By Christian Beck
The great thing about the nutritional supplement industry is the fact that there’s something for everyone, no matter what your goals are. Looking to gain muscle? You’re covered. Want to drop some body fat? No problem. Need a little diet insurance in the form of a daily multi? That’s easy. How about an energy boost? Done. Greens, anyone? Of course! And if you’re interested in enhancing your sex life, you’ve come to the right place.
As we age, our sex lives change. With Father Time often comes dips in sex hormone production, higher stress, bad daily diet choices, poor hydration, and less exercise — all of which impact sex in a negative manner, and can collectively contribute to a decreased sex drive and poorer performance in the bedroom.
Depressing as that may be, the good news is that a whole category of bona fide supplements has risen to combat this and to help put that spark back into your sex life. The following is a review of some of the more popular sex- and libido-enhancing ingredients available on the market today.
Citrulline is an amino acid that the body produces naturally, and one that is also found in watermelon. What makes L-citrulline so interesting from a sex-enhancement angle is its reported vasodilation and blood-flow enhancing properties. In a January 2011 study published in the journal Urology, 24 men with mild ED orally supplemented with L-citrulline at a dosage of 1.5 grams per day for a month. At the conclusion of the study, 50 per cent of those men not only reported an improvement in their erection hardness score (up to a level of normal erectile functioning), but also commented on being “very satisfied with the treatment,” prompting researchers to conclude that L-citrulline supplementation is safe, while also calling for more research into its effects.
Maca is a root plant native to the Andes mountains of Peru, and as such is sometimes referred to as “Peruvian Ginseng.” This supplement has a long history of use as an energy tonic and for increasing sexual functioning. Research exists indicating that maca can increase semen volume, sperm count, and sperm mobility in adult men after four months of treatment. In further research published in Andrologia, subjects who consumed maca at a dose of either 1,500 milligrams or 3,000 milligrams daily for 12 weeks reported improved sexual desires at the eight- and 12-week marks.
D-aspartic acid is a popular ingredient that you will often see on the label of both testosterone-boosting products and libido-enhancing supplements. A form of the amino acid aspartic acid (sometimes called aspartate), D-aspartic acid was studied at length by a group of researchers led by Topo, and the results of which were published online in the October 2009 issue of the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. As part of the study, 23 men were given supplemental D-aspartic acid for 12 days. It was noted that treatment with this ingredient induced an enhancement of both luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone release, and the logic is pretty simple: an increase in luteinizing hormone and testosterone release equals an increase in sex drive!
Propionyl-L-carnitine is a form L-carnitine, which itself has been the topic of much buzz in the supplement world over the course of the last year or so. In addition to helping the body facilitate energy production, propionyl-L-carnitine also aids in circulation, and is important for optimal heart functioning. In a study published in the journal Urology, subjects were given propionyl-L-carnitine at a dosage of two grams per day, plus two grams per day of acetyl-L-carnitine, for six months. At the end of the study, researchers found that the carnitines significantly improved nocturnal penile tumescence (we’re talking morning wood here) and International Index of Erectile Function score, prompting the conclusion that carnitines may be used as therapy for sexual-related symptoms associated with male aging. In another study published last May in Andrologia, 54 males (35 to 75 years of age) took part in a three-month supplementation protocol that involved propionyl-L-carnitine, L-arginine, and niacin. At the close of the study, the researchers found a statistically significant result, whereby the treatment improved erections in 40 per cent of the men, with as many as 77 per cent of the men experiencing a partial response.
Tongkat ali, a.k.a. eurycoma longifolia, is an evergreen shrub-tree native to Southeast Asia which has long been heralded by Malaysian men for its sexual- and virility-enhancing actions. The composition of tongkat ali includes a wide array of bioactive compounds (including eurypeptides and glycosaponins) that possess aphrodisiac, erection frequency, and pressure-enhancing properties, making it a worthy addition to this list.