Can Women Take Men’s Supplements (And Vice Versa?)
Whether in health food shops or supplement stores, it seems there are always different supplements designated for men and women.
It’s true: men’s health needs are different from women’s health. Hormone levels, risks to certain diseases, and even nutrient needs may be very different for men or women.
That’s not to say these types of supplements only benefit health discriminately.
If men took women’s supplements and vice versa, would it be good for them? Or would it not?
CAN WOMEN TAKE MEN’S SUPPLEMENTS (AND VICE VERSA?)
Surprisingly, the answer is, in most cases, yes—it is good for them. Women can find some benefit in men’s supplements, and men can too when they take women’s supplements.
So, what really makes men and women’s supplements different?
It really only comes down to how manufacturers choose supplements and their ingredients. Men’s supplements are designed for men; women’s supplements are designed for women.
But does this mean men and women can only benefit from supplements exclusively made for them? Absolutely not—and this is the case when it comes to one of our favorite formulas, Alpha Complex.
LET’S USE ALPHA COMPLEX AS AN EXAMPLE
Alpha Complex is our premier formula designed to optimize men’s health. We carefully choose each ingredient among many herbs, mushrooms, and botanicals from all around the world known to benefit men’s health.
We, however, focused on very specific ingredients for specific reasons.
Namely, we’ve chosen those showing the strongest overlap between both tradition and science. Each botanical selected demonstrates a rich, deep history of healing in the past among traditional herbalists and healers. However, each also has scientific interest, research, and plenty of studies.
These herbs have been historically used (and studied) mostly for how they benefit men’s health. Benefits to women’s health certainly aren’t overlooked, though. In some cases, certain ingredients in Alpha Complex are for overall sexual and reproductive health, regardless of gender or sex.
HOW ALPHA COMPLEX IS GOOD FOR MEN’S HEALTH
Ultimately, Alpha Complex is chock-full of herbs and mushrooms with a strong focus on bodily functions that boost health in men.
These ingredients are:
How exactly do these above ingredients support men’s health? Depending on any one of these herbal contents, each may help at least one or a combination of the following health-boosting actions:
- Support and increase testosterone levels
- Increase energy and athletic performance
- Improve performance and libido
- Raise fertility levels
- Help boost muscle growth
- Stimulate better hair growth
- Reduce the risk of male reproductive health disorders
- Reduce the risk of male reproductive cancers
- Achieve healthier weight and metabolism
Looking at this list, it’s easy to think that yes, this may be more geared towards men.
But the truth is that these herbs and mushrooms can help women in similar ways. These ingredients may even act differently in women, though in ways that benefit them separately and uniquely.
WELLNESS FOR ALL: ALPHA COMPLEX IS GREAT FOR WOMEN, TOO
How is this possible? How is an herbal formula, built for benefiting men’s health specifically, so great for the other half of the population as well?
It may be due to herbs’ more holistic, whole-body actions.
What this means: healing botanicals tend to contain plant compounds that strengthen the whole body, not just one or two functions.
Studies and traditional knowledge alike have found that each plant, herb, or fungus may have specific actions herbs stimulate. But the general effect of herbs like this is to support the underlying foundation of all health.
From this foundation, more specific health properties can spring.
This accounts for how, throughout history and through scientific research, herbs and mushrooms that help men’s health also appear to improve women’s health too. However, the same herbs work in more unique (though sometimes similar) ways.
Of course, this also applies to our stellar ingredients in Alpha Complex, too.
This fascinating Asian fungus has a hard-and-fast reputation. It is well-known for boosting sexual health, amping up energy levels, and giving fuel to athletes in the exercise department.
For the most part, though, these benefits have been marketed to men.
But we all know perfectly well that the above are sought by women, too. Better yet, studies show that (obviously) these benefits can certainly apply to the female population as well.
Though that isn’t all. One study on cordyceps pointed out data supporting that the mushroom promotes reproductive health in just about anyone. It does so because it exerts positive benefits on the endocrine system in general.
The endocrine system, whether it’s in men or women, does the same thing: it helps to produce and balance hormones.
And while cordyceps is known to help raise testosterone, one study shows that in women, it may help elevate estrogen. What this means is that it takes care of a whole range of health issues in women too. This is especially interesting, considering it keeps estrogen levels steady in men, on the other hand.
Heart disease is a silent killer amongst women. Researchers over the past 70 years geared their studies towards men. As a result, 1 in 4 women dies from heart disease. Women need to boost their heart health, and Cordyceps can help.
Research has shown that Cordyceps can benefit the heart in a number of ways. Different studies have linked it to improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
One study of hamsters and rats showed that Cordyceps helped improve their cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Another study showed that it both helped cholesterol levels as well as improved insulin sensitivity. A third study also found that it helped improve cholesterol levels.
However, these preliminary studies are all on animals, so whether it improves human hearts is unknown. It is promising research, though.
In addition, Cordyceps may also be able to help in the treatment of diabetes. Researchers believe that Cordyceps works by mimicking the action of insulin.
One study found that the fruiting body of Cordyceps helped with diabetes-induced weight loss, polydipsia, and hyperglycemia. Researchers stated that Cordyceps has the potential to be a functional food for people with diabetes.
Another study on mice found that it also had strong results for both diabetes and cholesterol.
Kidney problems are a common side effect of diabetes. A third study on rats with diet-induced diabetes found that Cordyceps helped diabetic symptoms. It also helped protect the kidney as well. This supports a review of 22 studies, which found that Cordyceps could help patients with Chronic Kidney Disease.
Although many of the studies are limited to animals, research shows how promising Cordyceps are to human health. Cordyceps could offer a myriad of benefits to women as well as men.
Cordyceps may aid women’s health by:
- Raising estrogen
- Promoting heart health
- Improving symptoms of diabetes
- Strengthening kidneys
Its common name is “horny goat weed,” but its scientific name is Epimedium. With a name like horny goat weed, it’s not a stretch to think the herb is geared toward men.
Regardless of what it’s called, women have every right to be drawn to it, too.
This is because Epimedium restores not only testosterone levels in men, but also estrogen in women, too, not unlike cordyceps. This was shown in a study in 2013 and could spell benefits to women with reproductive disorders, PMS issues, and more.
Yet another study later showed that, because of helping re-balance estrogen, Epimedium also helped reduce the risk of osteoporosis. A drop in estrogen level can cause osteoporosis, both of which often occurs following menopause.
While the fountain of youth may not exist, there are ways to help slow down aging. A healthy diet, exercise, and quality sleep all contribute to graceful aging. Epimedium could be a helpful supplement, as well.
Epimedium’s powerful antioxidants can also help women age gracefully. One study found that rats who took Epimedium had metabolites of younger rats. The study indicated that some of the symptoms of aging were due to changes in lipid metabolism. Epimedium helps slow these changes by fighting the free radicals that contribute to these changes.
Menopause can cause many uncomfortable symptoms in women. However, many women would like to find a more natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy. Epimedium might be able to help with some of the symptoms of hormone imbalance associated with menopause.
One study of Epimedium and menopause found that it had an estrogenic effect. Researchers stated that it could be useful for menopause’s side effects from low estrogen.
Modern life is full of stress. Most of us could use a little boost to help in the day-to-day. Epimedium could offer extra endurance to help meet the demands of life.
Icariin is an active component in Epimedium that’s believed to have anti-fatigue properties. One study of rats found that those who took icariin were able to swim longer in exhaustive swimming tests. Another similar study on mice yielded the same results.
While not studied on humans yet, Epimedium might be able to give the extra energy. It could be the right supplement for anyone, male or female, that needs a boost.
Epimedium: only good for men? Definitely not.
Epimedium may aid women’s health by:
- Raising estrogen in the body
- Reducing the risk of osteoporosis
- Fighting effects of aging
- Reducing the side effects of menopause
- Boosting mood
- Increasing energy
Once again, an herb with more widespread fame for helping men’s health can also have perks for women.
Also known as “velvet bean,” mucuna pruriens has a long history in Ayurveda.
It was a sexual health tonic that had high aims for men, known to boost libido, increase energy, and reverse infertility. It also strengthens sperm health and fertility, too.
Though in all reality, mucuna was used just as much for women’s sexual health as it was for men’s in ancient times. And the research vouches for this, too.
One specific study showed the herb had estrogenic activity for women. This can be a huge benefit, as we have seen in both cordyceps and Epimedium. The study authors also cited its use in helping women’s menstrual disorders and fertility.
Properties like this obviously have value for menopausal women, especially.
It can help reduce symptoms of this stage of life, possibly. It may even reduce one’s need to depend on synthetic estrogens prescribed by doctors, though more studies are needed.
Beyond its estrogenic activity, mucuna holds additional benefits for everyone, men and women. Mucuna is a type of adaptogen, meaning it helps the body handle stress better. It contains naturally high levels of L-dopa, a precursor to dopamine. Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter in our bodies and linked to motivation, pleasure, and emotions.
Researchers have found that mucuna pruriens can help balance mood. A 2014 study found that it had a significant anti-anxiety effect on rats. In addition, another study found that it had antidepressant actions.
Mucuna’s potential anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects are especially significant for women. Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety and depression.
However, keep in mind that mucuna pruriens’ L-dopa content might make depression worse in those with low serotonin. Just as people may have too little dopamine, too much can be harmful, as well. Researchers link too much dopamine to thrill-seeking and impulsive behavior. For those who are suffering from too little dopamine, though, mucuna pruriens might be helpful.
Mucuna pruriens may aid women’s health by:
- Supporting estrogenic activity
- Balancing mood
- Supporting a sense of well-being
It’s native to southeast Asia (specifically Malaysia), and it is almost synonymous with boosting male health. It does this by raising testosterone levels naturally by supporting the body’s ability to produce and balance them on its own.
The herb long jack is also known to have practically dozens of other different names. From Tongkat Ali to Pasak Bumi, each name is from a different language in the region.
When it comes down to reproductive health, though, long jack doesn’t discriminate.
Studies like this one show the herb helps lower testosterone levels in female test subjects. The females were experiencing disorders due to excessive testosterone (with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)-like symptoms). The result: they experienced relief and even treatment.
It also restored subjects’ fertility and normalized their fertility cycles.
More studies will be needed to explore these effects further. However, this shows that long jack—amazingly—could possibly help women with excessive testosterone.
Long Jack is also a helpful adaptogen to improve mood. One study found that long jack extract was comparable to anti-anxiety medication for reducing symptoms of anxiety in mice.
Another study had 63 individuals supplement with long jack for one month. Those who took long jack had a 16% reduction in cortisol (a stress hormone) over the placebo group. In addition, participants reported less stress, tension, and anger.
Although more studies are needed to substantiate these findings, it could be useful for decreasing anxiety.
Long jack may support women’s health by:
- Lowering testosterone
- Boosting mood
- Relieving anxiety
Pine pollen is yet another botanical that is ever-so-popular for supporting men’s health concerns.
It’s famous effects on testosterone (due to its containing of phyto-androgens, according to research) don’t just go one way. They go both ways for men and women alike.
That’s because testosterone isn’t just a man’s hormone.
That’s right: women have it and need it, too. What’s more, low testosterone levels can be responsible for a number of problems in women. Most notably, it could contribute to low sex drive and energy. This is especially true in women who have low estrogen levels, too, according to studies.
One study even showed that a phyto-androgen-rich pine pollen extract helped reduce hot flashes in women with menopause. It also theorized that it could help similar symptoms in men going through andropause.
Pine pollen may do this because its testosterone-mimicking nature could stimulate better hormonal balance.
Also, pine pollen a rich source of antioxidants. One study found that its antioxidant activity was equal to a control antioxidant compound. The study also found that it had an anti-inflammatory effect.
Another study found that a carbohydrate derived from pollen helped decrease liver damage. It also reduced the level of enzymes that are associated with liver damage.
In addition, researchers have studied pine pollen for its anti-aging effects. They found that pine pollen increased the lifespan of cell replication, called replication senescence.
These anti-aging effects are likely due to the antioxidant activity of pine pollen. The same researchers observed that it reduced the occurrences of memory errors in mice. They found that the mice had a rise in the activity of antioxidant molecules. The mice also had a decrease in inflammation-associated molecules.
Although the studies are still preliminary, they do show that pine pollen could be useful for better aging.
So before thinking that pine pollen has no benefits for women, it may be time to look at the research and think again!
Pine pollen could aid women’s health by:
- Supporting hormone balance
- Providing a rich source of antioxidants
- Boosting liver health
- Fighting effects of aging
GRAPE SEED EXTRACT
The last main ingredient of Alpha Complex is grape seed extract.
This botanical preparation is famous for containing some very unique antioxidants. All of them are highly esteemed (and researched) for cancer-fighting, heart health-boosting, cholesterol-lowering, and much more.
For men, researchers have studied it for its effects on prostate cancer.
For women, grape seed’s star antioxidant (called resveratrol) can actually help reduce breast cancer risk, according to one study.
In this piece of research, researchers found there were enough of these cancer-reducing antioxidants to be found in a glass of red wine. While both red wine and white wine contain resveratrol, red wine is the superior choice in terms of cancer risk.
Women may want to remember this next time they enjoy a glass of red wine.
Also, grape seed extract can potentially help women with improved blood flow. A small study of postmenopausal women found that grape seed extract had blood-thinning effects.
Studies in younger women are promising, as well. One study found in two sets of young women that both experienced less leg swelling after supplementing with the extract.
Women are more likely to experience blood flow problems in their legs. In fact, venous insufficiency and varicose veins affect up to 25% of all women. Grape seed extract could help reduce the chance of developing these issues.
While grape seed extract’s main benefits are found in red wine, its effectiveness is much better in concentrated extractions or supplements. There they are fine-tuned for their health benefits specifically.
Grape Seed Extract could aid women’s health by:
- Boosting heart health
- Reducing the risk of breast cancer
- Improving blood flow
- Reducing the risk of varicose veins
ANYONE CAN BENEFIT FROM ALPHA COMPLEX
Women and men alike can experience health enhancement from all these herbs and mushrooms above in Alpha Complex.
Even better, we take the potential of these ingredients to the next level. We choose the purest, most sustainably-sourced, organically-grown, and intensively-extracted products possible to go into our blend.
In Alpha Complex:
- Mucuna Pruriens Extract
- Epimedium Extract
- Grape Seed Extract
- Broken Cell Pine Pollen
- Cordyceps Extract
- Long Jack Extract
- Luo Han Guo (Monk Fruit)
- Black Pepper Fruit Extract
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