Daily supplements of root extracts of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) may promote healthy testosterone production and other metrics related to male sexual function, say results of a pilot study.
Data from 46 men indicated that daily supplements of Ixoreal Biomed’s KSM-66 ashwagandha for 90 days were associated with a 17% increase in testosterone levels.
The full-spectrum root extract was also associated with increases in sperm count (167%), semen volume (53%), and sperm motility (57%), according to findings published in the PubMed listed journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine .
The study’s findings have led to an approval by Health Canada to the claim that KSM-66 “helps promote healthy testosterone production in males”.
Kartikeya Baldwa, Director of Ixoreal Biomed, told us that the primary claim that our customers are making based on this study is that it helps in promoting healthy testosterone production in men, claims that are consistent with the Health Canada claim.
The sexual health sector has been the subject of controversial products in the past (indeed, FDA warning letters allege that some products in this sector are tainted products masquerading as supplements ).
Baldwa agreed that this area has been controversial. “I think the areas where FDA has shown concern are those areas where many manufacturers have made overly strong claims about their products and there are serious concerns about the supplement creating disruptive changes in the body,” he said. “In our case, we have followed the more traditional story in Ayurveda that ashwagandha promotes homeostasis and balance in the body.
“Ashwagandha amplifies the body's ability to self-regulate its key systems, thereby achieving its effects in a more natural and safe way. The very idea of Ayurveda is to take a systemic and preventative approach to health.
“The effect of ashwagandha on testosterone production is similarly integrative and organic,” he said. “We should not expect KSM-66 to produce substantial testosterone increases in males with already very high testosterone levels or in females, because such increases would be counter to the natural state of balance in such individuals. Indeed, pilot data for another clinical study in progress indicate that KSM-66's effect on testosterone in females is not substantial
“Also, some testosterone supplements may increase testosterone even for males with already high testosterone, which ashwagandha supplementation would not usually do.”
For the new pilot study, Indian researchers assigned men with low sperm counts to receive either the KSM-66 supplements (675 mg/d in three doses) or placebo for 90 days.
Results indicated that the ashwagandha supplements were associated with healthy testosterone production and other metrics of male sexual health, while any improvements in the placebo group were minimal, reported the researchers.
“The most consistent positive finding of the present study was that decreased fertility in males was ameliorated by Ashwagandha root extract as evidenced by an increase in sperm concentration, ejaculate volume, and motile sperm count and an increase in the serum levels of testosterone,” wrote the researchers.
A history as old as record keeping itself
Ashwagandha, a woody shrub that ranges in size from boot height to something over four feet, is the subject of a monograph by the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. According to the monograph, the herb has a history of use in ayurvedic medicine that dates back as much as 4,000 years to the teaching of renowned scholar Punarvasu Atreya, and in subsequent works that make up the ayurvedic tradition. The name of the herb derives from Sanskrit, and means “smells like a horse”, which refers to the strong smell of the root which is said to be redolent of horse sweat or urine.
In its traditional uses, ashwagandha has a remarkable array of applications. It has been used as a general tonic in case of emaciation, as a rejuvenative tonic (or rasayana) and as a mile purgative. It has also been used by ayurvedic practitioners to quell inflammation, to treat asthma, bronchitis and arthritis, and to promote contraception.
Source: Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
“Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study”
Authors: V.R. Ambiye, D. Langade, S. Dongre, P. Aptikar, M. Kulkarni, A. Dongre