For a Lifetime of Sexual Healthposted by Dr Dee on January 12th, 2015
NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT FOR A LIFETIME OF GOOD SEXUAL HEALTH
For both men and women, aging and lifestyle play key roles in good sexual
health. Psychosocial balance and healthy relationships are also crucial, but to
address physical issues it’s important to choose the right supplementation regimen. A recent survey found that 63 percent of Americans wish they were
having more sex. Over 3,000 adults — more than 50 percent of
participants — said they were now experiencing at least one sexual
problem or had dealt with one in the past. Low sexual function
was the most common complaint among females; men cited erectile
WOMEN: AGING AND AROUSAL
Hormone changes are a natural part of the aging process. A woman’s
hormones begin to decline at the age of 352 and plunge dramatically
during her perimenopausal years.
University of Chicago data revealed as many as 45 million women
in the U.S. experience reduced sexual desire, and one in three report
this decline as a “concern.” The North American Menopause Society
reports that sexual and physical concerns increase in severity as
a woman ages. Women are two to three times more likely than men
to experience a decline in sex arousal2.
Yet reduced sexual desire can affect women of any age. Some 9
percent of women seeking support for healthy libidos are below the
age of 45, according to Stephanie Buehler, PsyD. Postnatal stresses
and menopause are both common triggers for lack of desire not connected
to poor physical response.
Proper nutrition and smart supplementation address some of the
problems of age-related decline in libido and also helps tackle stresses
not related to aging. Vitamins B6 and E may raise progesterone
levels, even in post-menopausal females. An increase in progesterone
has a relaxing effect and can reduce anxiety. Maintaining sufficient
levels of B vitamins may also ensure adequate amounts of both
dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters, which have important
roles in sexual health.
The botanical Damiana helps support normal sexual drive and
pleasure, while ashwaganda has been shown to promote normal engorgement
of sexual tissues. Velvet bean extract has a long history
of use in Ayurvedic medicine and its chemical constituents may be
precursors to dopamine production. Aging can affect both vaginal
tone and comfort; P. mirifica is a botanical that can promote normal
vaginal secretions and vaginal muscle strength.
The amino acid L-histidine when taken orally promotes
smooth-muscle contraction in the body, especially the genitalia.
This can support more satisfying orgasms.
MEN: METABOLISM AND AGING
Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects approximately 25 million men
in the U.S. and can have both physical and psychological causes3.
Hormone production and testosterone bioavailability decline gradually
— about 1 percent per year after the age of 404 — resulting in
changes in sexual function, energy and mood. But many men who
are told they have a normal testosterone level nevertheless complain
of low mood, poor erectile health, declining lean muscle mass and
decreased sexual stamina5.
Zinc, certain botanicals such as ginkgo, Tribulus terrestris and
Epimedium, and the amino acid L-arginine, may all increase blood
flow to the penis and enhance sexual arousal. Zinc — tissue stores
of which can decrease as both genders age — initiates enzymes important
in vasoconstriction of the blood vessels involved in sexual
arousal. Tribulus may stimulate androgen receptor density6, while
Epimedium (horny goat weed) is said to be an aphrodisiac for
both genders. Both have been rated by the Natural Medicine
Comprehensive Database as “possibly effective” for erectile and sexual
1- Edward O. Laumann, PhD; J. of Sexual Med; 2008; 5(10) 2300-2311
2- US Depart. of Health and Human Services; National Institute for Aging/North American
3- American Urological Association, 2013
4- JUrol November 2002;168(5):207