Reversing Female Sexual DysfunctionMay 2012
By Michael Downey
An extract of Lepidium peruvianum, a high-altitude root plant popularly known as maca, has been shown to regulate several key physiological pathways of female sexual dysfunction. Maca is believed to work primarily by providing the optimum balance of nutrients utilized by the body’s neuroendocrine system.20
Scientists discovered the significant complementary effects of maca extract, which has been cultivated for over 2,000 years. Maca is believed to influence three different mechanisms to:
The benefits of maca were assessed in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Fourteen postmenopausal women were given each day either placebo or powdered maca that translates to 583 mg to 875 mg a day of product, because it is formulated as a 4-6:1 extract. Sexual problems were measured using subscales of the Greene Climacteric Scale, which provides a measure of menopausal symptoms.25
The participants who took maca were found to score more than 34% lower (which by this measure means better) than the placebo subjects on a standard sexual dysfunction scale. This significant improvement was observed in just six weeks! Also, the maca subjects tested 30% lower on the psychological subscale of anxiety and depression symptoms, a substantial improvement for a period of just six weeks!23
Also, to determine maca’s effect on sexual dysfunction in cases that had been specifically diagnosed to be caused by taking antidepressants known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), scientists carried out a double-blind, randomized, pilot study on 20 subjects. Sexual dysfunction was found to be reduced in the group that received maca with mean scores decreased by 25.8%, and 29.4%, on two standard sexual dysfunction scales (the ASEX and the MGH-SFQ questionnaires, respectively). Libido also improved and no adverse side effects were found.25
The third new compound comprises three plant extracts that synergistically work to correct menopausal imbalance by an action believed to be a selective modulation of estrogen activity.
When integrated into a single formula known as EstroG-100™, this multi-compound extract supports balanced estrogenic activity, which in turn inhibits the many symptoms of menopause—including female sexual dysfunction.
Recognizing transitional menopause to be a contributing cause of female sexual dysfunction—scientists began screening a variety of promising plant extracts for potential effect, using a method known as a non-reproductive tract target tissue response (E-screen) test.
Three extracts were eventually pinpointed for their combined beneficial effects on both menopause and female sexual dysfunction: Phlomis umbrosa, Cynanchum wilfordii, and Angelica gigas Nakai (Korean Angelica). Each of these extracts have been used for over 400 years in Korean-Chinese folk medicine. Ultimately, a potent effect was found after these three plant extracts were hot-water-extracted and blended in correct proportions within a single formula, subsequently named EstroG-100™.
Researchers found that EstroG-100™ enhances hormonal function possibly by optimizing estrogenic activity in some target tissues related to menopausal symptoms.26 Because EstroG-100™ has not been found to have an effect on follicle stimulating hormone, estradiol, or growth hormone levels,26 its substantial menopausal relief may stem from its ability to provide activity that is similar to the action of a “phyto-SERM,” a plant-based mimic of the drug class known as selective estrogen receptor modulators, or SERMs. These are agents that—unlike distinct estrogen agonists or estrogen antagonists, which either boost or block estrogen—selectively enhance estrogenic activity in some tissue while inhibiting estrogenic activity in other tissue. In this way, EstroG-100™ may work by mimicking the benefits of SERM drugs—while producing none of the serious health risks of these pharmaceuticals. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-control study showed that EstroG-100™ substantially diminished menopausal symptoms and female sexual dysfunction risk.26
This study of the three-extract EstroG-100TM formula involved 64 women with moderate or severe menopausal symptoms. The test group was given EstroG-100™ in dosages of 257 mg twice daily, a total of 514 mg a day. All subjects were assessed using the Kupperman Menopausal Index, and special scores for vaginal dryness.
The mean Kupperman Menopausal Index score—a measure of menopausal symptoms—was reduced by 62% in the EstroG-100™ group, contrasted with a decrease of just 19% in the placebo group. The mean vaginal dryness score was decreased by 59% in the treatment group versus just 27% among the placebo subjects. The EstroG-100™ group experienced this substantial improvement in both sexual and menopausal symptoms within only 12 weeks, and experienced no accompanying weight gain or other negative effects.26
Diverse Mechanisms of Action
Scientific studies indicate that—when all of the botanical extracts described thus far combine—they modulate all of the following pathways involved in female sexual dysfunction.
Female sexual dysfunction is an important public health concern afflicting 43% of women,1,2 a statistic expected to explode in step with the aging population.8
Yet 40% of women suffering from female sexual dysfunction do not seek help from a physician.4
Recent scientific advances have identified two botanical based substances, Cordyceps and maca, that work together to modulate six distinct pathways that can lead to female sexual dysfunction. Cordyceps, taken by itself, was found in double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to reduce sexual dysfunction for over 66% of women—in only 40 days!6
A third extract, EstroG-100TM, a multi-extract blend of compounds from three plants, balances estrogenic activity in body tissues, alleviating menopausal symptoms—which often trigger female sexual dysfunction. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, EstroG-100™ reduced menopausal symptoms (and sexual dysfunction incidence) by 62% in just 12 weeks.26
While the medical establishment offers no effective treatment for the multiple mechanisms causing these conditions, natural botanical extracts can now safely reverse female sexual dysfunction, as well as menopausal symptoms.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.
1. Lewis RW, Fugl-Meyer KS, Corona G, et al. Definitions/epidemiology/risk factors for sexual dysfunction. J Sex Med. 2010;7(4):1598-607.
2. Laumann EO, Paik A, Rosen RC. Sexual dysfunction in the United States. Prevalence and predictors. JAMA. 1999;281(6):537-44.
3. Hisasue S, Kumamoto Y, Sato Y, et al. Prevalence of female sexual dysfunction symptoms and its relationship to quality of life: a Japanese female cohort study. Urology. 2005 Jan;65(1):143-8.
4. Berman L, Berman J, Felder S, et al. Seeking help for sexual function complaints: what gynecologists need to know about the female patient’s experience. Fertil Steril. 2003 Mar;79(3):572-6.
5. Jordan R, Hallam TJ, Molinoff P, Spana C. Developing treatments for female sexual dysfunction. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2011;89(1):137-41.
6. Zhu J-S, Halpern GM, Jones K. The scientific rediscovery of an ancient Chinese herbal medicine: Cordyceps sinensis parti. J Alt Complement Med. 1998;4(3):289-303.
7. Chang A, Kwak B-Y, Yi K, Kim JS. The effect of herbal extract (EstroG-100) on pre-, peri- and post-menopausal women: a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Phtyother Res. 2011;doi:10.1002/ptr.3597.
8. Hiasue S, Kumamoto Y, Sato Y, et al. Prevalence of female sexual dysfunction symptoms and its relationship to quality of life: a Japanese female cohort study. Urology. 2005 Jan;65(1):143-8.
9. Saks BR. Common issues in female sexual dysfunction. Psych Times. 2008 April;15;25(5).
10. Rossouw JE, Anderson GL, Prentice RL, et al. Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women: principal results From the Women’s Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2002;288(3):321-33.
11. Anderson GL, Limacher M, Assaf AR, et al. Effects of conjugated equine estrogen in postmenopausal women with hysterectomy: the Women’s Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2004;291(14):1701-12.
12. Vassilopoulou-Sellin R. Breast cancer and hormonal replacement therapy. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003;997:341-50.
13. Wan F, Guo Y, Deng X. Sex hormone-like effects of JinShuiBao capsule: Pharmacological and clinical studies. Chinese Trad Pat Med. 1988;9:29-31.
14. Yang WZ, Deng Xa, Hu W. Treatment of sexual hypofunction with Cordyceps sinensis. Jiangxi Zhongyiyao. 1985;5:46-7.
15. Manabe N, Sugimoto M, Azume Y, et al. 1996. Effects of the mycelial extract of cultured Cordyceps sinensis on in vivo hepatic energy metabolism in the mouse. Jpn J Pharmacol. 70:85-8.
16. Wan F, Guo Y, Deng X. Sex hormone-like effects of JinShuiBao capsule: Pharmacological and clinical studies. Chinese Trad Pat Med. 1988;9:29-31.
17. Wang Y, Wang M, Ling Y, Fan W, Wang Y, Yin H. Structural determination and antioxidant activity of a polysaccharide from the fruiting bodies of cultured Cordyceps sinensis. Am J Chin Med. 2009;37(5):977-89.
18. Liu Z, Li P, Zhao D, Tang H, Guo J. Anti-inflammation effects of cordyceps sinensis mycelium in focal cerebral ischemic injury rats. Inflammation. 34(6):639-44.
19. Liu P, Zhu J, Huang Y, Liu C. Influence of Cordyceps sinensis (Berk.) Sacc. and rat serum containing same medicine on IL-1, IFN, and TNF produced by rat Kupffer. China J Chin Materia Medica. 1996;21:367-9.
20. Piacente S, Carbone V, Plaza A, Zampelli A, Pizza C. Investigation of the tuber constituents of maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp.). J Agricul Food Chem. 2002;50(20):5621–5.
21. Gonzales GF, Córdova A, Vega K, Chung A, Villena A, Góñez C. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men. J Endocrinol. 2003 Jan;176(1):163-8.
22. Bogani P, Simonini F, Iriti M, et al. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) does not exert direct androgenic activities. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Apr 6;104(3):415-7.
23. Brooks NA, Wilcox G, Walker KZ, Ashton JF, Cox MB, Stojanovska L. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause. 2008 Nov-Dec;15(6):1157-62.
24. Gonzales GF. Ethnobiology and ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:193496. Epub 2011 Oct 2.
25. Dording CM, Fisher L, Papakostas G, et al. A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 Fall;14(3):182-91.
26. Chang A, Kwak B-Y, Yi K, Kim JS. The effect of herbal extract (EstroG-100) on pre-, peri- and post-menopausal women: a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Phtyother Res. 2011;doi:10.1002/ptr.3597.
27. Francesco Visioli, Tory M. Hagen. Antioxidants to enhance fertility: Role of eNOS and potential benefits. Pharmacol Res. 2011 November;64(5):431-7.
28. Avitsur R, Weidenfeld J, Yirmiya R. Cytokines inhibit sexual behavior in female rats: II. Prostaglandins mediate the suppressive effects of interleukin-1beta. Brain Behav Immun. 1999 Mar;13(1):33-45.
29. Meyer JH, Ginovart N, Boovariwala A, et al. Elevated monoamine oxidase a levels in the brain: an explanation for the monoamine imbalance of major depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006 November;63(11):1209-16.
30. Montejo AL, Llorca G, Izquierdo JA, Rico-Villademoros F. Incidence of sexual dysfunctions associated with antidepressant agents: a prospective multi-center study of 1022 outpatients. Spanish working group for the study of psychotropic-related Sexual Dysfunction. J Clin Psychiatry. 2001;62(Suppl 3):10-21.
31. Shih JC, Chen K, Ridd MJ. Monoamine oxidase: from genes to behavior. Annu Rev Neurosci. 1999;22:197-217.
32. Levine KB, Williams RE, Hartmann KE. Vulvovaginal atrophy is strongly associated with female sexual dysfunction among sexually active postmenopausal women. Menopause. 2008 Jul-Aug;15(4 Pt 1):661-6.
33. Simon JA. Identifying and treating sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women: the role of estrogen. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011 Oct;20(10):1453-65.
34. Tan O, Bradshaw K, Carr BR. Management of vulvovaginal atrophy-related sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women: an up-to-date review. Menopause. 2012 Jan;19(1):109-17.