consisting of ginseng, ginkgo, B vitamins, calcium, folic acid, and other vitamins and minerals -- is being heralded as one component of a lifestyle that improves sexual performance and helps prevent problems associated with intimacy.

Instead of focusing just on disease, backers of this holistic approach want to work on a person's behavior, including such things as diet, exercise, and stress management skills. Making these behavioral changes over a 30-day period, in conjunction with taking the supplement, can significantly boost sexual performance, says Hank Wuh, MD, MPH, director of Nascent Pharmaceuticals and the Daily Wellness Company, the company that makes ArginMax.

"It's like the change in thinking about heart disease over the last 30 years, which is now much more focused on prevention," says Wuh. "This is not about dysfunction. It's about optimizing your sexual health."

Steve Greenfield, a fire department captain in San Jose, Calif., is sold on the philosophy. Now in his 50s, Greenfield has been taking ArginMax for three years.

"The result is that every aspect of my life has been enhanced, both physically and mentally -- and even sexually," Greenfield said at a news conference Tuesday.

However, one of the remaining questions about dietary supplements is that they haven't been scientifically investigated. Now, new research on ArginMax indicates the product is effective in women who complain of sexual dysfunction. The study, done by Mary Lake Polan, MD, PhD, who heads the department of gynecology and obstetrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, compared women who took the supplement to those who were given a look-alike placebo pill.

The 93 women, aged 22 to 73 years, were evaluated after one month. The results, Polan says, were that the women taking the active supplement reported more than twice the level of sexual activity and satisfaction than the women taking the placebo.

"Frequency of intercourse increased, frequency of sexual desire, level of sexual desire, satisfaction, satisfaction with overall sex life, in a statistically significant fashion," says Polan, whose study was underwritten in part by ArginMax.

The finding is a real boost for women, she says, since there is virtually no Viagra-like therapy for them. (Studies looking at using Viagra in women have come up with mixed results.) The results are published in the May issue of the Journal of Women's Health and Gender-Based Medicine.

It not clear how the supplement, which consists of 14 minerals and vitamins, works. But Polan believes it may enhance vaginal blood flow by stimulating a forerunner of the chemical nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels.

On the other hand, Viagra simply prevents the breakdown of nitric oxide. That may explain why studies of the drug in women have shown only modest success.

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