ArginMax is a supplement marketed to improve sexual satisfaction. It contains L-arginine (an amino acid), Gingko biloba, Panax ginseng, American ginseng, Damiana, vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex, zinc, and selenium.
The hypothesis is that the ingredients favor the production of nitric oxide, one of the chemicals our bodies make to increase blood flow. Blood flow leads to engorgement of genital tissues, which is necessary for lubrication, that “feel-good” feeling during sex, and, of course, orgasm. The other ingredients are also supposed to promote muscle relaxation, which also increases blood flow. Muscle relaxation (at the right time) is also key for orgasm (which I think is very well described as a duet between muscle relaxation and tension).
Okay, so it sounds good in theory does it work and are there downsides or risks?
Three small studies have looked at L-arginine and sexual function. Two studies (total 185 women) showed a statistically significant improvement in sexual satisfaction (with about 70% of women reporting an increase in sexual desire). Among pre-menopausal and peri-menopausal women there was an increase in the frequency of sex.
Another study evaluated the effect of ArginMax on female cancer survivors. There was no increase in sexual desire, but there was a definite improvement in quality of life symptoms with women taking ArginMax reporting less nausea, pain, sleeplessness, and more energy.
What about “in real life?” I checked a couple of on-line stores with more than 5 evaluations, one gave an average of 3 stars and the other 3 1/2 stars. So my totally non-scientific evaluation indicates a 60-70% approval rating (on par with the small studies)
Who shouldn’t take ArginMax? The ingredients could potentially lower blood pressure, affect diabetes, and worsen asthma. The ingredients can also potentially interact with blood thinners, hypoglycemics (oral medications for diabetes), and some blood pressure medications. There is conflicting evidence whether or not ginseng affects estrogen levels or even acts like estrogen, so women with breast or uterine cancer also need to be extra cautious. Bottom line: ALWAYS check with your health care provider before starting ANY supplement (these words are capitalized for a reason!). One good tip: in addition to asking your primary care provider, ask every provider who prescribes a medication for you about the potential interactions with their prescription. If you can, also speak with a pharmacist.
The dose is 6 capsules a day and it costs about $25-35/month depending on where you buy it. Studies show the effect on sex and quality of life is seen by 4 weeks, so if you think about trying it, keep that in mind before ordering a 6-month supply.
That’s the evidence on ArginMax.
Remember, this post is not direct medical advice. Always consult with your own medical provider before starting any supplement.