Lee Swanson, President of Swanson Health Products®
Dr. Paul Clayton
Dr. Paul Clayton graduated summa cum laude in Medical Pharmacology from Edinburgh University, Scotland, prior to obtaining his PhD. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Medicine and a former Senior Scientific Advisor to the UK government's Committee on the Safety of Medicines. He has worked with leading doctors and clinical scientists at centers of clinical expertise in the UK and abroad, and trained the pharmacists in Britain's largest chemist chain in preventative nutrition. Dr. Clayton has lectured at the Royal College of General Practitioners. He frequently presents at and chairs international conferences on nutrition and health. His books include Health Defence and After Atkins. Dr. Clayton is the Chief Scientific Advisor for Gencor, the international corporation dedicated to Ayurvedic lifestyle solutions.
SWANSON: Dr. Clayton, thank you for introducing our customers to Libifem. Tell us, why is it so important to have a solution such as this available?
DR. CLAYTON: The subject of male sexual performance has been so prominent in the public sphere over the past decade, but so little attention has been paid to the female side of the equation. This is a shame, because it ignores the fact that one in every four women experiences a loss of sex drive at some point in their lives, especially as they age. Just like men, women experience hormonal changes, stress and other lifestyle influences that can reduce their desire for intimate activity. Now we have something natural that can really help.
SWANSON: You're the Chief Scientific Advisor for Gencor, the developer of Libifem and a global leader in Ayurvedic health products. We've known Gencor as the creator of Testofen®, which we've carried for a number of years to help men support healthy testosterone levels. With this historical focus on men, how did you come to develop Libifem for women?
DR. CLAYTON: There is a lot of routine in science but, occasionally, serendipity steps in. In 2005, Gencor ran a clinical trial for joint health in men and women with an extract of fenugreek. The trial failed, due to the high number of dropouts. We scanned the data and found, to our surprise, that the dropouts were all women who had become pregnant and so had to withdraw from the study. Further investigation showed all the participants taking the fenugreek extract reported an increase in sexual desire. We started looking in a different direction.
Our extract was standardized to a specific blend of fenugreek saponins, which are effectively phytosteroids. Preclinical studies showed these compounds were not androgens, yet they exerted androgenic and anabolic effects.1 Subsequent clinical trials showed that the saponins repartitioned testosterone, displacing about 1% of the testosterone bound to SHBG [sex hormone-binding globulin] and serum albumen and thus doubling free testosterone levels.2, 3
We started a clinical trial to look at the effects of our fenugreek extract on male sexuality with the world-renowned Professor Luis Vitetta at the University of Queensland. The results of our randomized entry, double-blind study were stunning; our fenugreek extract significantly increased sexual desire in young-to-middle-aged males, boosting sexual activity significantly.4 After the trial ended, the participants petitioned for more product, as did many of their partners. This product, subsequently launched as Testofen, has been extremely successful.
Mindful of our initial study's results, we went back to the lab and drafted a parallel study in healthy young-to-middle-aged menstruating women in stable sexual relationships, again with Professor Vitetta. This was more difficult to set up, as all women had to be in synchronous menstrual stages—and Australian ethical committees are notoriously stringent. Those results were just released and are as amazing as the male results. Libifem raised free estradiol levels and increased sexual activity.5 As before, the participants were very happy with the results.
SWANSON: It's interesting that your fenugreek extract supports both male and female hormones. How do you explain this?
DR. CLAYTON: Estradiol is structurally very similar to testosterone, and binds to the same sites on SHBG and albumen, so our fenugreek extract was acting via an exactly parallel mechanism. It is a gender-specific, natural sexual function enhancer.* The safety and toxicology are pristine—this is a widely used culinary herb, after all—and while sex hormone levels were raised in both males and females, they remained within normal ranges due to the inherent inefficiency of the displacement mechanism. Professor Vitetta concluded that this was an appropriate supplement for men and women for promoting sexual arousal and desire.*
There are important health benefits linked to higher levels of (natural) testosterone and estradiol,6 but low sexual function is prevalent in both sexes. It is a cause of much personal and marital distress. We have looked extensively, but are not aware of any other product that can give the same positive effect for women. Our dossier of ethnobotanical, in vitro, pre-clinical and clinical data is coherent and convincing. In fact, a new paper yet to be published details the results of our latest research, which found significant benefits in five key parameters of female sexual health—sexual cognition, arousal, experience, drive and climax—among 80 women in a placebo-controlled study.7
Libifem (and Testofen) constitute a breakthrough approach to sexual function and desire.* As they are effective in both females and males, they can be used by either partner in a relationship or by both together. The effects of such a dual approach have been described as "truly remarkable" by many who have tried them. Second honeymoon, anyone?
1. Aswar et al., Effect of furostanol glycosides from Trigonella foenum-graecum on the reproductive system of male albino rats. Phytother Res. 2010;24(10):1482-8. ↩
2. Poole et al., The effects of a commercially available botanical supplement on strength, body composition, power output, and hormonal profiles in resistance-trained males. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010;7:34. ↩
3. Wilborn et al., Effects of a purported aromatase and 5-reductase inhibitor on hormone profiles in college-age men. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010 Dec;20(6):457-65. ↩
4. Steels et al., Physiological Aspects of Male Libido Enhanced by Standardized Trigonella foenum graecum Extract formulation. Phytother Res '11, DOI: 10.1002/ptr.3360 ↩
5. Steels et al., Physiological Aspects of Female Libido Enhanced by Standardized Trigonella foenum-graecum Extract and Mineral Formulation. In press. ↩
6. Taylor MJ, Strategies for managing antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction: a review. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2006;8(6):431–436 ↩
7. Rao A et al., 2012. Influence of Libifem, a specialized extract of Trigonella Foenum graecum (fenugreek) on sexual function, hormones and metabolism in healthy menstruating women, in a randomized placebo-controlled study. Not yet published. ↩
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.