If your Valentine’s Day “Sexpectations” fall flat this year, you don’t have to wait until next year’s holiday to rev up your love connection.
The ability to truly enjoy sexual intimacy is so important in maintaining a healthy relationship. It builds an intimate bond between partners; a relationship that can be significantly impacted by emerging sexual issues – often associated with aging – such as low libido and erectile dysfunction.
There are many pharmaceuticals available on the market focused on the improvement of both psychological and physical sexual dissatisfaction (such as Viagra and anti-depressants), but often they can have dangerous side effects. I am a proponent of more natural solutions to regain sexual health in a relationship, and have found a variety of natural remedies available that can help address low libido issues, erectile dysfunction and general sexual satisfaction.
I personally only discuss approaches and remedies that I’ve found to work well for my patients. In particular, DHEA, deer antler and Sea Buckthorn oil have performed well clinically in my office. Here are a few natural solutions that have shown great promise in delivering more vibrant sexual health.
As we age the levels of many of our hormones reduce, DHEA being one of those. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is produced by the adrenals and converts naturally into the body’s sex hormones. Studies show that the reduction in DHEA is linked to a variety of age-related issues; including depression, sexual dysfunction, cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline.
Supplementing with DHEA using low dosages in capsules, or via vaginal tablets, may enhance libido and improve one’s sense of wellbeing. It has also been shown to support improvements with erectile function by increasing nitric oxide levels (similar to how Viagra works, by enhancing the body’s natural reaction to the rise in nitric oxide that occurs during sexual stimulation).
DEER ANTLER VELVET
In traditional Chinese medicine, deer antler has long been used to treat bone and muscle problems, female disorders and impotence.
Deer antler velvet is the soft fuzz covering the growing cartilage and bone that develops into deer antlers. The antler velvet is humanely harvested from the deer at farms, a process that is regulated in New Zealand where much of deer antler is exported; the deer shed and grow new antlers annually.
Components of the antler and velvet are processed for differing purposes, and to make them bioavailable to the body. The product is sold in capsules or in a spray, and is thought to increase levels of sex hormones, increase libido and address erectile dysfunction.
There has been some controversy over recent years regarding body builders and professional athletes using deer antler velvet to increase their muscle health and injury recovery time, as it includes insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). As IGF-1 regulates growth hormones, deer antler velvet has been viewed – and is heavily marketed – as a performance-enhancing drug in those communities.
Sea Buckthorn Oil
Sea Buckthorn oil has been studied and shown to treat dry and irritated mucous membranes of the urogenital tissues of women. As hormones wane delicate tissues around and inside the vaginal canal can thin out and atrophy. Low levels of mucous secretions in the vagina can cause pain and inflammation during and after intercourse and trigger bladder and vaginal infections. Improving the moisture and integrity of the sexual organs with Sea Buckthorn oil can be just the answer for peri-menopausal and menopausal women!
Maca is a popular super food used by men and by women who want more sexual fire in their lives. A Peruvian herb, made from the Maca root, it addresses adrenal fatigue and can improve mood, PMS and menopausal symptoms, and libido in both men and women. There are a variety of studies and anecdotal evidence, as well as a huge loyal support base, substantiating maca claims relating to sexual health.
Damiana is typically found in formulary blends containing other herbs, vitamins and minerals; it has long been viewed as an aphrodisiac.
Damiana is available as capsules or leaves/tea bags and is thought to provide a relaxed state of mind. In formulations coupled with other ingredients such as ginseng, ginkgo, L-arginine and DHEA, it may provide adrenal support, increased blood flow and optimized testosterone and estrogen metabolism. Korea Red Ginseng, in particular as shown positive results in improving erectile function.
Other Healthy Remedies
Need I say that healthy foods in the kitchen help in the bedroom?
Eating whole, nutrient-dense foods, losing belly fat, keeping the blood flowing (through exercise and movement), optimal sleep hygiene and reducing stress can all improve your ability to better connect and enjoy your sexuality.
Talk with your doctor about what makes the most sense for you; your doctor may want to monitor changes in your DHEA and other hormone levels, for example. Purchase your supplements and herbs from reputable stores.
Other general recommendations would be a good multi-vitamin, fish oil, zinc (shown to be important in testosterone production and playing a role in libido for both men and women), Vitamin D and L-Carnitine.
Finally, living a happy, fun and joyful life increases your body’s own production of DHEA! Focusing on connecting with your love partner by relaxing, exercising and enjoying activities that are pleasurable will help rev up your love connection and bring back the sexy between the sheets!