Supplementation to Improve Male Sexual Health
With sexual health at the top of many men’s minds as they age, it is no wonder we get many questions about vitamins, minerals, and supplements that may improve a man’s sex life. There are, at times, excellent reasons to take supplements (always under your physician’s direction, of course). However, it is important to remember that supplements are not approved or overseen by the FDA, and choosing the proper dosage and composition is critical to staying safe and healthy. That said, it is worth first understanding why we need supplements for our sexual health.
Supplementation Is an Essential Part of Medicine
Americans are commonly deficient in several vitamins and minerals. Low levels of these vitamins can cause physical and psychological side effects, which can be significant if the deficiency is severe. Medications, certain surgeries like weight loss surgery, genetic predispositions, and more can all contribute to low levels of vitamins and minerals essential to a healthy life.
Let’s discuss the most beneficial vitamins to a man’s sexual health. That said, we always remind our patients that taking supplements may be a waste of money at best or even genuinely problematic in a worst-case scenario if you don’t have a deficiency.
We start with vitamin D because of the sheer number of Americans deficient in this vitamin. Vitamin D is absorbed through our skin through our natural interaction with the sun, day in and day out. As our jobs and lives take us inside more often and as we have become more aware of skin cancer (no bad thing), we are getting less and less vitamin D naturally. To be sure, some foods are fortified with vitamin D, and this can help, but rarely do they provide enough.
Recent studies have shown a potential link between low vitamin D levels and erectile dysfunction ED. This makes sense as vitamin D is not only essential for the absorption of calcium in the body but also reduces oxidative stress, helps with blood pressure regulation, and can improve nitric oxide production in the body. While it may seem simple to go outside and get more sun, it’s much harder to do with our busy schedules. Under your primary care physician’s supervision, be sure to address any vitamin D deficiencies that may be found on your latest blood panel.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is one of those universally known vitamins with a laundry list of potential benefits that may or may not hold water. It is also very easy to consume through the food we eat, especially citrus. While vitamin C deficiencies are relatively rare, a supplementation regimen may benefit in increasing blood flow. While it is difficult to overdose on vitamin C, it is important to remember that too much of the vitamin can cause GI upset.
If you are considering taking vitamin E, you should do so only if your doctor has suggested it. Vitamin E was once thought to have exceptional heart health, blood flow, and genital health benefits, but there’s plenty of research to show that this may not be the case and that some patients may experience adverse effects. Vitamin E is one of those vitamins you must assess carefully under supervision from your medical team.
Where We’re Going With This
We could list every vitamin that affects bodily functions, but for brevity, we won’t. However, what you probably noticed is that, on the one hand, vitamins and minerals are essential for the proper functioning of the body. On the other hand, taking too much of a good thing can also be problematic. The bottom line is that you should speak to a qualified men’s health specialist like Dr. Natale to understand more about supplementation for sexual health and if it makes sense. Any supplementation regimen should be based upon blood work showing a deficiency. You should not take supplements if your doctor does not approve them or if you are at normal levels for the vitamin or mineral.
The Placebo Effect
There is something to be said for the placebo effect – the power of the mind is truly incredible. And frankly, the placebo effect isn’t all that bad. If you believe it’s going to work and it does with no side effects, great! However, it is crucial that you spend your time researching – and speak to Dr. Natale for guidance.
Because there are few governmental controls, verifying the purity of many of these supplements and blends is left up to the manufacturer or consumer advocacy organizations. Unfortunately, we sometimes hear about tainted supplements that can cause serious medical concerns. This is not to say that all supplements are bad; many companies take great pride in their testing protocols. Instead, we caution patients to be their own advocates and do their research if they opt to supplement.
Simply put, before a man embarks upon any sexual wellness journey that includes supplementation, they must revisit their lifestyle choices and habits. It is important to remember that our body is are highly tuned machines, and anything that throws them off balance can affect the sexual organs – often before other structures in the body. A good rule of thumb is to remember that any lifestyle choice detrimental to your overall health will most certainly harm your sexual health. The problems may be seen in your sexual health first. We always take a first look at your diet and exercise habits and whether you smoke or drink regularly to understand if lifestyle habits may have a role in your sexual dysfunction.
When You Need to See a Men’s Health Specialist
Many men experience problematic sexual health issues that simply cannot be treated through natural remedies or lifestyle choices. This is where a Men’s health specialist like doctor Natale is needed. Be sure to speak to your men’s health specialist at the first signs of sexual dysfunction to get a baseline workup and give yourself the most treatment options available. From medications like Viagra and Cialis to penile implantation for severe erectile dysfunction, your men’s health specialist has many tools to help improve your sex life.
Call us for a consultation at our Charlotte or Mint Hill office locations. We look forward to working with you to find a solution to your sexual health concerns.