Men needed for nutritional supplements study at NC Research Campus

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Appalachian State University Human Performance Laboratory at the N.C. Research Campus is looking for 130 men ages 40 to 70 who are interested in participating in a six-week research study on two nutritionally based supplements taken to counter age-related changes in muscle size, strength, serum testosterone levels and sexual function.

The study is set to start Feb. 5. Men who qualify will be asked to visit the Human Performance Laboratory on the Kannapolis campus for an orientation and baseline study.

They will return to the lab for 30 to 45 minutes at the third and sixth week of the study. Each participant will randomly assigned to one of three groups taking supplements or a placebo and will receive a three-week supply of the study product to take daily. Men who complete the study will receive $300.

There are specific criteria that study participants must meet. Anyone who wants more details should email the ASU Laboratory at for information including enrollment criteria and consent forms.

The supplements contain vitamins, minerals and plant extracts such as pomegranate, green tea, grape seed and herbs. The primary active ingredients in both supplements are magnesium and Rhaponticum carthamoides.

Supplemental magnesium has been linked to improved muscular strength and is also essential for the body’s production of nitric oxide, which supports sexual function. Low serum magnesium has been linked to erectile dysfunction.

Rhaponticum carthamoides, commonly known as maral root or Russian leuzea, is a perennial herb that grows in South Siberia. Folklore in support of Rhaponticum carthamoides is based on observations by Russian hunters of deer feeding on the roots of this plant appearing to become energized and stronger.

The strength-building qualities of Rhaponticum carthamoides have been thoroughly investigated in Russia, and various preparations have been widely used by elite Russian athletes.

Extracts from the roots of Rhaponticum carthamoides are included in dietary supplements and nutraceutical preparations to promote muscle size and strength, improve sexual function, and counter physical weakness and mental fatigue. Rhaponticum carthamoides has been used by Russians for centuries to enhance muscular and sexual function, but more evidence from properly designed human trials is needed to determine both efficacy and safety.

One supplement also contains a leaf extract from rhododendron caucasium (Georgian snow rose) that has long been used for a variety of health effects including loss of body fat. The supplement also contains ashwagandha (Withania somnifera, Indian ginseng) that is purported to make people feel more relaxed. More human studies are needed to test these claims.