lifestyle

Medically Reviewed

Supplements for Sex Drive: Everything a Male (Or Someone Who Loves One) Needs to Know

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It’s perfectly normal for cisgender males to experience changes in their libido – especially as they age. But there’s plenty that can be done about it.

As cisgender males age, it’s not unusual for them to experience a decline in libido. And while it’s not something most talk about, it is something they think about. A lot. Fortunately, people are opening up about it more now than ever, and as a result, there’s plenty of information out there as to what you can do to increase the activity in your bedroom.

What causes a low sex drive or libido?

It’s important to note low that libido is typically just a momentary loss of interest in sex. Libido is partly physical: overall health, genes, testosterone level, weight, fitness, and age are all potential contributing factors to a slump. But there’s also an emotional component: stress, relationship difficulties, alcohol consumption, and smoking could also cause a drop in libido. And while most cisgender males experience occasional loss of interest in sex, it’s the length of time and impact of the loss of interest that usually drives one’s desire to get some help.

Can vitamins and supplements actually help?

There are plenty of vitamins and herbal supplements that promise increased libido and the sex life of your dreams. But there are also companies preying on vulnerable people who are feeling stigmatized and shamed. There have been successful results with supplementation, but research is still ongoing. If you choose to go this route, it is best to consult your physician first and only buy from reputable companies.

Best vitamins for male sex drive

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help combat oxidative stress. Stress is often an issue contributing to sex drive, so supplementing with vitamin C can be helpful. It can be found in oranges, lemons, grapefruit, strawberries, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, bell peppers, and white potatoes. It is also readily available in supplement form such as Careof’s Vitamin C The Citrus Savior. Vitamin C is water-soluble so any that your body doesn’t use is excreted in urine.

Vitamin D

Low vitamin D levels have been associated with low testosterone levels. This study concluded that vitamin D supplementation can improve sexual hormonesin middle-aged vitamin D deficient men. Vitamin D can come from exposure to the sun, though not everyone can rely on getting enough sunlight. Foods like salmon, mackerel, tuna, egg yolks, fortified cereals and milks are good sources of vitamin D. It is also available in supplement form like Careof’s Vitamin D, The Sunny D3.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help combat oxidative stress as well as promote overall immune function. Vitamin E has also been shown to work synergistically with vitamin C in managing testosterone and cortisol (stress hormone) levels. If stress is a contributing factor to low libido, vitamin E can be helpful. The best food sources include almonds, peanuts, sunflower oil, beets, beet greens, red bell peppers, asparagus, and avocados. It is also available in supplement form.

Selenium

Selenium is a mineral that has strong antioxidant properties and is also important for thyroid health. This study found that thyroid issues can be related to libido issues, and that treating the thyroid issues can have an impact on sexual dysfunction as well. Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds, beef, tuna, red snapper, cod, and whole grains are all excellent sources of selenium. Most people get adequate selenium from food, but it is available in supplement form as well.

DHEA

DHEA is a hormone that is made in the adrenals glands, brain, and testes of cisgender males. It is critical to a young cis male’s sexual development, but as cis males age the DHEA level decreases, and by age 70 or so, the body has about 10%-20% of what it once did. It has been touted as the “fountain of youth hormone” and is credited with enhanced sexual energy, improved sexual function, lower body fat, and increased muscle mass. This study demonstrates that acute oral DHEA supplementation can elevate free testosterone levels in middle-aged men, and prevent it from declining during HIIT. More comprehensive study on the safety and efficacy of DHEA supplementation is required. If you plan on trying it, you should speak with your physician before you do.

Zinc

Oysters have long been referred to as an aphrodisiac. And they have the highest quantity of zinc of all food sources. Coincidence? Probably not. Zinc is essential for the production of testosterone, which increases sex drive. Also, sperm counts drop without adequate zinc and frequent ejaculations result in lower zinc levels. In addition to oysters, zinc can be found in crab, beef, pork, lobster, and cashews. It is also available in supplement and lozenge form.

Red Ginseng

Red Ginseng is an adaptogen that promotes testosterone levels and is even shown to promote libido.

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba is an herb that has been used successfully in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for low libido. It is said to increase blood flow, which is a major contributing factor to sexual arousal and health. It can also act as a blood thinner so it must be used with caution, if at all, with other medications. More studies are required.

L-Citrulline

L-Citrulline plays a key role in nitric oxide production, which helps your arteries relax and improves blood flow throughout your body. It has been suggested as being helpful to lowering blood pressure levels (already within normal), as well as with low libido. In this study, L-citrulline, in combination with resveratrol fenugreek and caffeine, has been demonstrated to boost libido.

Saffron

Saffron is a Southeast Asian spice that has been credited with improved libido and sexual function in cis males. Crocetin, a derivative of saffron, is believed to enhance nitric oxide synthase activity in vascular endothelium and promote the production of nitric oxide, which plays a key role in blood flow. The results of studies are inconsistent, more research is indicated.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is an herb that is used in Ayurvedic medicine as an anti-inflammatory and a libido booster. The body can use components of it to make the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. In one small study, men who took 600 mg of fenugreek extract daily for 6 weeks experienced stronger sex drive. It can be known to interact negatively with blood thinning medication. Consult your physician before using it.

Tribulus

Tribulus terrestris is a flowering plant native to warm, temperate, and tropical regions. When administered to humans and animals it improves libido and spermatogenesis. Studies indicate it works by modulating hormones.

Maca

Maca is a sweet root vegetable known in South America as “the Peruvian Viagra.” Improved sexual desire was observed in men aged 21-56 years who received maca in one of two doses: 1,500 mg or 3,000 mg or placebo in this study. More studies are needed to determine long-time effects.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that is critical to more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate biochemical reactions in the body. It is required for protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, energy production, and strong bones. It has been shown to promote testosterone levels in sedentary and athletic cisgender males. Better improvements were seen in those who exercised. It can be found in nuts, grains, beans, and cereals; and is also available in supplement capsules and powder.

L-arginine

L-arginine is an amino acid that is found naturally in the body, as well as in dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, and nuts. It’s very popular with bodybuilders because it plays an important role in the synthesis of proteins, which helps build muscle and repair damaged muscle tissue. It also gets transformed into nitric oxide in the blood and is said to have an impact on improving sexual function and frequency of desire by helping to dilate blood vessels.

Other natural remedies

There’s a lot of talk about aphrodisiacs like dark chocolate, oysters, and maybe even some strawberries dipped in chocolate putting you in the mood. And while many will confirm their benefits, there’s a lot of other things you can do to boost your libido that don’t involve eating and romance.

Data has shown that cisgender males who lose weight may improve sexual function. Smoking cessation, limited alcohol intake, and a healthy diet also offer a boost to the libido. Sleep and stress reduction techniques, like yoga and meditation, have also proven to be beneficial. Communication with your partner is also critical to a healthy sex life.

When to seek a medical professional

It may be a difficult topic to broach with your healthcare provider, but if your lack of interest in sex is more than just a passing phase due to external circumstances, it’s a good idea to explore the possibility of underlying health issues. Once they have been cleared, you can work together on finding better options and strategies.

Final takeaways

If you’re experiencing a lower than usual libido, it is important to know that you are not the only one. Plenty of cisgender males experience slumps in their otherwise healthy sex life. It is a normal progression of aging for one, and also the byproduct of a busy life. Do not hesitate to seek out advice and guidance from your healthcare practitioner. There are many strategies, both with or without supplementation, that can help you find the libido you desire for a healthy, satisfying sex life. Remember, it’s a personal choice. You don’t have to have the libido of your friends, family members, or co-workers to have a fulfilling sex life. But you always want to be sure you’re healthy and making the best possible choices.

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