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Since ancient times, desire and sexual performance have always piqued the interest of mankind. From the earliest civilizations to the present day, humans have sought to enhance their sexual vitality through rituals and love potions made from aphrodisiac substances.

For centuries, animal and plant extracts were the only remedies used to improve sexual vigor and impotence.

During the 20th century, the introduction of medications revolutionized the management of sexual tonus disorders. However, over the years, it has been observed that these medications can sometimes have significant undesirable side effects. As a result, many consumers have turned back to more natural products.

Food supplements specifically formulated for sexual health can play a crucial role by incorporating ingredients that stimulate libido, improve blood circulation, balance hormonal levels, and boost energy and vitality.

Although it is sometimes a taboo subject, sexuality is not something to be avoided. It is, in fact, an essential aspect of overall health. The first definition of sexual health emerged in 1975 and has evolved over the years. Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines sexual health as “a state of physical, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality.”

Age and hormones : Causes of decreased libido and sexual tonus ?

As men grow older, typically between 40 and 69 years old, they no longer produce enough testosterone, which can lead to decrease in desire, erectile dysfunction, and impotence.

Although testosterone is a male hormone, it is also present in the female body, albeit in smaller quantities. Menopausal women experience a decline in testosterone levels and may suffer from poor lubrication during sexual activity. The use of hormonal contraceptives can also play a role in decreased libido in women. Fatigue and stress are also factors to consider.

Food supplements that promote sexual tonus

Over the past few years, a number of “herbal” or “all-natural” food supplements aimed at maintaining sexuality have been appearing over the counter in pharmacies and online.

The most common ingredients

Among the wide range of products, there are regularly some star ingredients offering the following benefits :

  • Ginseng : helps maintain good sexual relations.
  • American ginseng : aids in including and improving erections. In Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, the ginseng root is traditionally used for its stimulating, tonic, and aphrodisiac properties.
  • Maca : helps maintain a healthy male reproductive system and supports both male and female sexual function. Maca is traditionally considered a plan with great qualities. The roots are the edible part, traditionally used to increase the body’s resistance and improve fertility, nutrition, toning, stimulation, and as an aphrodisiac plant.
  • Tribulus terrestris : promotes sexual desire and male sexual capacity, supports reproductive organ health. Tribulus terrestris has a monograph established by the WHO where its use as a traditional medicine aphrodisiac is described.
  • Vitamin B6 : contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity.
  • Zinc : contributes to normal fertility and reproduction and helps maintain a normal level of testosterone in the blood.

* Picture : ginseng

A market dominated by conventional galenics

In 2022, the capsules segment held the largest market share, representing over 36% of the market[2]. Capsules are preferred for fast-acting products. They have a long shelf life and are readily available in the market, making them popular in the nutraceutical industry.

Strong growth…

The market for food supplements targeting sexual health surpassed $2.54 billion globally in 2022, with Europe accounting for $727 million. According to Arizton’s research report[2], this global market is projected to experience significant growth, reaching over $4 billion by 2028.

This trends towards food supplements offering a more natural alternative has become a significant driving force in the market. Countries such as Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and Russia play a major role in generating revenue in this market. Additionnaly, North America, with countries like the United States and Canada,[2] also contributes to this expansion.

And exciting opportunities ahead…

Sexual health issues remain a major concern for the healthcare industry. They evolve and change with age and different stages of individuals lives, just like their intimate life. The demand for solutions in this area remains constant, and the widespread use of food supplements offers promising prospects for this segment.

Regarding market players, the global sexual health food supplements sector is characterized by significant fragmentation, with numerous manufacturers present in key markets. This factor drives investments in R&D for supplements targeting sexual tonus, fostering competition among these players.

According to figures from Vitafoods Europe 2023 ,[1] approximately 20% of visitors are interested in food supplements that promote sexual health.

[1]Vitafoods Europe 2023, show report

[2] Arizton, market report, june 2023.

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