Sexual health is often more of a problem as we get older, but it can also be issue among young adults and can cause fertility problems. Sexual dysfunction is when someone has difficulty during any stage of sexual activity.
When it comes to discussing this topic of conversation, many people find it embarrassing so consequently it is underreported as people accept it to be a normal part of ageing.
A global study on adults between 40 and 80 years of age, revealed that 28% of men and 39% of women were affected by at least one sexual dysfunction.
Aside from the physical and emotional benefits of sex within a relationship, it also has many other health benefits, one of which is to help protect against cardiovascular disease. Sexual activity also promotes healthy self-esteem, releasing endorphins and “happy hormones” which help us feel more relaxed.
In order for optimum sexual health to be reach, it’s important to take part in regular physical activity, consume healthy nutritious food and ensure you are getting enough sleep and reducing alcohol consumption.
One way of supporting sexual health is to provide the body with all essential nutrients to maintain a normal balance of hormones, proper blood circulation to the organs and healthy nerve function.
Both vitamin C and E are powerful antioxidants that help to protect sperm and egg cell DNA from free radical damage, which could lead to fertility problems. Antioxidants help to improve blood circulation, helping with erections and sensitivity.
Higher vitamin C levels has also been linked to an increased sperm count in men. Vitamin E supplementation improves sperm motility (how effectively sperm ‘swim’ towards an egg).
Vitamin C can also increase your energy, reducing the feeling of tiredness and fatigue, promoting a longer sexual activity. A study was carried out on a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial concluded a greater frequency of sexual intercourse in subjects taking a high dose of vitamin C compared with a placebo group.
Zinc is involved in the synthesis of testosterone, a hormone required for normal sexual health. As we get older, our levels of testosterone decrease. Not having enough testosterone can lead to issues such as depression and infertility. A study found that men taking zinc supplementation for 6 months increased their testosterone levels.
A deficiency in zinc can also alter our ability to smell and taste – these two senses are particularly important for libido. Zinc helps to maintain normal reproductive health, including hormonal balance, follicular fluid levels and ovulation.
L-Carnitine is a compound that supports energy metabolism, transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria to be oxidized for energy reproduction. A fertility study showed that Acetyl-L-Carnitine was also effective at increasing sperm motility, especially in groups with lower baseline carnitine levels.
This herbal supplement supports our immunity containing both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to fight fatigue and could also strengthen the immune system, brain function and leaves us feeling more energised. Ginseng has been demonstrated to improve scores on a measure of female sexual function in menopausal women.
This product contains strong antioxidant properties which help to neutralise free radicals and protect cell tissue. It has also been shown to increase blood flow through promoting the dilation of blood vessels.
There is evidence to suggest that having a daily dose of Ginkgo Biloba extract helps to reduce low-mood-induced sexual dysfunction by up to 84% and also had a positive effect on desire, excitement, orgasm and resolution.
So overall, sexual dysfunction is a very common issue affecting men and women, consequently having negative impacts on health, well-being and relationships.