Norbert Gleicher, MD, is a renowned fertility specialist at the Center for Human Reproduction in New York City, and he and his colleague were the first to discover that DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), a naturally-occurring hormone that the female body converts to testosterone, aids in fertility. This is because testosterone is essential in the female body for the production and development of eggs. And for women who are undergoing fertility treatment (IVF), DHEA can help to reverse the signs of diminished ovarian reserve (DOR), which occurs either as a consequence of premature ovarian aging (POA) or general physical aging. What Gleicher and his team would discover as a result of administering their patients the oral hormone supplement, however, would prove to be a breakthrough in the market.
"In using DHEA in middle-aged women, we learned that some did not want to stop DHEA once they conceived because of improved sex drive and better sexual satisfaction in general," Gleicher explains. In fact, they were so astounded by the claims that they decided to conduct a separate study to test the effects of DHEA on 50 infertile women under the age of 45. (According to Yu Kizawa, VP of marketing and communications for the Center for Human Reproduction, there have been prior studies showing that DHEA helps post-menopausal women, but it wasn’t known to help premenopausal women until CHR’s study.)
Participants were administered 25 mg of DHEA orally three times daily and measured for sexual function (via the female sexual function index) and hormonal changes before and after the trial. Remarkably, participants reported that they saw a 40% increase in sexual desire, a 46% increase in arousal, 33% increase in lubrication, and a 54% increase in orgasm satisfaction. Thus, Vivo was born.
The first—and currently, the only—nutritional supplement shown in a clinical study to improve all aspects of women’s sexual health, Vivo is an accessible, safe solution for a stark white space. Sure, there are players in the female libido arena: Addyi, a prescription for premenopausal women with HSDD (hypoactive sexual desire disorder) is available through your physician and via Hers, an online subscription company geared toward female reproductive health for $25 a month, but it comes with a black box warning, or the FDA's strictest warning placed on the labeling of prescription drugs or drug products when a serious hazard—even death—is associated. There are also FDA-pending prescriptions such as Vyleesi, which is administered by injection, and Libicore, an intranasal spray, as well as OTC hormone-balancing powders like Welleco Super Boosters and Moon Juice Sex Dust, but none of them have the clinical trials like Vivo does, or (in the case of the prescriptions) the ease of accessibility like Vivo does.
In a world where Viagra is so flippantly advertised, it's high time women have easy access to sexual performance solutions. Interestingly, close to half of all premenopausal women struggle with sexual intimacy, which is not unlike men, who face similar stats—10% are affected per decade of life, or 40% of men in their 40s, 50% of men in their 50s, and so forth. Vivo casts a wide net, too: Although Vivo hasn't been studied extensively in postmenopausal women, there is certainly anecdotal information that demonstrates it may be effective for more than just premenopausal woman.
And as for safety, the brand tells me that there are little to no side effects, the only being those commonly associated with an increase in testosterone levels like acne and oily skin, but these are temporary and disappear once you stop supplementation. Where lack of libido in females was once shamed and tabooed, we should be able to purchase supplements for decreased sex drive as simply as we purchase melatonin for poor sleep, sans any judgment or barriers.
Ed. note: Before taking Vivo, speak with your physician.