A staggering 30- 50 per cent of us may be suffering from low libido. Nutritionist Rick Hay reveals his best supplements to improve your sex drive
If you have a low libido, you’re not alone – research by the American sexual health assosication shows that between 30-50 percent of people will go through times of low libido at various points in their lives.
It can be caused by a variety of reasons: hormonal changes, low energy, stress, alcohol, drugs to name a few.
Quite aside from the ‘sexual enhancement’ ads clogging up your inbox (or is it just us?), nutritionist Rick Hay reveals the supplements that can help.
‘If you’re lacking interest in sex or desire, Vitamin E is important because it increases testosterone levels, which therefore increases stamina and also helps raise desire. For men, it also enhances sperm count and motility,’ reveals Hay.
Research published in the Archives of Andrology shows that study participants who took 400 mg of vitamin E in conjunction with 225 mcg of selenium showed improvements in sperm motility.
‘Increased testosterone levels also help with blood flow and oxygenation of the body – essential if erectile dysfunction is an issue.’
‘If you want to increase sex drive you’ve got to be in the mood and a key group of supplements I recommend for this are polyphenols found in berries, dark red grapes and red wine and the substances that gives them their dark pigment,’ says Hay.
In fact, women who drank a glass of red daily reported higher levels of sexual desire and vaginal lubrication, compared with those who sipped any kind of alcohol only occasionally or those who didn’t drink at all, according to a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
‘Berries are rich in polyphenols that are going to help improve circulation and blood flow, thanks to their polyphenol content. These berries are high in antioxidants to help with immunity and, combined with the ability to raise serotonin and dopamine (neurotransmitters in the brain essential to good mood) levels, could help enhance mood. Because, let’s face it, bad mood rarely equals good sex.’
B vitamins and Zinc
‘B vitamins will help to nourish the nervous system and boost mood. Zinc can help raise testosterone levels which will also helps raise sexual desire – a study in the Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences found male rats taking zinc took longer to ejaculate compared to a control group.
Aduna Super Cacao powder contains a chemical called phenylethylamine and this promotes a feel good factor like a happiness hormone. It also contains B vitamins and Zinc.’
Reflex Nutrition Zinc Matrix is available to buy on Amazon in the UK.
‘Research has shown that Omega 3 fatty acids can help decrease anxiety and depression which in turn means that if these two are decreased your desire may be be increased,’ explains Hay,
‘Omega 3 fatty acids can also help increase dopamine levels too. This can improve mood but also help to trigger arousal. Omega 3 can also help with the moisturisation of the skin and also help to moisturise mucus membranes which helps to reduce dryness and create lubrication needed during menopause and the years leading up to it.’
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish as well as flaxseeds and in concentrated levels in good quality supplements.
‘If you’re a vegetarian you may want to try BioCare Essential Fatty Acids supplement. It’s a combination of linseed oil and borage oil. Both of these together help to balance hormones and is the veggy alternative to the Bio-Fish Oil.’
‘I’ve used Gingko Biloba, a popular ancient Chinese herbal remedy, for many years successfully with my clients for low sex drive,’ says Hay.
‘It aids blood circulation and it’s crucial to have good blood circulation to the sexual organs to help with sexual function.
‘Ginkgo also reduces platelet aggregations which means that it helps to clear blood vessels and promote vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels essential for for erectile function) this is thanks to components called terpenoids and ginkaloids that it contains’.
A very small study on men also found that taking 50mg ginkgo biloba twice a day could help men who had antidepressant induced low sex drive (SSRI antidepressants can cause low libido as a side effect).
BioCare Ginkgo Biloba is available to buy on Amazon in the UK.
Rick Hay is an Anti Ageing and Fitness Nutritionist with many years clinical experience in nutrition, naturopathy, botanical medicine and iridology. He specializes in obesity treatment and weight management. He writes a regular Natural Health and Fitness Blog for Healthista. Find out more at rickhay.co.uk. Follow Rick @nutritiomalphys