12 Libido Boosting Foods and Supplements
The prevalence of low libido (impaired sexual interest/ desires) is highly variable in the general population. Based on latest data reported in the peer reviewed journal Andrology (1), investigators suggested that the overall risk of experiencing at least one episode of transient impairment of sexual desires/ libido is 28 to 68% in adult males. In most cases, no medical/ psychological intervention is needed for the restoration of normal desires; however, healthcare providers believe that intake of libido boosting foods and certain supplements can effectively help in managing bedroom troubles, inadequate erection and poor sexual performances in both males and females.
Advice on Sex Supplement
Although supplements are generally safe to take and may help in optimizing sexual libido in males and dryness of the vagina in females; but it is highly recommended to consult a physician prior to initiating a hormonal supplements to minimize the risk of possible side-effects. The subsequent text contains answers to the questions related to efficacy, outcomes, scientific work, adverse effects, cost-effectiveness and alternatives of these supplements.
Based on the clinical efficacy and potential benefits, Siberian Ginseng is considered superior to other varieties of Ginseng. In many parts of the world, Siberian Ginseng is used as an aphrodisiac. Like Viagra, Ginseng exerts its action by increasing the production of nitric oxide and many clinical studies have shown its effectiveness in the long term management of erectile dysfunction (2).
It is imperative to understand that Ginseng is not as potent as Viagra, Levitra or Cialis (especially in the short term) but it can be used to address mild cases of ED and low sexual desires. In females, ginseng helps in libido by improving mood and boosting energy levels.
It has been in use for centuries as herbal remedy for the long term management of musculoskeletal pain and gynaecological problems. Based on the latest research reported in the Colombian Journal of Anesthesiology (3) black cohosh can adequately manage pre and post-menopausal symptoms like dry vagina, hot flushes and night sweats. Additionally, black cohosh has estrogen like characteristics that helps in promoting optimal circulation to the genital region. Increased circulation also helps in increasing the sensitivity and lubrication which further improves the quality of sexual encounters in females.
Avoid black cohosh if you are pregnant or breast-feeding (3) to minimize the risk of any complication in the baby.
Mediterranean in origin, this herb is approved to be used as treatment for pre and post-menopausal symptoms in Germany. It increases the production of progesterone and dopamine. It also decreases the Prolactin secretion which is known to alter the libido in males and females.
It helps in improving immune functions of the body, besides serving as a stimulator for the synthesis of protein and muscle mass deposition. It also promotes nitric oxide production and improves blood circulation in the genital region (especially penile tissue). According to a new study, combined formulation of L-Arginine, glutamate and yohimbine can significantly improve the sexual functions in males who are experiencing moderate degree of erectile difficulty. Similarly in another study, low dose arginine has been shown to improve sexual functions and overall libido in affected males.
It is generally safe but it may interact with other drugs like anti-hypertensive drugs. Males taking Viagra or nitrates for chest pain should refrain from taking L-arginine because it can cause severe drop in blood pressure.
Gingko has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, fatigue, asthma etc. Studies show that it also enhances nitric oxide production, making it a useful supplement in the maintenance of libido. A lot of study is not available to prove its efficacy as an aphrodisiac or sexual stimulant when used alone; however, males experiencing varying degrees of hypogonadism may experience significant improvement in cognition and intellectual functioning with gingko supplementation.
Found in Africa, Yohimbine supplements are extracted from the bark of yohimbe tree. It is commonly used as an aphrodisiac and has been shown effective in the treatment of ED. Since it acts on brain, it has a tendency to increase erections and libido.
Some studies have shown that in some genetically susceptible individuals, Yohimbine may lead to drug induced ED but limited data is available to derive a reliable association. Few products may contain sub-standard, low quantity Yohimbine that may not produce desired effects. The ideal product should contain extract from yohimbe tree with active ingredient yohimbine or yohimbine hydrochloride. In some individuals, yohimbine can cause high blood pressure, anxiety, gastrointestinal ailments or psychiatric disorders.
Traditionally used as an aphrodisiac, Maca is a Peruvian origin vegetable. Its efficacy is questionable due non-availability of sufficient data but since it is a vegetable, the risk of adverse effects are minimal.
Pycnogenol is extracted from the bark of French maritime pine and is believed to protect vessels and promotes nitric oxide production. Some randomized controlled trials have shown that pycnogenol can increase nitric oxide production when combined with L arginine.
Females looking for an aphrodisiac herb should try ArginMax which is a combination of Panax ginseng, gingko biloba, L-arginine, minerals, damiana and multivitamins.
Its efficacy is supported by two large clinical studies that found enhanced sexuality in menopausal females or females with decreased libido.
Zestra for Women:
It is thought to increase sexual sensations when applied directly on the genitalia. It constitutes evening primrose oil, borage seed oil, coleus extract, angelica extract, vitamin C & E. In a preliminary study, Zestra showed improved sexuality in normal as well as affected females. No side effects or complications have been reported with long term use of Zestra in females. Direct rubbing of the oil on the clitoris improves the blood flow that is responsible for the improved sensitivity and quality of sexual stimulation.
A study conducted by Zestra Laboratories Inc., showed improvement in zestra group in terms of better arousal but showed genital burning as a possible side effect.
Vitamin E oil increases lubrication and is very effective.
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a natural hormone which can transform into masculine or feminine sex hormones and is used as an anti-aging formula. It also provides vigor, strength and muscle bulk and decreases the fat content.
How to keep Libido Healthy?
Exacerbating factors should be identified and prevented and stimulate your brain. All sexual signals arise from brain.
Suggestions to boost libido:
- Try different places, positions and postures while engaging in sexual intercourse to make it a fun exercise
- Exchange hot and intimate messages with each other
- Spend time, enjoy, laugh, explore and shop together. It will increase the urge.
- Incorporate exercise to your daily regimen as it improves the blood flow to all the organs and organ systems of your body.
- Low fat diet and weight loss also helps in restoring sexuality and promoting confidence (or image of self)..
- Explore your erotic self
- Salonia, A., Clementi, M. C., Ventimiglia, E., Colicchia, M., Capogrosso, P., Castiglione, F., … & Montorsi, F. (2014). Prevalence and predictors of concomitant low sexual desire/interest and new‐onset erectile dysfunction–a picture from the everyday clinical practice. Andrology, 2(5), 702-708.
- Nair, R., Sellaturay, S., & Sriprasad, S. (2012). The history of ginseng in the management of erectile dysfunction in ancient China (3500-2600 BCE). Indian journal of urology: IJU: journal of the Urological Society of India, 28(1), 15.
- Ruiz, S. F., & Maldonado, P. G. (2014). Dietary supplements and the anesthesiologist: Research results and state of the art. Colombian Journal of Anesthesiology, 42(2), 90-99.
- Waterink, W. (2012). Gender differences in sex drive, exposed in masturbation not in partnered sex. International Journal of Psychology, 47, 395.