Yohimbine is an extract from the bark of a tree which is largely known for its sexual health benefits.
This supplement could also have other medicinal advantages, such as treating low blood pressure.
Yohimbine may also be an effective weight-loss substance. There are many organic supplements of different types which include it as one of the primary active ingredients.
This article will cover everything you ever wanted to know about yohimbine, including its health benefits, side effects, risks, biological functioning, and usage, and dosage.
What is Yohimbine?
Yohimbine is a powerful nerve-blocking agent that is derived from the African Pausinystalia Johimbe tree.
It was initially discovered in West Africa centuries ago by the Pygmies and the San, who used it as an aphrodisiac and for treating fever, cough, and leprosy (1).
German missionaries brought this supplement to Europe at the start of the 19th century, and it really took off as an aphrodisiac (1).
It’s still used for the same purpose today, and there’s quite a bit of scientific evidence that indicates it’s an effective treatment for impotence (2).
Yohimbine may also increase sexual stamina and heighten sexual sensation (1).
Along with its added medical and weight-loss benefits, it could be a very valuable supplement for many people.
How Does Yohimbine Work?
Yohimbine is a nerve-blocker which prevents kα2-adrenergic receptors in the body from being active, some of which are related to having an erection (3).
It also improves the flow of circulation all over the body by stimulating the production of nitric oxide (4).
This supplement has an effect on enhancing the amount of key neurotransmitters, mostly norepinephrine.
In addition, it increases the levels of adrenaline which is available at the nerve receptors (5).
Some of the other mechanisms through which yohimbine functions are still relatively unknown by scientists, but research is ongoing (6).
Is Yohimbine Safe?
Yohimbine includes a number of possible side effects. Some are fairly mild, such as headaches, dizziness, irritability, and rash.
Others are potentially serious, including kidney failure, seizure, and even heart attack (7).
People with certain medical conditions should avoid this product. Some of these include high or low blood pressure, heart conditions, PTSD, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and benign prostate hyperplasia (7).
Many of the serious side effects occur when people have taken the supplement in high doses.
When you purchase a supplement with yohimbine, make sure you check the dosage carefully to ensure it falls within a safe range.
There are cases where supplements do not properly cite how much yohimbine they contain (8).
When you purchase a product, make sure you choose one that does give the correct dosage information.
Yohimbine Health Benefits
Yohimbine has a number of different health benefits, which is often the reason for its inclusion in organic supplements. They are as follows:
1. Erectile Dysfunction
In terms of erectile dysfunction, yohimbine works through several mechanisms.
The increased blood flow to the penis increases the strength of erections (4).
In addition, yohimbine blocks alpha-2 adrenergic receptors, which prevent men from having an erection (3).
It also increases the amount of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine in the body, which men need in order to have an erection (5).
What the Science Says
Several studies do indicate that yohimbine is an effective remedy for treating erectile dysfunction. A study published in Nature looked at 18 men after 2 doses of this supplement.
Results indicated that 50% of the men were able to have intercourse in 75% of attempts. Another study in the Journal of Urology gave 82 men who suffered from impotence a 42mg dose for a one-month period of time.
The results indicated that 14% of the men experienced full restoration of erection, 20% had partial restoration and 65% had no change in their condition. There were 1% of users that had a positive placebo effect.
Although this wasn’t a huge percentage of users, investigators considered the 34% to be a very hopeful result for the possible use of this substance in treating erectile dysfunction.
Research also indicates that this supplement can increase sexual vigor and prolong erections in men who do not suffer from erectile issues (5).
Yohimbine stimulates the pelvic nerve ganglia, which contains all of the sympathetic and parasympathetic neurons that regulate the genitals. In addition, it increases the amount of adrenaline at the nerve endings (6).
This can improve sexual stamina and sensation as well as libido (6).
What the Science Says
Much of the research on yohimbine as a treatment for erectile dysfunction has also noted an increase in sexual desire. The supplement has been used for this purpose historically for centuries.
A study published in the International Journal for Impotence Research gave 86 men with erectile dysfunction 30mg of yohimbine a day for 8 weeks.
The results indicated not only an improvement in the quality of erection, but also an increase in libido, enjoyment of sex, and frequency of sexual encounters.
3. Orgasmic Dysfunction
There’s some evidence to indicate that yohimbine can effectively treat men who are unable to achieve orgasm.
The mechanism is similar to that of stimulating libido, where it activates the neurons in the pelvic nerve ganglia related to the genitals (6).
In addition, the increase of adrenaline at the nerve endings can assist in achieving orgasm (6).
What the Science Says
A study published in the Asian Journal of Andrology gave 29 men with orgasmic dysfunction 20 mg of yohimbine. They were then instructed to increase the dosage at home.
The results indicated that 19 of the men were able to achieve orgasm during sex or masturbation, or with additional stimulation such as a vibrator. Of the participants, 3 were cured completely and 2 went on to have children.
4. Weight Loss
Yohimbine may lead to weight loss because it can block alpha-2 adrenergic receptors that are located in the fat cells. In addition, research shows that it can increase lipid metabolism (7).
Increasing lipid metabolism causes the oxidation of fatty acids, and it’s also linked to carbohydrate metabolism (8).
What the Science Says
There is evidence that yohimbine can have a positive effect on weight loss and body composition, although the results are somewhat mixed.
A study in the Journal of Pharmacology found no weight loss effect from the consumption of yohimbine.
A similar study in the International Journal of Obesity conceded that the supplement does not affect fat distribution in men.
However, other research has found positive weight-loss benefits.
A 3-week study in Research in Sports Medicine found that this supplement is an effective fat-loss substance in elite athletes.
Another study in the Israel Journal of Medical Sciences looked at 20 obese women who were on a low-calorie diet.
The administration of yohimbine led to a significant increase in weight-loss compared to simply being on the low calorie diet, in relation to the placebo group.
These results suggest that yohimbine may be an effective fat and weight-loss supplement.
5. High Blood Pressure
Evidence suggests that Yohimbine can raise blood pressure levels, which makes it a possible treatment for high blood pressure.
The mechanism behind this relates to how yohimbine behaves in the body and brain.
Yohimbine initiates the release of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. This increase leads directly to an elevation in blood pressure (9).
What the Science Says
There’s been research to support yohimbine as a possible treatment for high blood pressure.
A study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology gave this supplement to 25 unmedicated hypertensive participants.
The results revealed an increase in blood pressure by an average of 5 mm Hg, as well as an increase in levels of norepinephrine.
Another study conducted by the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt Medical School in Nashville, Tennessee gave yohimbine to normal male volunteers.
They found an increase in mean, systolic, and diastolic blood pressure. Users only reported mild side effects in response to taking the supplement.
Yohimbine Side Effects
There are a number of potential side effects associated with taking yohimbine. Generally the more serious symptoms may occur at high doses. Some of the effects include (7):
- Fluid retention
- Stomach upset
- Sinus infection
- Urinary frequency
- Low blood pressure
- Respiratory depression
Usage and Dosing Considerations
Dosage for yohimbine is extremely important because the side effects increase as the dosage becomes more elevated. There are some potentially serious effects at high levels.
Make sure to only purchase supplements that have the dosage very clearly labeled on the product. There are some supplements on the market which fail to provide this information.
Research has concluded that a safe daily dose of this supplement is 15 to 30 mg (10).
For erectile dysfunction, the recommendation is 5.4 mg, 3 times a day for someone who is of average weight (11).
If you experience symptoms on the dosage you are taking, decrease the amount in consultation with a physician. You should not take this supplement without first getting medical approval.
Risks and Precautions
Yohimbine also has some serious potential side effects, although they tend to occur at high doses. This may include seizures, kidney failure, heart attack, and racing heartbeat (7).
People with heart conditions, high blood pressure, kidney problems, seizure disorders, PTSD, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and benign prostate hyperplasia should not take yohimbine under any circumstances (7).
Anyone else who is considering taking this supplement should do so only under the advice of a physician.
Does Yohimbine Increase Metabolism?
Yohimbine blocks alpha-2 adrenergic receptors, which ultimately leads to an increase in levels of adrenalin.
This speeds up the metabolism, which can lead to rapid fat-burning in the body (10).
This is one of the reasons the supplement is considered an effective weight-loss substance.
Can I Take Both Yohimbine and Viagra?
Yohimbine and Viagra have no known drug interactions, so in theory, you could take them together.
However, this is not something you should ever do without the full approval of a medical doctor (11).
Are Yohimbe and Yohimbine the Same Thing?
No, they are not. Yohimbe is an evergreen tree called Pausinystalia Johimbe, which originates in the west and central Africa.
Yohimbine is an alkaloid that is found in the bark of the Yohimbe tree, and which has potent medicinal properties.
Is It Safe to Take Yohimbine Every Day?
Researchers have determined that 15-30mg is a safe daily dosage of this supplement (10).
However, there’s some evidence that you can develop a tolerance to it after some time, so it’s best to cycle off it periodically (12).
When and how you take yohimbine is not something you should decide on your own.
Be sure to discuss any change in dosage with a medical practitioner first.
How Long Do the Effects of Yohimbine Last?
The effect of this supplement peaks after half an hour, and it has a half-life of 5 hours.
This is the amount of time it takes for half of the drug to be out of your system (6).
The Bottom Line
Clearly, yohimbine is a supplement that has great benefits medically, particularly when it comes to sexual functioning issues like low libido, impotence, and organismic dysfunction.
It’s also very useful as a weight-loss substance, and there’s evidence that it can lower blood pressure.
This supplement does have many potential side effects, some of which can be serious.
This is why it’s very important to make sure that what you take is within the recommended dosage, and that you’ve confirmed the details of your usage with your doctor.
If you do experience side effects, discuss lowering the dosage. Should you decide to take this supplement, we hope it’s helpful for you and has all of the intended benefits.
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