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Real men take supplements

By the dearth of standout natural ingredients vying for this category, one might assume that the only health problems men suffer from are erectile dysfunction (ED), prostate cancer, and receding hairlines.

The overall potential market, however, is attractive. According to Nutrition Business Journal, 30 million men presently have ED, and 65 per cent of men over the age of 65 are likely to experience it. Yet few natural ingredients, outside of the ones that the FDA considers dangerous drugs, have been able to cut into the line that forms behind Viagra and Cialis.

"The men's health category, while large, has the potential for expansion," says Cheryl Sturm, director of marketing at selenium supplier Embria. "There are few products that differentiate between the nutritional needs of younger and older men, for instance. Considering that one third of the purchasers of dietary supplements are men, and that men are more likely than women to stay on a supplement program once started, there is a significant opportunity for expansion."

Erectile dysfunction/libido
Myriad herbs and natural remedies for ED and enhancing libido are traditional in Asian, South American and African cultures. One, tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia), is being marketed by the Indonesian company Javaplant under the brand name Euryco 0.5. Others include ginkgo biloba, maca, yohimbe, epimedium (horny goat weed), and ginseng.

Prostate health
Saw palmetto, lycopene and selenium dominate this category presently. "Saw palmetto has traditionally been used for some specific health conditions," says Embria's director of research and development Stuart Reeves. "But selenium is an essential mineral for human health, and it has broader beneficial effects on human metabolism in general, plus it has potential protective effects against prostate cancer." Selenium also has been shown in trials to improve sperm motility in men with low sperm motility.

It is one of a few nutrients to receive a qualified health claim from the FDA as being effective in the prevention of certain cancers. Cypress Systems, for instance, has sponsored numerous studies. Its product, SelenoExcell, has been shown in a Gold-Standard clinical trial published in the Journal of American Medical Associationto reduce lung, colon and prostate cancer incidence by 50-63 per cent.

LycoRed produces Lyc-O-Mato, an antioxidant carotenoid. The product is supported by numerous clinical studies that suggest it reduces the risk of prostate cancer.

Functional Ingredients:
Ginkgo biloba
Pumpkin seeds
Saw palmetto
Tongkat ali
Vitamin B complex

Just over the horizon, expect to see the emergence of the well-known cranberry as a men's health product. Doug Cliber, chief operating officer for Decas Botanical Synergies, says the company has just completed clinical trials — results soon to be released — that demonstrate the cranberry's efficacy in prostate health. "We're imagining products that combine the power of cranberries' proanthocyanidins with other efficacious nutrients in the men's health arena," he says.

Tocotrienols, vitamin E fractions, are making their way through scientific research and emerging as potential cancer preventives, among other applications. "Delta and gamma isomers especially have been found to be potent inhibitors of prostate-cancer cell growth," says \[PHOTO\]Sharon Ling, vice president of scientific affairs and sales and marketing (Europe) for Carotech. However, a likely more lucrative market for tocotrienols is to be found in hair loss.

Hair loss
In 2006, Euromonitor estimated the global market for hair-growth consumer products to be $1billion. By the age of 60 as many as two thirds of men are showing signs of balding. One in four women in America will suffer some degree of hair loss beginning around age 50.

For this, Carotech offers its patented Tocomin SupraBio, which in one trial produced up to 50 per cent hair growth in test subjects. The company foresees a lucrative market ahead. "Only two pharmaceutical agents have been approved by the FDA for treating hair loss — Finasteride and Minoxidil," says Carotech's Ling. "These, however, are not without adverse side effects."

Among other 'natural' ingredients said to have hair-growth benefits are biotin, zinc, vitamin B complex, saw palmetto, pumpkin seeds, nettles and traditional Chinese herbs. These can be formulated as oral or topical products by pharmaceutical or cosmetics industries. Besides Tocomin SupraBio, scientific evidence of hair-growth efficacies of these natural remedies remains to be seen.

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Select Suppliers

For men's sexual health.
+1 866 262 6699
City of Industry, California, USA

Alpha Packaging
Plastic Bottles & Jars
PET and HDPE packaging in sizes from one ounce to one gallon. Packaging is suitable for tablets and capsules, powders, and liquids and lotions.
+1 314 427 4300
St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Amax NutraSource
High-selenium yeast. Supported by a clinical trial agreement with the Cancer Prevention Division of the National Cancer Institute. GRAS.
+1 800 893 5306
Eugene, Oregon, USA

Cypress Systems
SelenoExcell HSY 1200
Clinical research shows selenium to be a vital part of men's prostate-health products.
+1 559 229 7850
Fresno, California, USA

Ecuadorian Rainforest
Lepidium meyenii. Grown in the Peruvian Andes, used traditionally to increase fertility.
+1 973 759 2002
Belleville, New Jersey, USA

Hsu's Ginseng
Cordy Classic
Blend of cordyceps, B vitamins and royal jelly. Fortifies the kidneys, which can help with sexual energy. May help improve respiration and circulation.
+1 715 675 2325
Wausau, Wisconsin, USA

Tomato lycopene complex with superior bioavailability. Clinically proven to support prostate health.
+1 760 539 7044
Orange, New Jersey, USA

Pizzey's Nutritionals
Omega-3 with ALA, EPA and DHA. Uses patented technology to encapsulate fish oil in milled flaxseed, delivering stability and fortification without compromising taste or aroma.
Fitchburg, Wisconsin, USA
+1 877 244 7155

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