History and Background
Yohimbe is an indole alkaloid extracted from the bark of an African evergreen tree that goes by different names, including Yocon, Alpha Yohimbine HCL, quebrachine, johimbe, and Pausinystalia Yohimbe in the Latin phrase. The fast-growing tree is native to West Africa. In the societies where it was extracted, such as Nigeria, Cameroon, and Congo, Yohimbe was widely used to treat heart conditions, leprosy, and fever. Schools of warriors in the traditional West African societies also took Yohimbine-laden tea as a potent drink to prepare for war.
The tree’s bark is normally harvested during the rainy season when the alkaloid levels are at their highest point. Studies show Yohimbine can raise the adrenaline levels and speed the fat burn-out by inhibiting the fat cell regulatory process. Today, Yohimbe is widely accepted as an aphrodisiac and medicinal plant. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), the market is replete with Yohimbe dietary supplements for weight loss, high blood pressure, diabetic neuropathy, athletic performance, impotence, and angina or chest pain.
Yohimbe is popularly sold in the form of extract, tea, powder, capsule, and tablet. It is important to recognize that the Yohimbine extracts sold as a dietary supplement may not have a similar working mechanism as the same compound’s prescription medications. A standardized form of the supplement called Yohimbine hydrochloride is widely sold as a prescription and OTC drug. Yohimbine is the potent compound in Yohimbe. Research shows the potency of Yohimbine may be watered down when consumed with food. For this reason, the compound should be taken in the fasted state to achieve optimal effect.
Yohimbe Health Benefits
Yohimbe’s health benefits go far and wide, from treating Erectile Dysfunction and promoting athletic performance to use as a potent stimulant. To produce the desired health effects, the active ingredient blocks the alpha1 and alpha2 adrenoreceptors in a mechanism that increases dopamine and adrenaline levels while curtailing the multi-functional serotonin chemical release.
The blockage of the receptors produces different effects, including expediting insulin release and decreasing the amount of blood sugar in the body. Studies are ongoing to establish Yohimbe’s full health benefits with a special focus on the level of evidence, the magnitude of the effect, and consistency of the results. Here are 4 health benefits of Yohimbe as indicated by Peace Health Information Library:
1. Enhance athletic performance
Yohimbe has been shown to help athletics boost performance. To enhance performance, the compound effectively stimulates the nervous system, impacts the working of the cardiovascular systems, and speeds the release of fats stored in the fat cells. Athletes can also benefit from the compound’s chemical ability to improve body composition. To achieve discernible results, experts suggest taking a safe dosage of 15 to 30mg daily. It is important to reiterate that research on Yohimbine’s impact on body composition and performance is inconclusive.
2. Treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Erectile Dysfunction is an undesirable condition that can cause the sufferer to feel physically and emotionally withdrawn. Erectile Dysfunction also has a direct impact on the relationship. Several double-blind trials support the suggestion that Yohimbine can certainly treat Erectile Dysfunction with little side effects. Yohimbine’s potent ingredient, Yohimbine, has shown a remarkable ability to raise the blood flow and dilate the blood vessels. Better blood and oxygen circulation and retention in the penis helps achieve a firmer erection and satisfactory orgasm. For effective results, a typical dose of 15 to 30mg should be taken under a medical expert’s close supervision.
The supplement is especially beneficial when treating sexual problems induced by Selective-Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Yohimbine can ramp up blood flow and nerve impulses connected to both the male and female sexual organs. Although research on the dietary supplement’s ability to promote female sexual health benefits is still under study, early results suggest the Yohimbine supplement can improve women’s sexual desire and pleasurable experiences.
3. Promote weight loss
Yohimbe supplements effectiveness in weight loss working due to its ability to raise the metabolic rate, speed up fat burning, and reduce appetite. To promote weight loss, Yohimbe signals the nervous system and triggers the fat cells to release fat. According to a report published by Examine.com, dosages as small as 0.2mg/kg of Yohimbine is deemed sufficient to increase the fat burning capacity without experiencing undesirable side effects such as high and low blood pressure alongside rapid heart rate. Based on weight, the dosages are inculcated as follows:
• Individual weighing 250lb – 14mg
• Individual weighing 200lb – 18mg
• Individual weighing 250lb – 22mg
As a precaution, it is highly recommended to take half a dose of the supplement to gauge the tolerance levels before increasing the dosage. Best results can be achieved by taking the supplements between meals. One study that touts Yohimbe’s effectiveness in weight loss is a three-week carried out using pure Yohimbine. The double-blind study revealed that women taking 5mg of the compound four times daily lost plenty of weight compared to those taking placebo. A similar study carried out for six months showed little improvement in parameters like body weight, cholesterol levels, body fat, and Body Mass Index (BMI).
4. Fight depression
The Yohimbine ingredient has also been tested in several studies and found effective in fighting depression and contiguous symptoms. The active ingredient can curtail monoamine oxidase release, making it a powerful solution for suppressing the effects of depression disorders and related symptoms. Studies show the positive effects of Yohimbine ingredient on depression can only be achieved when doses as high as 50mg or over are used daily. Remember, taking very high doses of the supplement could be unsafe and may pose serious side effects.
The other health benefits
Studies also show Yohimbe is beneficial for dry mouth, treatment of anxiety phobias, and Orthostatic Hypotension. Research is ongoing to establish the benefits of Yohimbe on reducing social anxiety and easing diabetic complications, chest pain, and exhaustion. For diabetes treatment, research suggests Yohimbine can aptly hinder alpha 1 and alpha 2 receptors and arouse the levels of insulin in the body. The effect also helps reduce the sugar levels in the body.
The dietary supplement is especially helpful for people with Type II diabetes. However, additional clinical studies involving many people are needed to effectively verify the preliminary findings approving the supplement’s effectiveness in treating diabetes. It is also important to know that some of the health benefits of Yohimbe, especially the traditional uses, are not supported by scientific research and study. These benefits include local anesthetic, leprosy, and dilating pupils.
Side Effects of Yohimbe
Quick market analysis shows more than 500 Yohimbe products sold as an aphrodisiac and male enhancements across the US. Supplements like Yohimbine and vitamins are readily sold in stores like Walgreens, Rite Aid, Vitamin Shoppe, and CVS Pharmacy. Despite its many health benefits and promise, there are fears the herbal ingredient may be too strong and pose several health risks if used uncontrollably for lengthy periods.
Studies show taking a daily dosage of 40mg of Yohimbine is sufficient to cause serious side effects. What is more alarming is that most market supplements carry variations as high as 25 to 150% compared to the labeled doses. According to a study published by the Harvard Medical School Health Publishing Journal, prescription-strength ingredients found in Yohimbe can cause the following side effects:
Studies show the supplement can reduce the effectiveness of antianxiety agents and possibly increase the risk of serious side effects. The anxiety symptoms may be exacerbated when the supplement is taken alongside opioids, including certain pain relievers and popular prescription drugs like oxycodone and morphine.
2. Loss of muscle function
Taking very high doses of Yohimbe is risky in many ways as it can easily lead to loss of muscle function. Because of the underlying side effects, Yohimbe should not be used by elderly people. The supplement is also not safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
3. Fast-paced heartbeat
The normal heart rate is usually about 60 to 100 beats per minute. Side effects such as a fast-paced heartbeat can be felt when you take Yohimbe doses as little as 40mg daily. Therefore, the supplement should not be taken with blood pressure medications such as tricyclic antidepressants and other heart medications, which may greatly reduce their effectiveness.
4. High blood pressure
Yohimbe is not recommended for people with high blood pressure because the supplement can raise the pressure and cause more serious health problems. A study published on NCBI recommends using Yohimbe for high blood pressure patients with increased basal sympathetic outflow. Patients being treated with tricyclic antidepressants and those who have developed blood pressure should also use Yohimbe supplements sparingly as it may interfere with the metabolism of norepinephrine or the neuronal uptake.
An overdose of Yohimbe could potentially trigger paralysis, seizures, coma, hallucinations, and even death. Precaution should always be taken because most Yohimbe products sold in the market contain high quantities of Yohimbine than indicated. The labelling’s distortions indicate a huge shift from the natural ingredient and potential compromise to health and safety. The problem of inaccurate labeling can be overcome by buying products from a trusted seller.
Yohimbe supplements can interact negatively and mildly with different drugs. According to RXlist, Yohimbe supplements can interact with several drugs, including isocarboxazid, tranylcypromine, phenelzine, and linezolid. The doctor’s consent should also be sought when Yohimbine is used with neurological medications. Mild interactions can be expected when the supplement is taken alongside drugs such as betaxolol, propranolol, esmolol, and celiprolol.
The effects will vary depending on how the dietary supplement is taken. For instance, taking the medications and Yohimbe supplements with food produces a different effect compared to alcohol. Yohimbe supplements should not be taken with food containing high tyramine levels such as liver and red wine. You should also call the doctor immediately when you notice a bad reaction such as skin flushing, high blood sugar, low blood sugar, seizures, loose stools, and vomiting.
Summary and Review
Yohimbe has long been used in traditional African societies to treat and manage various health conditions, including fever, leprosy, and coughs. In later years, Yohimbe has gained acceptance as a potent aphrodisiac and a key ingredient in male enhancement products. The ingredient is believed to be useful for improving sexual health, weight loss, anxiety, boosting athletic performance, and fighting depression disorders, among other health benefits that are still under study.
The benefits that stand out include treating Erectile Dysfunction, boosting female libido, and helping with weight loss. In terms of pharmacological analysis, Yohimbe contains an active plant ingredient called Yohimbine that works by blocking the alpha-2 adrenergic receptors in the sympathetic nervous system. Studies also show Yohimbine can potentially dilate blood vessels and rescind monoamine oxidase (MOA) to produce several desirable health benefits.
For instance, the ability to suppress MOA gives Yohimbine the potent ability to treat depressive disorders. Clinical research on the various benefits of Yohimbine and its active ingredients Yohimbine are ongoing at various research facilities worldwide. It is important to recognize that the FDA does not approve nor regulate the use of supplements. This includes approving the quality of products like Yohimbe supplements that are widely sold and distributed in the US market.
The possible side effects of taking Yohimbe include rapid heart rate, paralysis, anxiety, heart problems, nausea, hallucinations, and skin flushing. People with underlying health conditions and high or low blood pressure should avoid taking the supplement to lower the risks. In case any adverse side effects are felt, the supplement alongside Yohimbine Hydrochloride should be withdrawn immediately. For your safety, consult a doctor before taking Yohimbe and other supplements that contain the ingredient.