Supplements that Can Improve Your Libido & Sex Life
Though female sexual health often gets less attention than male-focused issues like erectile dysfunction, it’s just as important. In fact, female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is rather common. The American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) reports that more than 40 percent of women experience sexual difficulties at some point in their lives.
FSD challenges can include a variety of symptoms—and they occur for a variety of reasons. For example, some women report a lack of interest in sexual activity or an inability to get aroused, while others have issues reaching an orgasm. ASHA notes that age, hormones, medical conditions, medications, mental health concerns, and problems within romantic relationships are all possible factors.
Luckily, there are an array of natural interventions women can use to help: hormonal regulation, libido supplements, and dietary choices. Let’s learn more about how each of these can create a healthier female sex drive at any age.
Hormones That Can Affect the Female Libido
Especially as we get older and enter menopause, it’s important to make sure our hormone levels are balanced. This will not only optimize the libido, but will help us feel and look better. Hormones even impact brain function, so a lack of balance can lead to all kinds of difficulties in addition to decreased sex drive. You may struggle with poor sleep, a foggy memory, lack of focus or motivation, and lower moods.
For example, testosterone isn’t only important for males. Among women, it’s critical for maximizing sexual health by promoting a healthy libido. It also provides more energy and helps build strong muscles and bones. Low levels, on the other hand, can contribute to feelings of tiredness and depression—not exactly the right combination to get us in the mood.
Then there are the hormones produced by the thyroid gland, which are known for their regulation of metabolism. But changes can occur here during certain life stages for females, such as post-pregnancy and after menopause. Out of balance, these hormones can cause fatigue, lower levels of brain activity, and physical discomfort (such as feeling overheated). But more energy and a better sex life are benefits of these hormones being in balance.
Progesterone is the female sex hormone that is produced by the ovaries and the adrenal glands. It’s a cornerstone of the female reproductive system and crucial in overall health for women.
Progesterone will promote better energy and sleep, and therefore encourage more vigor for sexual activity. But when it’s out of whack, lower libido is a common side effect. Finally, estrogen should also be balanced to optimize sexual function in females.
If your sex drive is feeling sluggish, I recommend getting your free and total serum testosterone levels checked out. When testosterone is low (for either sex), you might find yourself with lower energy in general, as well as a low libido and even depression, among other concerns.
Adult males will want a total testosterone of 280 to 800 ng/dL, with the free level at 7.2 to 24 pg/mL. For women, that adjusts to 6 to 82 ng/dL (total) and 0.0 to 2.2 pg/mL (free). In addition, if you’re struggling with any of the issues listed above, you might want to seek out a qualified hormone specialist for a targeted treatment plan.
Natural Libido Supplements for Females
Looking to boost your libido? Try one of these natural supplements to help:
Ginseng has long been used and studied to improve sexual function in men, but it is also being looked at for its positive effects on women. A study found that one type, Korean red ginseng, was effective for boosting sexual arousal in menopausal women, and therefore “might be used as an alternative medicine in menopausal women to improve their sexual life.” In 2022, a report in Psychology Today pointed to more researchers around the world finding positive effects of ginseng on post-menopausal women. Improvements included everything from increased desire and sensitivity to reduced severity of hot flashes.
Gingko (also known as gingko biloba), just like ginseng, has been used for many years in traditional medicine, including for enhancing libido. A review of studies, published in 2021, concluded that post-menopausal women in particular could benefit from this ingredient in terms of sexual function. However, the researchers also noted a couple of possible side effects, including headaches and gastrointestinal upset. (When starting any new regimen of supplements, it’s a good idea to consult with a doctor before starting and take note of any unwanted effects.)
Saffron, in a 2019 review that examined numerous scientific studies, was concluded to have “a statistically significant positive effect…on sexual dysfunction.” Saffron is one of the key ingredients in BrainMD’s Happy Saffron Plus, which combines three nutraceutical powerhouses: affron® saffron extract, Longvida® curcumin extract (from turmeric root), and zinc glycinate. Together, these have mood and cognitive benefits to help you feel happier, calmer, and mentally sharper. This supplement promotes better focus, emotional balance, and a more relaxed mind and body. Without the numerous effects of mood issues—poor-quality or too little sleep, anxiety, and less energy—the libido can function at a healthier level.
One warning: Because this is an expensive ingredient, there are many impostors out there. Be sure to buy this supplement from a reputable source like BrainMD’s Happy Saffron Plus.
Libido-Boosting Nutrition for Women
In addition to consuming natural libido supplements, women of all ages will want to make sure their diet is not negatively impacting their sex drive. This can occur on both ends of the dietary spectrum: Too-severe calorie restriction can lower the levels of testosterone in the body and lower the libido, as well as reduce muscle and bone mass (which lowers stamina). On the other hand, eating too much or relying on highly processed foods can make us feel sluggish and lead to obesity, among many other harmful effects.
Following a well-balanced diet, like the one I outlined in my book, The Omni Diet, is the best way to feel great naturally. And, when you’re truly caring for your body and keeping it in tip-top shape, you create a greater feeling of attractiveness, which increases your libido. Expect even better results when your partner is following the plan, too.
Then, as an extra boost, I love using maca powder in my diet. This amazing ingredient, which comes from the root of a vegetable that grows in Peru’s Andes Mountains, contains a long list of health-promoting nutrients and antioxidants. One category of these, molecules called isothiocyanates, is believed to have aphrodisiac powers (as well as cancer-fighting properties), so many people use maca to enhance their sexual function. Studies have even hinted that maca may help improve libido and sexual function in those who take SSRIs (a type of antidepressants) and for women who are going through menopause. (Note that maca is not recommended for women who are pregnant or for anyone who has a thyroid condition.)
Maca is also associated with increased energy and stamina, muscle building, and lower adrenal stress. This makes it an overall body balancer while offering benefits that contribute to a healthier libido, like supporting the digestive and reproductive systems. To best utilize this superfood, purchase raw maca powder and add it to your favorite smoothies.
Here’s the bottom line: No matter what your age, gender, or relationship status, sexual health is an important component of our overall well-being. We should prioritize feeding our bodies with the right nutrients and supplements, engaging in regular exercise to stay energized and fit, and ensuring that our hormones are in balance. With these simple steps, we’ll be well on our way to nurturing a healthy libido that we (and our partners) will enjoy for years to come.
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