A pharmacist's look at the supermarket and beyond

Fenugreek Rears its Head

Recently, PharmD candidate Hannah Shorb found a product on our shelves called Vitali-T-Aid, labeled as a drug free dietary supplement. This product had some interesting phrasing on the front label: Helps Increase Libido (with an asterisk) with clinically studied Testofen, Supports natural increases of free testosterone in men (asterisk) and Helps boost sex drive & performance (yes, an asterisk). The asterisk, leads you to the usual disclaimer that none of this has been evaluated by the FDA. As a dietary supplement, there is minimal regulatory oversight and the product does not need to adhere to pharmaceutical standards. Also notice that Testofen is “clinically studied” which is essentially a meaningless statement without identifying the study findings.
Let’s break it down shall we?



Nutrition Facts
Serving Size : 2 Capsules
Serving per Container : 30
Amount Per Serving:

Testofen 600 mg
This is Fenugreek! If you have been following the blog, you know this was the main ingredient in Milky!, the lactation support product. Not sure what it is doing in here other than no less than the Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database cites reports of increased testosterone levels if 500mg is taken daily for 8 weeks (and you exercise!). Hannah found, however, data that showed that it decreases plasma androgen and lowers sperm concentration. In animal studies, seminiferous tubules and testicular interstitial tissue were damaged and the weight of the testes was decreased. This phenomenon of shrinking balls is seen with anabolic steroid use. When something that mimics testosterone is added to the body the testicles see no need to produce testosterone so they shut down and shrivel away, turning grapes into raisins. No change in strength or endurance was seen in the studies. Whatever fenugreek does in the male body, the results are a mixed bag, pardon the pun.

Male Wellness Blend 100 mg contains:

Saw Palmetto Berry Powder
Saw Palmetto is a popular prostate supplement and is antiandrogenic, that is, it works against masculine hormones. That is helpful for enlarged prostate and in controlled trials erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction and reduced libido were all reported. So what the hell is this doing in this product???

Astragalus Root Powder
This may actually do some good in sufficient doses. It dilates blood vessels, so more blood flow, increases sperm motility, which is good if pregnancy is your target, and is diuretic, which may help if peeing like a racehorse makes you feel more manly. However, the dose is quite small per serving.

Phytosterols may actually reduce production of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. Again, very counter-productive. Why is it here? 

Asian Ginseng Root Powder –  
There is some evidence of small effects for increased libido. Ginseng is a popular memory supplement and just having a slight boost to your mental acuity could be a turn on.

Tribulus Fruit Extract –  
This is a good source of saponins which may be good for your sperm health according to animal studies, but has no effect on testosterone levels. Again, if making a baby is your goal…

L-Arginine USP
This one is all about blood flow. 4 to 6 grams a day are shown to improve sexual function in men with organic erectile dysfunction when taken for 6 weeks. Since there is only some fraction of 100mg in each dose here, it is unlikely that it will help. Notably, arginine is one of the key ingredients in “Dream Cream” which is sold to “enhance female sexual sensation” and is applied directly to the lady parts. Arginine does lead to higher levels of nitric oxide which is needed to relax smooth muscle in erectile tissue resulting in better blood flow. A guy might be better off to skip this tiny amount in these capsules and just have a dream cream party for two, rubbing the arginine cream all over each other’s erectile parts. I’m excited already!

This stuff goes for about $40 and has many ingredients in conflict with one another. As with most of my recommendations, I prefer to select individual ingredients, not some shotgun formula like this one. Most of the effect would derive from the effectiveness of the advertising on the label. If you believe you are one studly human then you may act like one. I like to think that the brain is the sexiest organ of all. A little whipped cream could be fun too!

1 Comment

  1. Here’s an update: GNC is advertising its new combo “testosterone booster AND fat burner,” X-180 Ignite. Its main ingredient? Testofen! X-180 combines fenugreek with horny goat weed (obviously), green coffee, more caffeine, oats, and white and green teas. “Amp up your manhood!” I say BS

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