The Pharmaceutical industry is overflowing with medications that prey on the fears and insecurities of men and women who may be experiencing sexual health issues. This fear of not being “normal” (normal is only found as a setting on a dryer) as far as your sexual health is concerned, leads many to wasting time, money and energy on pharmaceuticals or “quick-fix” supplements that are overpriced and over-promise their potential.
A hormonal imbalance is stereotypically thought of as a woman’s issue, yet both men and women can experience this type of imbalance at some point during their lives. There are eight main hormones that play an important role in our mental and physical health and each hormone has a very specific effect on our body.
The three main hormones that impact our sexual health and vitality are:
Psychological and physiological functions of our body are regulated by our hormones. Since we are living longer having optimal sexual health is a priority for many. This is why a hormonal imbalance can often lead to a lack of self-confidence and insecurity. Knowing how hormones affect your sexual health and what steps you can take to regulate them can place you in the driver’s seat when it comes to achieving your optimal sexual health.
The symptoms of a hormonal imbalance can manifest differently in each person, but the following symptoms can occur for both genders:
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Sleep disruption
- Lack of self confidence
- Hot flashes/night sweats
- Decrease in sex drive
Some gender-specific symptoms for women can be body temperature change and not feeling “womanly” and for men symptoms can be memory loss, hair loss and erectile dysfunction.
Making sure you consume enough vitamin B and D3 in your diet is important for hormonal balance. For vegans, it is especially important to add vitamins B and D3 to support overall hormonal health, since eggs are one of the best sources of B and D vitamins. There are nine B vitamins and a bountiful source of many of these B vitamins are found in eggs. For vegans or others who don’t eat eggs, adding a supplement would be a very wise choice.
According to a published study in “Nutritional Research,” 41% of Americans are vitamin D deficient1. Vitamin D can be absorbed transdermally from sunlight and can be found in a few foods such as fatty fish and egg yolks. Due to the scarcity of vitamin D in foods and a lack of sufficient sunlight in certain areas, adding a vitamin D supplement to your daily regimen could be beneficial.
Adaptogens are herbs and roots that assist your body to better handle physical, chemical and biological stress. With the plight of our current world, there is no wonder why there is so much buzz about adaptogens in the health industry. Stress can affect almost every part of our body including our sexual health.
The level of stress hormones in your body increases when you are experiencing stress and anxiety. Probably just reading about this is stressing you out. It is a vicious circle! Here are two adaptogens that are particularly beneficial for promoting sexual health and vitality.
Found in the Andes Mountains of Peru, Maca is a plant in the same family as broccoli and turnips. The root of the Maca plant is considered a superfood and has been consumed for centuries as well as used for medicinal purposes. Maca root is rich in:
- Amino acids
- Vitamins A, C ,B2, and Niacin
Maca root is one of the few plants that is considered an adaptogen and contains benefits for both genders regarding sexual health. For men the benefits are increased libido and sexual performance, while for women maca root can enhance fertility, sex drive and reduce discomfort related to an imbalance in hormone levels.
Also known as “Indian Ginseng,” ashwagandha is a small shrub with yellow flowers native to India and Southeast Asia. Considered a potent adaptogen, ashwagandha has been a vital Ayurvedic medicine that has been used for 4000 years. It is not only an aphrodisiac but also an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and contains anti-stress elements. Oh wait, there’s more…this multi-functional herb is believed to support overall health and longevity, protect against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease as well as cancer and diabetes2.
Ashwagandha is known as a robust sexual stimulant for men by increasing the production of nitric oxide and promoting blood flow to the genitals which are then dilated.
You might be wondering how a simple herb from a shrub could have all of this influence on what happens between the sheets?
Based on the evidence of a study conducted by BioMed Research International in 2015, the use of ashwagandha as compared to a placebo resulted in increased sexual encounters and a reduction in sexual distress in both genders.
Here are a few ways in which ashwagandha plays a positive role in sexual health3:
- Increases testosterone
- Boosts antioxidant levels
- Supports energy levels
- Protects your body from stress-induced elevation of cortisol
There are a few more adaptogens which can aid in sexual vitality such as Shilajit, Schisandra and Blue Lotus. Since every person is unique in their physical composition and mental acuity, it may take some trial and error before you find the correct adaptogen that works best for you.
Before jumping on the next “cure-all-wonder-pill,” we encourage you to look into some adaptogens which have been used for thousands of years in cultures around the world. Humans have been concerned about the same sexual health issues whether it is the year 2022 or 2022 years ago. Trying medicinal herbs that have stood the test of 4 millenniums might hold value and will not come with a hefty co-pay.
- Prevalence and correlates of vitamin D deficiency in US adults, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21310306/.
- Ashwagandha Improves Sexual Functioning and Satisfaction In Women, https://www.integrativepsychiatry.net/ashwagandha-improves-sexual-functioning-and-satisfaction-in-women/.
- Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Improving Sexual Function in Women, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4609357/