"Pink Viagra" Might Work, But Here's Why You Shouldn't Buy It

There's a new natural supplement, and this one's sure to attract attention: "Lady Prelox," billed as a "pink Viagra" for women, promises increased sexual desire, comfort, and pleasure for women who may be struggling with a low libido or discomfort during sexual activity. Like nature's (other) Viagra, watermelon juice, Lady Prelox is alleged to work primarily via circulation-stimulating ingredients, this time a formula including French pine bark, amino acids, and rose hip extract. Since it's merely a supplement and not a pharmaceutical, Lady Prelox requires no prescription and has few side effects.

Sounds great, right? These two women profiled by the DailyMail sure thought so. Although neither apparently started having sex more frequently on account of Lady Prelox, both report boosted sexual desire, and one reports that it made sex more fun again. Hopefully I don't have to explain to you that two anecdotal reports don't amount to much evidence in Lady Prelox's favor, though. The women knew they were taking an alleged sex supplement, and it's not clear whether an additional small (100-woman) clinical trial was double-blind, while the placebo effect is so strong.

However, maybe a placebo effect is just what many otherwise healthy women need — after all, we've heard a thousand times by now that, for women, sexual performance and pleasure are largely in the mind and not just in the genitals. If that's the case, why risk the side effects of a stronger drug for what amounts to a little confidence boost? Pine bark does seem to improve circulation, if mildly, so that could help a bit too.

But even if you want to try a pine bark extract product, there's no particular reason to go with the hyped-up, overpriced "Lady Prelox" version being billed as a Viagra for women this spring. While it's better than nothing that their clinical trial with over 200 women showed provisional positive results, there was already considerable evidence that pine bark could have sexually-related effects. And many other non-sex-branded pine bark products have been on the supplements market for years – just choose one of those.

Look for the term "pycnogenol" – it's the trademarked name for an active compound extracted from pine bark, and a few other sources (though generic, unstandardized pine bark products are also available). L-arginine, L-citrulline, and rose hips (Lady Prelox's other components) are also readily available as supplements, although your diet likely contains enough amino acids already and the supplements' effects are unproven. As for Lady Prelox, it may very well go the way of the last "Pink Viagra."