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Are Natural Libido Boosters a Waste of Money?

A lot of supplements advertised as “ libido boosting” are only hype. Few, like Maca and cocoa extract, prove that they can help.

Our analysis was corroborated by peer-reviewed scientific papers.

We at Medical Herald often get quite a number of emails from people who ask us what supplements are the best for them to boost their libido and their testosterone. To put it briefly, they want evidence-based aphrodisiacs.

Aphrodisiacs are named after the famous Greek goddess of love and pleasure, Aphrodite, so aphrodisiacs are supplements advertised in order to improve people’s sexual intercourse. Aphrodisiacs or as we popularly call them libido boosters are far more studied than other supplement categories, there is research to understand how aphrodisiacs might work and what aphrodisiacs are a waste of money.

The Science Behind Boosting the Libido

Libido basically has the meaning “sex drive” and when libido sinks, a lot of people don’t know the exact reason. They ask themselves if the root cause is stress, hormonal issues or a variety of other factors, supplements are often searched in order to give immediate boost.

Testing libido boostersParticularly, Panax ginseng, tribulus terrestris, zinc, horny goat weed, B-complex vitamins, fenugreek, L-argine, maca, dehydroepiandrosterone ( aka DHEA), ginkgo biloba and yohimbine have all been marketed as “libido-boosting” supplements. But these supplements are rarely carefully examined by scientists. Despite some of the supplements that are listed below have claims to support their effects, some of the very best options have only been tested in a few studies.

While lots of supplements are advertised as libido boosters, just few have been examined to support these statements.

 

Will Increasing Testosterone Increase Your Libido in Return?

Increasing testosterone naturally

It is believed that if you want to increase libido, you must increase testosterone, but the level of testosterone has a factor in libido but not the only factor, as the study by Zenico T. which studied the subjective effects of Lepidum meyenii (Maca) extract on well-being and sexual performances in patients with mild erectile dysfunction has shown us. For example the herb maca (Lepidium meyenii) that may have an impact on libido still have no effect on testosterone levels.

Magnesium, Vitamin D and Zinc, as vitamins and minerals, can support healthy testosterone levels but therefore don’t enhance them if the amount of them is already sufficient.

Implementing sufficient intake of magnesium, vitamin D and zinc will support the production of testosterone. There is a chance that optimal testosterone levels are able to make libido better, but it isn’t the only factor at play.

 

Which Supplements Have Been Proven To Increase Your Libido?

Maca and cocoa extract are two of the more well-examined libido-boosting supplements. You need at least a week of taking both supplements to feel benefits.

Maca, basically, can’t reach full potency if you don’t consistently take it for two months. As the study by Gonzales GF which studied effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men has shown us.

Research into Maca has also explained assurance for postmenopausal women, an oft-viewed population when it comes to libido boosting. As the study by Brooks NA which studied beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii ( Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen and androgen content has shown us.

Cocoa extracts have an impact on libido more indirectly. Low levels of nitric oxide ( NO) can cause poor circulation which can lead to erectile dysfunction. As the study by Petrone A, Gaziano J, Djoussé L. which studied effects of dark chocolate and cocoa products on Endothelial Function has shown us. Cocoa flavonoids can help make NO levels stronger, improving blood flow and possibly lessening erectile dysfunction.

There are also two more similar supplements such as Tribulus terrestris and Eurycoma Longifolia Jack, despite having done very few human studies on each of these herbs.

Now, the evidence of animals does back up the preliminary results found in human trials, it also suggests that these herbs may be useful supplements to make your libido better.

Supplements that can improve libido immediately after oral intake are rare and they usually come with unwanted side effects. Yohimbine has been proven to help those with orgasmic and erectile dysfunction as the study by Adeniyi AA which studied yohimbine in the treatment of orgasmic dysfunction has shown us, but yohimbine is a stimulant so it shouldn’t be taken by people who use medications for heart and brain conditions.

Alcohol may also be an effective sudden decision moment libido-booster for some people if they take in moderate doses. The real reason is that alcohol can cut down inhibition but alcohol can give a small, short-lived enhance to testosterone. But this effect with alcohol doesn’t function on everyone. Some people feel a small reduction in testosterone after drinking alcohol or they don’t feel any effects at all. Because this is unpredictable, combined with alcohol’s health risks, it makes improper as a long-term testosterone enhancer and libido booster.

Supplements like maca and cocoa extract are very probably to help with libido and sexual function, but Tribulus terrestris and Eurycoma Longifolia Jack need to be more examined. Also yohimbine and alcohol are able to help but there are significant negative side effects.

Herbal suplements for libido boosting
Are Herbal Supplements a Waste of Time and Money?

A lot of herbal supplements are advertised as libido-boosters and marketing hype is full of these supplements. Have you heard of Dehydroepiandrosterone, known also as DHEA, Ginkgo biloba, L-DOPA or velvet antler? They have been advertised as libido-boosters although there are no studies yet to prove that they really help, only anecdotal evidence of people who have used them.

Also food that is traditionally connected to romance and love turns out to possess a limited effect on libido once it is studied. There is no proof that eating oysters can improve performance in bed. If you have a low level zinc, eating oysters can lessen a deficiency, that may have a negative impact on several hormones that influence libido as testosterone.

Rose essential oil, used in aromatherapy, and chocolate can both have gentle relaxing effects especially for women. These effects can give libido enhancement indirectly through stress reduction.

There are other herbs such as holy basil and Pedalium murex may at least have promising animal research, but human studies are still on hold.

Sexual improvement is a profitable market so that almost all libido boosters are overhyped.

A piece of advice is that to avoid “proprietary blends” as they aren’t known because many people don’t know how much of each ingredient they contain. DHEA, Ginkgo biloba, L-DOPA, velvet antler, rose essential oil, chocolate and oysters have been advertised as potent aphrodisiacs, there might be some truth to these claims but most of them are just hype.

The Effects of Stimulants in the Bedroom

Alcohol as a libido booster
Some people like to experiment in the bedroom for special occasions so they use some stimulants. You must be very careful using these stimulants , not just because safety, but because to their potential effect on performance.

Except for pharmaceutical options like Viagra, stimulants aren’t recommended in general for bedroom use. As the study by Gilbert DG, Hagen RL, D’Agostino JA which studied the effects of cigarette smoking on human potency has shown us. Lighting cigarettes after sex may be a must for some people, but you must be aware of smoking before sex because nicotine can reduce sexual desire for both males and females.

Any substance that lifts diastolic blood pressure or rises the risks of cardiovascular damage shouldn’t be used with Viagra. For example, as the study by McLeod AL, McKenna CJ, Northridge DB. which studied myocardial infarction following the combined recreational use of Viagra and cannabis has shown us showed that marijuana consumption leads to a heart attack when combined with Viagra, because marijuana rises diastolic blood pressure.

Be careful when you use stimulants to enhance performance- they can have the opposite effect or cause harm if they are combined with medications like Viagra.

 

How To Choose The Best Supplement

Don’t believe everything you see or read. Possibilities are that you would spend your money on an extra-romantic date night.

Before using a new supplement you should talk to your partner. People who take medications or suffer from some chronic diseases should talk to their doctor before taking supplementation. You must test them one at a time- some supplements that claim libido boosting properties have up to 33 ingredients in one pill, as the study by Cui T. entitled “A urologist’s guide to ingredients found in top-selling nutraceuticals for men’s sexual health” has shown us.

Allison King
Allison King
Allison holds a PhD in Biology specializing in cell and molecular biology and undergraduate degree in biochemistry with a minor in theoretical physics. She has taught at four universities in Eastern Canada and currently consults masters and doctoral students. She believes that peer-reviewed scientific research is the best source when looking for information on a given subject. Allison also lives a healthy vegetarian lifestyle and enjoys competing in various races including half marathons and triathlons.