The use of nutraceutical products to enhance male sexual performance has a long history, especially with regard to the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). Alternative treatments for ED are becoming increasingly popular, with growing interest from consumers, as well as increased revenue for manufacturers. Dietary supplements (DSs), which are a mixture of active ingredients, are mainly sold online. In randomized controlled trials, the molecules contained in DSs have demonstrated varying degrees of effectiveness, or even have no evidence to support their use. However, none of the studies carried out provided sufficient evidence to consider these products a first-line therapy. Therefore, the combination of the various active ingredients, especially in relation to the daily dose, leaves doubts about the real effectiveness. In order to evaluate the potential efficacy of DS formulations, we analyzed the products marketed in Italy using a scoring approach. A systematic review of the literature was performed to evaluate the effect of DS and to detect the active ingredients able to improve erectile function-called effective ingredients (EIs)-and their minimal effective daily dose (mED). A metanalysis identified some nutraceuticals, such as Panax ginseng, Tribulus terrestris and L-arginine, that are able to improve male sexual function. Based on the scoring system, 2 (8%) supplements matched with the cluster of higher expected efficacy, 3 (12%) with the lower efficacy cluster and 20 (80%) matched with the criterion of no expected efficacy. DSs marketed in Italy are usually blends of many substances that are frequently employed at a negligible dose or without any evidence.
Nutrients. 2023 Aug 22*** epublish ***
Gabriel Cosmin Petre, Francesco Francini-Pesenti, Amerigo Vitagliano, Giuseppe Grande, Alberto Ferlin, Andrea Garolla
Unit of Andrology and Reproductive Medicine & Centre for Male Gamete Cryopreservation, Department of Medicine, University of Padova, 35100 Padova, Italy., Department of Medicine, Clinical Nutrition Unit, University of Padova, 35128 Padova, Italy., Unit of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Biomedical and Human Oncologic Science, University of Bari, 70121 Bari, Italy.