Many men often have difficulties with achieving a stable erection and completing sexual intercourse. Such difficulties can be caused by many reasons. The most common reason is chronic diseases that adversely affect sexual function and hormone levels in the body. It’s no secret that men with diabetes, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases usually have low testosterone levels, which cause erectile dysfunction (ED). Some studies have also shown that erectile dysfunction may be an early sign of cardiovascular disease.
First step: Lifestyle change
Men who lead a sedentary lifestyle are at increased risk of developing not only diabetes and heart disease but also erectile dysfunction. Normal exercise and moderate activity are extremely important for healthy vessels, helping to improve blood circulation not only in the heart and brain but also in other important parts of the body.
It’s important for men who are overweight and obese to lose weight. A 2003 study showed that overweight men whose body mass index (BMI) is 28.7 or more than 30% are more likely to have erectile dysfunction compared to men whose BMI is below 25 – an indicator of normal weight. Following this, the authors of another 2004 study published in the journal of the American Medical Association concluded that “improvement in sexual function is associated with lifestyle changes in about one-third of men with initial obesity and erectile dysfunction.” Achieving optimal weight should be the main goal for those who want to improve sexual health. For this purpose, many choose paleo-diet, vegetarianism or keto-diet.
One of the main causes of erectile dysfunction is low testosterone levels. According to research, over the past few decades, testosterone levels in men around the world have declined. There are many reasons for this, and many blame plastics and other chemicals that can destroy the hormone and lower testosterone production. In addition, obesity also contributes to lower testosterone levels in men. This happens mainly because adipose tissue converts testosterone to estrogen.
Reducing the amount of adipose tissue in the body and eliminating toxins from the diet are the most important steps you can take to increase testosterone levels in men. However, sometimes this is not enough. Therefore, many are looking for natural remedies or supplements that help increase libido and testosterone levels. Sometimes such remedies are effective.
10 supplements to increase libido and improve testosterone levels
L-arginine is an amino acid that plays an active role in blood circulation throughout the body. L-arginine, a precursor of nitric oxide, is a molecule that contributes to normal circulation. A study conducted in 2014 showed the effectiveness of this amino acid in angina pectoris, cardiovascular disease and erectile dysfunction.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted in 1999 showed that taking L-arginine at a dosage of up to 5000 mg per day helped to improve the symptoms of erectile dysfunction compared with placebo. However, according to another 1999 study published in Urologia Internationalis, doses of 1,500 mg per day were not effective.
A study conducted in 2015 showed that taking L-arginine in combination with pycnogenol supplementation helped improve erectile function and sperm quality. Another 2015 study published in The British Medical Journal showed similar results with pycnogenol in combination with L-arginine.
Recommended dosage: For optimal results, take L-arginine at a dosage of 4000-5000 mg per day.
L-citrulline is an amino acid that is also beneficial for blood vessels. According to a study conducted in 2017, men with erectile dysfunction showed a low blood level of this amino acid and L-arginine. A 2015 study found that combination supplements with L-citrulline, L-arginine, and pycnogenol can help men with erectile dysfunction.
Recommended dosage: as indicated on the label.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen plant that can be an effective way to combat chronic fatigue and problems with libido. The homeland of ashwagandha is Asia, in particular, India and the regions of China. This medicinal plant is widely distributed in Ayurvedic medicine and has been used for thousands of years.
In 2015, a study was conducted involving 57 men who took a placebo or ashwagandha for eight weeks. Before and after the test, testosterone levels were taken. Over the same time period, men also received resistance training. The results showed an increase in testosterone levels in those taking the medicinal plant compared with those taking the placebo.
Recommended dosage: 500 mg once or twice a day.
Maca root (Lepidium meyenii) is an adaptogen plant that is grown in the Andes of South America at an altitude of 13,000-16,000 feet (4,000-5,000 m) above sea level. Maca was traditionally used by the Incas and was famous for its many healing properties. It was taken mainly to increase libido and fertility. Many considered this plant an aphrodisiac.
Studies have shown that Maca root can increase sperm count and motility. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in Andrologia in 2002 showed that men who took Maca root increased their sexual desire compared to those who took a placebo. A 2009 study by Andrologia showed improved sexual function in men with mild erectile dysfunction.
Recommended dosage: Take as directed on the label.
Asian Ginseng (Korean, Chinese)
Asian ginseng is useful in many diseases. The birthplace of Asian ginseng is Korea, where this plant has been used for over 2000 years. Ginseng also grows in the regions of Siberia and China. Asian ginseng is unique – it should not be confused with other well-known types of ginseng, such as American or Siberian ginseng. Other names for Asian ginseng are Korean red ginseng, Chinese ginseng, or Panax ginseng.
Scientific studies proved the effectiveness of ginseng. A study in 1995 showed that ginseng could be useful in treating erectile dysfunction. A 2007 study also demonstrated the effectiveness of Korean ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, and the authors of a 2008 study noted that ginseng has been shown to be effective in treating erectile dysfunction but better research is needed.
Recommended dosage: Take as directed on the label. You can also drink it in the form of hot tea.
Pycnogenol (pine bark extract)
The powerful antioxidant pine bark extract was originally used by the indigenous peoples of North America and Asia as a medicinal plant. French explorer Jacques Cartier reportedly used pine bark extract during an expedition in 1535 to treat scurvy, a disease caused by insufficient intake of vitamin C.
Today, supporters of an integrative approach in medicine also recognize the many beneficial and anti-aging properties of pine bark extract. Several preparations with pine bark extract are available on the market: it can be taken in capsules, used as an essential oil, or added to a lotion for external use.
One of the most popular preparations is pine bark extract (Pinus masonianna from Asia), and French coastal pine bark extract or pycnogenon (Pinus pinaster ssp. Atlantica from Europe) is a patented version of this powerful nutrient.
Studies conducted in 2015 showed that pine bark extract (pycnogenol), when taken together with L-arginine, helps to improve erectile function and sperm quality. A separate study in 2015 showed that taking pycnogenol in combination with L-arginine and L-citrulline also helps eliminate erectile dysfunction problems.
Recommended dosage: as indicated on the label.
Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifoli)
Tongkat Ali, also known as Malaysian ginseng, grows in Southeast Asia. A 2013 study showed that daily intake of 200 mg of Tongkat Ali can lower the level of the stress hormone cortisol and at the same time increase testosterone levels by 37%.
A separate 2012 study published in Andrologia found that taking 200 mg Tongkat Ali daily with 200 mg might increase testosterone levels in men with low testosterone levels. A 2017 study published in the Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines also showed that Tongkat Ali can be an effective tool that not only helps increase male libido but also improves sperm quality and quantity.
Recommended dosage: 200 mg per day.
Tribulus is a plant popular in Asia and Europe. This herb has been used for thousands of years in both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, helping to normalize male libido and erection. A 2012 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that Tribulus terrestris can be useful for men with erectile dysfunction. According to some studies, this medicinal plant is able to increase testosterone levels, while other studies show that the effect of Tribulus is based on an increase in nitrous oxide (NO).
Recommended dosage: as recommended on the label
Epimedium (also known as Barrenwort, Bishop’s Hat, Fairy Wings, Horny Goat Weed, Rowdy Lamb Herb, Yin Yang Huo) was used in traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. The efficiency of bitterness has been proven by a number of qualitative studies using modern scientific methods. At the same time, representatives of traditional Chinese medicine believe that this plant “tones the kidney yang.” Many of those who took Barrenwort reported its effectiveness.
Fenugreek is a plant well known to the indigenous peoples of India. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine to eliminate digestive problems and libido. A 2011 study showed that fenugreek can help increase libido and maintain healthy testosterone levels. However, a 2009 study involving male athletes concluded that fenugreek does not have a beneficial effect on testosterone levels. Many of those who took fenugreek reported its effectiveness, while some did not notice any improvement.
Top 4 foods that will improve the quality of sex
Food is a determining factor in our health and a great influence on the body. Proper nutrition can help prevent disease and strengthen our immune system. Also, food affects the quality of sexual life. Add the following foods to your diet and your intimate life will improve.
Chocolate contains bioactive ingredients called flavonol. Scientists at the University of San Francisco claim that chocolate-flavonol helps restore blood vessels and helps distribute the blood in the body, which has a beneficial effect on stamina during intercourse.
Vitamin C helps protect nitric oxide cells and L-arginine molecules that promote stamina.
Turkey (like fish and red meat) contains large amounts of citrulline. A study by Ataturk University in Turkey showed that consuming more of this amino acid helps reduce fatigue during prolonged exercise. Therefore, this is an excellent option for maintaining blood flow in the genitals.
Cinnamon is very popular both in the culinary world and in the manufacture of cosmetics. However, using it as an additive in food also benefits the body. Cinnamon stimulates blood supply, which positively affects the quality of orgasm.