Mind and Body

The 'Holy Grail': Why some guys stack supplements to increase their semen

"I always have to ask these guys where they're getting these supplements."


We are living in the golden age of DIY doctoring. The unfathomable power of the internet allows the paranoid, afflicted, and the hypochondriac alike to self-diagnose, self-medicate, and indulge in a placebo-fueled bliss-out. Sometimes, it means ritualistically eating honey to stave off infection, and sometimes, well, it means swallowing half a dozen supplements to increase the amount of semen you produce.

According to this 2006 study published in Psychology of Men & Masculinity, out of a sample of 25,594 heterosexual men, 55 percent of men were satisfied with their penis size, 45 percent wanted to be larger, and 0.2 percent wanted it to be smaller. However, one does not need a fancy survey to recognize the anguish and sensitivity attached to the attached organ that is the human penis.

On Reddit, you can find myriad groups addressing penis problems — like, for example, r/penisproblems. Of the scores of subreddits giving guys a voice to air their personal grief about their junk, one particular niche group has flourished from r/supplements — the guys who are obsessed with changing the volume, color, consistency, and power of their loads.

Yes, there are dudes out there who want ejaculations that look like what they see in porn and some of them are trying to make it happen by way of a a daily cocktail of herbs and supplements.

Here’s how they’re trying to make it happen.

They call it the “Holy Grail” — a supplement stack (i.e. combination of pills and powders) that supposedly alters varying aspects of one’s semen to produce the ultimate pornstar cum shot. A load so epic that it rivals famed shooters like Lexington Steel. The Holy Grail supposedly changes everything, making one’s semen the perfect color, the perfect consistency, and the perfect amount, while shooting out of the body with the strength of 1,000 Civil War-era cannons.

This is its supplement stack recipe:

  • L-Arginine, 1000mg Strength, Taken 1 time daily = 1000mg
  • Zinc, 50mg Strength, Taken 1 time daily = 50mg
  • Pygeum, 100mg Strength, Taken 2 times daily = 200mg
  • Lecithin, 1200mg Strength, Taken 1 time daily = 1200mg

This complicated cocktail is said to increase prostate health, orgasm intensity, the volume of sperm ejaculated, amount of pre-cum, and overall horniness. The question is: Does it work?

"Subjectively I think I get harder.”

“Subjectively I think I get a harder and better erection and I produce much more semen,” 22-year-old Redditor u/Cholerics informs Inverse. Choleric prefers to take six grams of citrulline (an amino acid) and six grams of arginine (an amino acid used in the biosynthesis of proteins) along with 25 milligrams of zinc.

“Citrulline and Arginine help me to get better erections and Arginine increases my amount of semen,” u/Cholerics explains. “Zinc seems to increase semen quality too.”

“It’s really funny, every couple of years these threads comeback,” Jamin Brahmbhatt, M.D. a urologist at Orlando Health, tells Inverse. Brahmbhatt is referring to one of the many semen-focused threads in which Redditors share their stories of supplement stacking and the ensuing cum-storms that follow.

"Every couple of years these threads come back.”

“I think these have been floating around the internet since ‘06 or ‘07,” Brahmbhatt explains. “Someone gets excited about their stacks, posts about it and people comment. To be 100 percent honest, if you really look back at the clinical evidence, these supplements may or may not help. The testing has never really been done on this ‘holy grail combination.’”

The page itself is fascinating because of the author’s attention to detail, (i.e. “I leak pre-cum like a damn faucet”) and rates each supplement on whether or not they experienced increased orgasm intensity, the ensuing amount of semen, and any ill side effects. Brahmbhatt says, for many of these men, this may all be a case of the blind leading the blind.

“What vulnerable guys don’t realize is that the people that are posting could be posting to elicit comments,” Brahmbatt notes. “There’s no proof that what they’re saying is actually real.”

“There are a few small studies that say L-Arginine or Pygeum in small doses may potentially help your volume of ejaculate or prostate issues,” continues Brahmbhatt, “but those are very small studies that weren’t well done.

“If you look at the clinical guidelines looking at everything, there is no hard science saying that this combination is actually the holy grail for these guys. These guys are wasting money. I always have to ask these guys where they’re getting these supplements.”

"I always have to ask these guys where they’re getting these supplements.”

A big problem is that many of these herbs and supplements are not FDA-approved because they’re classified as food products instead of medicine, thus they can be sold to anyone for anything. In fact, there’s no guarantee — nor does there have to be — that substances you can buy at Whole Foods, like the herbal supplement Lecithin or Maca root powder (another popular ingredient found on these threads) contain enough of an active ingredient to make any discernible difference at all.

The draw of these supplements is undeniably how easy it is to purchase whatever your heart desires: For example, you can buy Lecithin — a fatty acid that, when in a supplement form, is typically derived from soy or sunflower seeds — on Amazon for way less than $20.

Underlying all of this is the influence of porn — although the research world is conflicted over what influence porn really has. While some studies indicate some porn viewing can come with benefits other research indicates that watching porn can cause men specifically to be less satisfied with their own sex lives. And while experts debate over whether one can really be “addicted” to porn, some studies indicate men do feel their compulsion is an addiction: In a 2017 Australian study about 4 percent of the 9,963 men surveyed felt they were addiction porn and that “using pornography had a bad effect on them.”

It would be unfair to say watching porn makes every guy feel the same way. But it does look like, at times, it can affect the expectations a man has for himself — and can lead them to think their “loads” aren’t fit for the bedroom.

"It may be a prop or something."

“What these guys don’t realize is, if you research porn stars and what they do, it’s all a show,” Brahmbatt notes. “What you’re seeing isn’t a typical erection. They may be doing multiple scenes per day — or over a number of days — cut together to make it seem like they’re going for hours, and when you see their load, it may be a prop or something that looks like sperm being shot off-camera.

“Guys have been conditioned to love the ‘Money Shot’ from porn,” Tami Rose, a sex educator, tells Inverse. “Everyone wants to live their best life and Viagra has taught us that a pill can unequivocally improve performance, so it’s natural to be curious about a pill that can fine-tune your cum load.”

"Guys have been conditioned to love the ‘Money Shot’ from porn.”

Tami adds that breathing techniques can go a long in helping men build-up for an intense orgasm. But as far as increasing semen, she advises one to “talk to a damn doctor.”

Unfortunately, many men may not realize that seminal health doesn’t start on the internet, but at home. First and foremost, if you’re worried about your penis or the quality of sperm coming out of it, see a urologist. Brahmbhatt says that the best thing you can do for yourself, and your penis, is diet and exercise.

Lots of water, good fruits and vegetables, and exercise. Another interesting outside factor for men that affects the volume of sperm ejaculated is sexual activity: If you’re having a ton of sex, then you’re going to produce less semen than the guys who are not.  

While Brahmbhatt doesn’t have a definitive answer as to whether or not the holy grail lives up to its namesake, he does say that it would take months before any results would be seen because of the life cycle of sperm. So, for the guys choking down supplement smoothies anxiously awaiting a change, it may take a while — if it happens at all.

Jeremy Glass is a writer, ad man, and coffee enthusiast living in a wonderfully uncool part of Brooklyn. Read more of his writing at www.candyandpizza.com.

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