Nutrients For Combating Stress
The body’s main stress response comes from the adrenal glands, which rely on a good supply of several nutrients to work efficiently.
An important one is vitamin C (take 1g a day), others are B5 (best taken as part of a high-strength multivitamin/ mineral supplement or B complex) as well as the minerals magnesium and chromium (which is particularly important for helping to balance blood sugar levels, take 200mcg daily).
B5 helps to convert choline into the important neuro-transmitter acetylcholine which plays a role in sex drive and vaginal lubrication. There are several herbs which can also help redress any imbalances in the adrenal glands. Rhodiola contains active ingredients which act as ‘adaptogens’ in the body which means that they improve the way the body deals with stress – mental, physical and environmental. One study of 128 people showed 64 per cent of participants had an improvement or complete disappearance of symptoms such as fatigue, loss of strength, irritability, headache and decreased work capacity – which is bound to reduce the effect that all of these have on your libido. Take three 250mg capsules daily (standardised to contain 1% salidrozids).
There are several nutrients and herbs that you could try to help give your libido a direct boost. These include B vitamins, zinc and antioxidants.
Oysters are the richest known food source of zinc, so no wonder they have a reputation for being a powerful aphrodisiac.
Antioxidants include nutrients such as vitamins A, C, E, the minerals zinc and selenium and plant nutrients such as bioflavonoids, which protect the body’s cells from damage by oxidants.
For people with vulvas, a widely used Chinese herb, Dong quai, tones the female reproductive organs and may therefore help increase the desire for sex. The dose of powdered herb is between 2-4g per day.
Seven Supplements For Better Sex
1. B vitamins
How they work: Needed for testosterone production, adrenal support, energy production and healthy nerves. B1 is needed for healthy thyroid function. B3 is a vasodilator, enhancing blood flow to sex organs and essential for pituitary function which controls hormone balance.
Cautions: None in sensible doses. Excess B3 and B6 can have adverse effects (above 1,000mg a day). B3 as niacin acts as a vasodilator, improving circulation and causing blushing at doses above 50mg.
How much? Niacinamide (B3) 50mg, Niacin (B3) 50mg, Pyridoxine (B6) 50mg, Cyanocobalamine (B12) 50mcg, Folic acid 500mcg a day.
How it works: Widely regarded as a ‘sexual rejuvenator’ animal studies have shown ginseng to increase testosterone levels, help the body adapt to stress and boost energy.
Cautions: None at recommended doses. Make sure you get a brand whose dose is standardised to contain particular amounts of active ingredients.
How much? Panax ginseng 200mg (standardised to 10% ginsenosides) x3 daily, Siberian ginseng 200mg (standardised to 1% eleutherosides) x3 daily.
3. Muira pauma
How it works: A native to the Brazilian Amazon, its mechanism of action remains unknown, but it appears to boost libido and enhance sexual experience in both sexes.Traditionally used to alleviate menstrual cramps and discomforts of menopause,it also tonifies the female sex organs.
Cautions: None known.
How much? 1g a day.
How they work: Minimise oxidant damage to sex organs and optimise blood flow to sex organs.
Cautions: None at recommended dosage.
How much? Take a good antioxidant formula that contains the vitamins A, C and E plus zinc, selenium and perhaps lipoic acid and CoQ10.
How it works: This central American shrub is said to stimulate production of testosterone and increase the sensitivity of both the clitoris.
Cautions: No toxicity known.
How much? 400–800mg x 3 daily.
How it works: Needed for the enzyme to convert testosterone to its active form, dihydroxytestosterone. Needed to help sustain lubrication of vaginal wall, as well as for pituitary function.
Cautions: Smoking, alcohol, coffee and some drugs deplete zinc. Only toxic at excessive levels ie above 150mg per day.
How much? 15mg daily (best as part of a multivitamin/mineral).
7.Maca (Lepidium meyenii)
How it works: A native to Peru’s central highlands, where it has been used in traditional Andean culture to awaken healthy passion. Experiments on mice showed increased sexual performance and improved erectile function even in testes-removed rats!
Cautions: None known.
How much? 3-5g of ground maca.