Sex should be a pleasurable and stress-free part of any loving relationship, but when problems occur in the bedroom, it can become distressing for both partners.
Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer shares her five top supplements to boost your libido.
The omega-3 fatty acids are called ‘essential’ fats because the body cannot make them; they need to be eaten in the diet every day. Omega-3 fats are primarily found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, as well as flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts. You can also take a daily supplement if you don’t like fish.
In terms of libido, these essential fats have many uses in the body. Most importantly, they create hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins, which are essential for healthy hormone production, especially the sex hormones needed for desire. It’s always best to take these as a supplement to ensure you’re getting sufficient omega 3s.
Traditionally, rhodiola is used for stress and fatigue but it has also been found to help low libido, particularly in men. As with many herbs, its exact mode of action is not fully understood but the active compound, rosavin, appears to work on the brain’s neurotransmitters, helping to support the stress response and regulate mood (and stress can reduce libido). Rhodiola is widely available as a licensed Traditional Herbal Remedy in health food stores – look for the ‘THR’ logo on pack.
The amino acid, arginine, naturally found in turkey, pork, pumpkin and soya, can exert powerful changes to nerves and the brain’s neurotransmitters, by encouraging the release of nitric oxide (NO). NO is a strong vasodilator, encouraging blood flow around the body, especially to the sexual organs. This can be particularly beneficial in men with erectile dysfunction. Although arginine is commonly found in a number of foods, ideally it should be taken as a supplement for maximum benefits.
The trace mineral zinc plays a crucial role in fertility and reproductive health. It’s essential to enable men to produce healthy sperm but is also needed for healthy functioning of the male sex organs. Zinc is found in a number of foods, especially red meat and organ meats, but it is not so easy to obtain if you’re vegetarian and it can easily be lost from foods during cooking and processing. Therefore, if you want to ‘ramp-up’ your libido be sure to take either a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement containing zinc or a supplement, which provides at least 10 mg of zinc.
Damiana is native to Central and South America and Mexico and has long been established as a sexual tonic in both men and women. It appears to work in a number of way, primarily enriching oxygen supply via the blood stream to the genital areas. It therefore increases sexual arousal, as well as helping nervousness, anxiety and energy levels, all of which can negatively affect sexual desire.
As with so many herbal tonics, its mode of action is not fully understood and there is much more anecdotal evidence for effectiveness than actual human research studies. However, it is widely sold as a supplement, available in most good health food stores, and is also known as Damiana Aphrodisiaca, so it’s clearly being used successfully by many!