Avena Sativa, oats
extract, promoted as an aphrodisiac herb and included in many sexual enhancing
products - How effective is the extract
for libido enhancement and is it effective as a treatment for impotence or
erectile dysfunction? by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Do avena sativa supplements improve sexual pleasure? What is the right dosage and are there more potent herbal alternatives?
Avena sativa is the scientific name for the grass commonly known as oats. It has been used medicinally since the middle ages, yet I have not come across any reference to any aphrodisiac benefit that has been noted or documented in several hundred years of use. In recent years extracts have been marketed as sexual enhancers.
Promoters say avena sativa extract frees up bound testosterone to free testosterone in the blood, making it more active. However, I have not come across any published studies that prove this point, nor have I come across any studies published in the medical literature regarding its effectiveness as a sex booster. However, some anecdotal evidence from users indicates the herb to be a mild and gentle sexual enhancer, not as potent as tribulus terrestris, tongkat ali, horny goat weed, and other sex herbs. Avena sativa therefore may be a good herb to use in combination with stronger aphrodisiac herbs.
In 2011 it was reported that avena sativa syrup was found in the Osama Bin Laden compound. Was Bin laden using it as a natural aphrodisiac?
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Syrup versus capsule? Is there a difference?
Not that we know of. Liquids and tablets, or capsules, are often similar in their benefits although in some cases liquids get absorbed a little better. Some people may open a capsule and mix the contents in water of juice if they wish.
I have been taking avena sativa extract on and off for about one year. I think it does boost my sex drive but my goal with this product is to complement my weight lifting by increasing free testosterone thereby increasing muscle. I would never take steroids. I understand that steroids could potentially shrink the testicles, and I was wondering if avena sativa extract works in the same manner as steroids thereby causing testicles to eventually shrink?
Long term human studies in relation to its effects on hormones are not available, so we really don't know. However, based on my knowledge, I would seriously doubt if the extract had effects even remotely similar to taking steroids.
In the book A Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 2000
Edition, in the impotence article, there is a reference to a Dr. Robert Frankt
of Budapest University in Hungary having used avena sativa (green oats) and
stinging nettles to treat men who suffered from low sexual desire and diminished
performance. The action and chemical composition of each of these herbs is
described in the list of Herbs and Their Uses in the same book above. Whether
this means the combination is actually a kind of cure for (some aspect) of
impotence (ED) is not clear.
I am not aware of any published human avena sativa supplement research regarding its benefits for sexual enhancement. There are many potent natural aphrodisiacs that have been studied more thoroughly.
I know you don't carry it on your website but do you have an opinion on Swiss Oats A111 and the clinical data showing it raises free testosterone levels?
I have not seen any research on this product.
Benefit and review
I don't have a strong opinion yet regarding the aphrodisiac properties or benefit of avena sativa capsules or tablets, but my limited experience indicates it is a mild and gentle sexual enhancer. I'll have to wait for more research before I solidify my opinion. If you were to take this pill, one capsule a few times a week should be sufficient for most people. Take a week off each month.
Most sexual enhancement claims rest on research conducted during the 1980s by the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco, which marketed a line of avena sativa products. According to an article in Nutrition Action Healthletter, the one study on men and women that compared avena sativa to a placebo was never published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Avena sativa (oats) is a healthy addition to one's diet and could provide cardiovascular benefits.
Avena sativa and cholesterol
Effect of Avena Sativa (oat bran) enriched diet on the atherogenic lipid profile in patients with an increased coronary heart disease risk. A controlled randomized lifestyle intervention study.
Ann Nutrition Metabolism. 2003.
We performed a randomized, controlled, parallel-group, single-centre study in which 1,994 patients from the Wehrawald Hospital were screened and 235 met the criteria male gender, hypercholesterolemia, and overweight. All patients in the Hospital took part in a 4-week standardized inpatient lifestyle health program consisting of dietary intervention, increased physical activity, and health education. Caloric restriction, fat modification, and avena sativa bran supplementation were part of the nutritional regimen within the lifestyle health program. Ninety-nine patients were randomized to a fat-modified diet with caloric restriction and a daily intake of 35-50 grams avena sativa bran and 136 patients to a fat-modified, oat bran-free diet with caloric restriction. The most significant decreases in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B were found with the combination of the fat-modified and avena sativa enriched food. Added to a fat-modified diet, oat bran within a practical range of intake significantly reduces total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B.
Celiac patients and avena sativa
Adult celiac patients do tolerate large amounts of oats.
Eur J Clinical Nutrition. 2003.
The aim of the present study was to investigate whether adult patients with celiac disease in remission could include large amounts of oats in their daily gluten-free diet for an extended period of time without adverse effects. Twenty adult celiac patients in remission included large amounts of uncontaminated rolled avena sativa in their daily diet for a prolonged period. No adverse effects of a large intake were seen in small bowel histology, serology nor in nutritional status in the 15 subjects who completed the whole study period. The median intake of oats was 93 g/day and the compliance to the avena sativa diet was found to be good. Examinations of the patients after drop-out did not show any deterioration in small bowel histology or nutritional status nor raised levels of antibodies. Results from this study indicate that adult patients with celiac disease in remission can include large amounts of controlled wheat-free rolled oats for an extended period of time without adverse effects.
Safety and adverse events, risk
Are you aware of any avena sativa side effects or any concerns with safety, toxicity, or risks?
As of 2012, I am not aware of any significant avena sativa side effects or toxicity. Very high doses could increase heart rate and cause insomnia.