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

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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.

Unlike Viagra, Polan says, ArginMax has no side effects. It may also work on certain nerve pathways in women that help generate arousal. Research on men, says Polan, shows their sexual responses are much more linear and rapid than in women.

Hendy Lund, one of the participants in Polan's study, says she completely lost her sex drive at age 29, even though there were no problems between her and her husband.

"It [ArginMax] works, that's the bottom line for me. It brought me back to being normal, and that's vitally important for me," says Lund.

Over time, millions of women may be facing similar problems as the baby boomers head into middle and old age.

"Why shouldn't there be a nutritional supplement that's really researched and designed primary for the area of sexual health?" asks Wuh.

Richard Balon, MD, professor of psychiatry at Wayne State University in Detroit, has some concerns that the supplement isn't regulated as stringently as a drug. However, he concedes it may work for some who have sexual problems.

"It's a big problem, and I wouldn't throw their supplement out. Why would I do that? We know that it's an otherwise innocuous thing which helps somebody feel better, and helps them with sex," Balon tells WebMD.

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