Since 2015, we’ve been following Spilanthes acmella, an Ayurvedic herb that has been traditionally used to increase virility. It was introduced to the sports nutrition industry in natural testosterone boosters, achieving “cult following” status for the incredible way it made both men and women feel.
While we love tradition, we do want to see randomized controlled trials on humans before we feel comfortable recommending any dietary supplement ingredient.
Back in 2015, the Spilanthes evidence was basically limited to animal studies—incredibly promising studies, but animal studies nonetheless. Now, with human data published in multiple trials, that’s no longer the case.
SA3X™ Spilanthes acmella – Exciting Developments Since 2015
In the world of nutrition and dietary supplements, 2015 was a long time ago. In the years since, fate — and science — has been kind to SA3X™, the trademarked form of Spilanthes acmella. There are some very exciting key developments surrounding this ingredient, and not just in terms of science but also distribution and testing:
Four New Human Studies
In 2021 and 2022, four studies in humans set out to evaluate whether Spilanthes can live up to its promise as a testosterone-boosting supplement for adult men.[1-3]
Fortunately for natural testosterone optimizers everywhere, all of these studies did show a significant boost in T using Spilanthes. And the best part is that each one used SA3X, the industry’s standardized Spilanthes preparation of choice.
We love seeing ingredient-specific studies, because any time you buy a supplement, you’re buying a specific formulation – and the efficacy of that product depends on what’s inside. We’ve long seen that no two extracts are exactly the same — plain “spilanthes acmella” isn’t the same as standardized SA3X Spilanthes acmella, which is the extract with the most research behind it. This eliminates one more question mark for both consumers and brands alike.
To make sure SA3X remains the same from batch-to-batch, we now have one of the industry’s premiere distributors on the job:
Distribution By NutraShure!
NutraShure is one of the most reputable outfits in the business, and only touches ingredients with serious potential, such as 3DPump Breakthrough.
So, for you supplement industry watchers out there, you can take NutraShure’s involvement as a major signal that SA3X™ is poised for explosive growth.
In this article, we dig into the new human studies, but first, get signed upf or PricePlow’s NutraShure news:
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Study #1: SA3X’s Effect On Sexual Frequency And Muscle Mass
We should note up front, as do the authors themselves, that this study had one very important limitation: it was not a randomized controlled trial (RCT), but rather, a longitudinal study. This means that rather than using a placebo control and double-blinding, the study simply made repeated measurements of a single variable over time (in this case, the serum testosterone levels of the participants).
This type of study is not the gold standard of experimental design, but it can still give us useful indications about a supplement’s potential. It’s not uncommon for preliminary studies to be longitudinal, the idea being that any interesting findings can be further explored in followup RCTs.
218 males, 500mg/day SA3X for 8 weeks
In this study, 218 male participants took 500 milligrams SA3X for two months. At two separate points during the study period — at three weeks and then at two months — the authors assessed multiple dimensions of participants’ sexual health and body composition, including frequency of sexual intercourse, erection duration, and exercise habits. They also measured muscle circumference.
The results organized in this table are pretty simple and self-explanatory – after 3 weeks and 2 months of SA3X supplementation, the men added overall body mass, gained muscle, and ate more. Most notably, duration of penile erection increased by over 20%, and frequency of sexual intercourse increased from 3.21 times per week to 6.23 times per week!
This is a cool study, but is, again, longitudinal, meaning there are a few uncontrolled variables to note. For one thing, the participant cohort actively exercised during the 2 month study period, so the improvements in muscle mass and appetite — and maybe even sexual frequency — could be explained, in large part, by their increasing strength and cardiovascular fitness.
We expect PricePlow readers and followers to consistently train. If you’re in the market to get big without training, then you’re looking for drugs, not dietary supplement support.
Still, it’s hard to believe that exercise alone could nearly double sexual frequency – it seems extremely likely that SA3X played a major role here, but again, we need an RCT to follow up on this.
Study #2: Randomized Controlled Trial – SA3X for Sexual Vitality
It’s often the case that when men shop for a testosterone-boosting supplement, there are specific problems that need to be resolved. And, let’s face it, in any honest ranking of the most common problems, sexual drive and sexual performance are at or near the top.
This study set out to assess whether SA3X could improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Notably, it was a randomized, placebo-controlled, triple-blind study – as opposed to the double blinding we usually see in RCTs. In a double-blind study, the subjects’ assignment to experimental groups is hidden from both the researchers and the participants; a triple-blind study goes a step farther and hides the condition from the data analysts, too.
So this study was extra blinded — it’s not essential for quality outcome data, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
445 men with ED, aged 18-45, 500mg/day
In this study, 445 erectile dysfunction patients aged 18 to 45 were randomized to receive either 500 milligrams SA3X or a placebo daily for one month. At baseline, the conclusion of treatment, and one month after the conclusion of treatment, the participants completed the Men’s Sexual Health Questionnaire (MSHQ), a survey that’s designed to quantify sexual function and satisfaction.
The SA3X group’s average MSHQ score went from 20.11 to 37.35 – an 85% increase! As you can see, their scores on some of the MSHQ subtests persisted — or even increased — for a full month after they stopped taking SA3X.
And, as if that weren’t impressive enough, the participants also saw improvements to their scores on the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF). The IIEF basically resembles the MSHQ, but is distinguished by the fact that it asks respondents to report the duration, in minutes, of their erections.
Study #3: Longitudinal Study – SA3X’s Effect On Testosterone Over 3 Months
The third study is another longitudinal study – again, not as good as an RCT, but this study is particularly interesting because it looked at the effect of SA3X supplementation on sexual function and muscle mass.
326 men, ages 25-60, 500mg/day SA3X
In this study, 326 sexually active men between 25 and 60 years of age were given 500 milligrams of SA3X per day for three months. Researchers drew blood monthly throughout the treatment period, and measured the subjects’ testosterone levels. Three months later – that is, six months after the beginning of the study, and three months after the conclusion of SA3X supplementation – the subjects had one more blood test done to assess whether SA3X had caused any persistent changes in serum testosterone.
The researchers observed an additive effect – the longer the men took SA3X, the higher their testosterone levels climbed! By the third month, they had 22.43 ng/dL more testosterone than at the beginning of the study period.
Interactions with metabolic states and ED drugs
One compelling thing about this study is that it observed some interesting interactions between SA3X and other treatments and conditions. For example, men with diabetes experienced a boost in testosterone, but it was smaller than that of their non-diabetic counterparts.
Perhaps most interestingly, participants who were taking phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors got a bigger boost in T. Since PDE-5 inhibitors are a common treatment for ED, SA3X may potentially be of extra value to ED patients. So, formulators can start conceptualizing useful supplement stacks to pair this with.
Again, since this wasn’t a randomized controlled trial, in the end there weren’t enough variables to make a definitive statement about causality. But the data is promising for natural testosterone boosters.
Study #4: Serum Testosterone Levels in Males with ED
Published in late 2022, a fourth human trial using SA3X was published to determine how well it improved serum testosterone levels in men with erectile dysfunction.
Design and participants
Human Study #5 – New Randomized-Controlled Trial Coming?
We want to let our readers know that a fifth human study is in the works. Although we can’t get into specifics, we can tell you that it’s an RCT, which is exactly what we’re looking for in the SA3X/Spilanthes literature.
So stay tuned for that!
This one’s exciting because it’s a randomized, double-blinded, and placebo-controlled intervention, and was tested over the course of three months, with an additional follow-up three months after discontinuation.
It was studied on 215 participants, aged 35-70, with total testosterone under 300 ng/dL and having a sexual partner. They were randomized into either SA3X or placebo groups, and both they and the researchers were blinded from those assignments.
SA3X capsules containing 500 milligrams of Spilanthes acmella extract, standardized to 3.5% spilanthol (yielding 17.5 milligrams spilanthol) were given to the SA3X group, while the placebo group interestingly received a multivitamin.
Testosterone was measured at baseline and at the end of months 1, 2, 3, and 6 (three months after the end of usage).
In this study, the SA3X group had an average testosterone increase of 21.85 ng/dL, compared with 1.89 ng/dL in the placebo group. The difference became statistically significant at month 2, continuing through month 3.
However, the SA3X still had significantly greater testosterone at month 6 — 3 months after they stopped using it!
There were similar results between users who had under 250ng/dL and over 250 ng/dL testosterone.
These results are exciting for those who have lower testosterone levels and are looking to level up. It’s important to note, however, that SA3X worked best in those under 30 BMI and without diabetes. As always, metabolic health is a primary key to fertility and hormonal status.
If you’re looking for information from the earlier animal research, see our 2016 article Spilanthes Acmella: Testosterone-Boosting Flower of Power, which we’ll update with some of this new human data.
While human data is more powerful, we can learn about mechanisms of action and potential use cases from animal models.
Industry Acceptance – Serious Nutrition Solutions (SNS)
Before partnering with NutraShure, SA3X drew the attention of Serious Nutrition Solutions (SNS), which is one of the most sophisticated supplement formulation companies in the industry.
You can find SA3X™ Spilanthes acmella extract in the following SNS products:
- Spilanthes XT – a standalone Spilanthes supplement for boosting testosterone, libido, and sexual performance
- Optimize-T – a multi-ingredient formula aimed at improving all of the above, plus additional characteristics like body composition and athletic performance
- Anabolic XT – a multi-ingredient formula designed to maximize muscle growth
SNS may fly under the radar, but the company has been in front of nearly every dietary supplement trend we’ve seen. For instance, SNS had a choline-heavy nootropic called “Focus XT” before nootropics or even dietary choline were considered a thing!
So when SNS gets involved with a branded ingredient, we take note. And they’ve been on the SA3X train longer than anyone.
Conclusion: SA3X Returns with the Force of NutraShure
Between its partnership with NutraShure, its role in multiple Serious Nutrition Solutions products, and three new human studies backing its use, it seems like SA3X is poised to take the industry by storm.
It’s especially intriguing that SA3X’s effects appear to persist even weeks or months after subjects stopped taking it – this is not something typically seen with testosterone-boosting supplements, and it suggests some kind of positive feedback on testicular function.
We’ve been saying for a while that there needs to be a new natural testosterone-boosting ingredient. In 2020, we saw ingredients that focused on cortisol reduction, but this seems more up our alley — a boost in testosterone, libido, and muscle function.
With SA3X™ in the mix, we expect it’s going to be a fun decade. The only question is how brands will use it and formulate it.
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