9 Vitamins and Herbs That Can Boost Your Sex Drive
Could the answer to heating things up in the bedroom be in the vitamin aisle? Here's what experts suggest to help you boost your passion.
Boost your vitamin B
“Loss of libido can be associated with B vitamin deficiency, which affects energy in general,” says Taz Bhatia, MD, an integrative medical expert in Atlanta, who goes by Dr. Taz. Supplements can help, or consider foods that are high in B vitamins, including poultry, beef, eggs, and green leafy vegetables.
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Add more antioxidants
“The best supplements are those that support your body’s natural production of energy and hormones,” says Shannon Chavez, PsyD, CST, a sex therapist. She recommends vitamins A and E—the antioxidants that can help boost energy, circulation, and cell growth. “Many healthy foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains, include the vitamin supplementation that you need to maintain a healthy libido.”
Increase your zinc
Deficiencies of this essential mineral have been known to result in low libido, according to Dr. Taz. That may explain why one particular food can kick up your sex drive: “Oysters are high in zinc and can help boost libido,” she says.
Stock up on selenium
Dr. Chavez recommends selenium, a vitamin found naturally in nuts, beef, tuna, and grains. Just be cautious about going crazy with it—at high levels (over 400 mcg), you could risk side effects, including problems with your heart, kidneys, and liver—and with a higher risk of prostate cancer in men.
Take some L-arginine
Early studies suggest L-arginine supplements can help raise libido in women. The theory? The supplement can increase blood flow to the vaginal area.
Eat more omega-3 fatty acids
Dr. Taz recommends getting plenty of this compound, found in abundance in “oily” fish including salmon. It has been linked with improving circulation and reducing depression symptoms—both of which are key components of sexual health. “Vitamins are the key to better blood flow and organ functioning,” Dr. Taz says.
Be wary of special supplements
“Be careful with supplements that make extraordinary claims of boosting libido—there is no magic pill,” Dr. Chavez says. “The best medicine and wellness advice is to eat healthy, exercise, meditate, stretch, relax, laugh, play, and do any version of therapy that helps you clear your mind and process your emotions.”
Grab the apple-pie spices
Could the answer to spicing up your love life be in your spice cabinet? A 2013 study found that nutmeg improved sexual performance—at least in mice—while Dr. Taz claims that the smell of cinnamon could put you in the mood. “Studies have shown that scents that are more musky, like cinnamon, bergamot, cedarwood, and patchouli, appeal to your carnal desires and trigger arousal,” Dr. Taz says.
Try some ginseng
Ginseng has been the go-to libido enhancer in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, and some studies have found that it can help with erectile dysfunction along with boosting your sex drive.