You're not alone if you have a low sex drive, can't get it off, or have fertility issues. In fact, you're not alone! According to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre research, 40 to 70% of men will experience some form of sexual dysfunction during their lifetime.
Dealing with low sex drive or libido can have a negative impact on one's life and relationships. Misaligned sex drives can cause personal and relationship problems, such as negative feelings from your partner and low self-esteem.
While certain health issues, such as erectile dysfunction, can reduce your sexual drive, a simple vitamin deficiency can also be the culprit. Vitamins not only help with many immune system functions, but they also help with sexual health and libido. Taking these vitamins and minerals may even help you regain control of your sexual life.
Continue reading to discover the top essential vitamins for sex drive issues.
Vitamins and Minerals That Boost Sex Drive
1. Vitamin E
Vitamin E, also known as ‘sex vitamin,' supplies your nether regions with blood and oxygen while also regulating your sex hormones to increase your libido. Walnuts, egg yolk, sweet potato, spinach, asparagus, chickpeas, chestnuts, broccoli, tomatoes, and wholegrain bread are high in vitamin E.
2. Red Ginseng
Red ginseng is commonly referred to as the “herbal Viagra” for its ability to help with ED. It’s also known as Panax ginseng.
Red ginseng contains ginsenosides, which may aid in the relaxation of smooth muscle in the penis to support an erection. Furthermore, it is thought to improve cardiovascular health, which is commonly associated with ED.
One 2018 study found that red ginseng significantly improved International Index of Erectile Dysfunction (IIEF) scores when compared to a placebo. Erectile function and sexual satisfaction were also significantly enhanced.
Another 2021 study found minor improvements in ED symptoms, but the authors speculated that the effects might not be clinically significant.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C aids in synthesising sex and fertility hormones such as androgen, oestrogen, and progesterone and in stimulating sexual desire. Vitamin C boosts your immune system and keeps your joints smooth and pain-free. Citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, and sweet and chilli peppers are high in vitamin C.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is essential for maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and immune function. Additionally, it plays an important role in male sexual function. According to a study in the International Journal of Impotence Research, low vitamin D corresponded with impaired male sexual function, and the severity of dysfunction correlated with the degree of deficiency. This may be due to the vitamin’s ability to create endothelial cells from oxidative stress as well as its role in producing nitric oxide.
Furthermore, those suffering from mental health disorders such as depression and high-stress levels have a higher rate of sexual dysfunction. Vitamin D has also been shown to be important for overall mental health and lowering your risk of depression, which can lead to decreased sex drive due to a lack of interest in sexual activities.
L-arginine is a naturally occurring amino acid that boosts nitric oxide production, which can aid in erection stimulation.
According to one 2019 study, supplementing with 1,500 to 5,000 mg of L-arginine significantly improved IIEF scores. The authors concluded that L-arginine might be useful in treating mild to moderate ED.
Another 2020 randomised study found that L-arginine (2,500 mg per day) was just as effective as tadalafil (5 mg), a common ED medication, in treating mild and moderate ED. The combination of both therapies produced the greatest results.
Another mineral is magnesium which helps boost your sex hormones like testosterone, and neurotransmitters like dopamine and epinephrine regulate the urge to have sex. Increase the intake of green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and broccoli to escalate your arousal and make your sex more pleasurable.
Erectile dysfunction can be caused due to a lack of selenium in the body. Selenium deficiency has also been linked to decreased motility, low sperm count, and unusual morphology. Men must consume selenium and maintain optimal levels in order to have a stronger sex drive. Broccoli, spinach, white button mushrooms, and chia seeds are all high in selenium.
Zinc is an essential mineral necessary for many body processes, including digestion, metabolic function, cell growth, and testosterone production. In fact, a scientific study found that zinc supplementation increased testosterone levels in men who were zinc deficient. As a result, if you're looking for a natural way to boost testosterone levels, try including zinc in your diet.
Iron is another essential mineral for increasing your sexual drive. It is essential to provide oxygen to your cells. If you are iron deficient, you will experience fatigue, which can lower your libido. This reduces lubrication, sexual arousal, and the ability to orgasm. Iron-rich foods such as beans, leafy greens, tofu, and lentils should be consumed.
Can Vitamins And Minerals Effectively Treat Erectile Dysfunction and Increase Sex drive?
Although there isn’t much evidence to prove that vitamins and minerals will definitely help in treating erectile dysfunction, there have been studies that show deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals may lead to ED.
To treat mild to moderate ED, some research suggests taking vitamin D, red ginseng, L-alanine, L-carnitine, and Tribulus Terrestris supplements. In some cases, they may also improve the efficacy of ED medications such as Viagra.
While promising, research into vitamins and supplements for the treatment of ED is still in its early stages. This implies that additional research is required before they can be recommended as stand-alone treatments.
If you want to try supplements to help with ED, you should first consult with a healthcare professional.
Though some causes of ED and low sexual drive aren’t preventable, such as ageing or neurological conditions, you or a loved one may be able to improve sexual health by making certain lifestyle changes.
In particular, these factors contribute to lower sex drive -
- a sedentary lifestyle
- alcohol misuse
Smoking causes blood vessels all over the body to constrict, reducing their ability to dilate and send blood to the penis to produce an erection.
Furthermore, smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and alcohol abuse are all linked to an increased risk of chronic conditions (such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease) that can lead to low sexual drive and ED.
ED is also linked to stress and poor mental health. So, developing positive coping strategies and working with a trained mental health professional may be beneficial.
If you or a loved one is still experiencing ED and lower sexual drive after making these lifestyle changes, consult with a healthcare professional who specialises in this area. They can go over the various treatment options.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking to boost your sex drive, you’re not alone. A few foods and supplements may even act as aphrodisiacs, including Tribulus Terrestris, Maca, red ginseng, fenugreek, saffron, Ginkgo Biloba, and L-citrulline. Most of these are well tolerated and widely available, making them simple to include in your daily routine. Remember that some of these libido-enhancing foods and supplements may interact with medications. If you take medication, you should consult a medical professional first.
Hye Chang Rhim, February 2019; The Potential Role of Arginine Supplements on Erectile Dysfunction: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30770070/
Yong Wei, Serum vitamin D levels and erectile dysfunction: A systematic review and meta-analysis - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30523636/
Hye Won Lee, April 2019; Ginseng for erectile dysfunction - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8094213/
Faysal A. Yafi, May 2018; Erectile dysfunction - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5027992/
J.R. Kovac, December 2014; Effects of cigarette smoking on erectile dysfunction - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4485976/