“Everything in the world is about sex, except sex.”
Although Oscar Wild wanted to refer to something else here, that part of his famous statement can define sexual drive. Everything can certainly influence sexual satisfaction and sexual desire. We can categorize the main factors that boost or diminish libido into; physical, psychological, and social.
Nootropics are considered very effective in treating people with sexual desire problems. This article explains how sexual drive works, what can influence it, and how scientific studies evaluate the impact of some common nootropics for sex drive and libido.
- The Science Behind Sexual Drive And Libido
- Physical Disorders Suppressing Libido
- Nootropics For Better Sex Drive
- Nootropics For Sex Drive And Libido: Summing Up
The Science Behind Sexual Drive And Libido
Biologically speaking, libido is driven by sex hormones and their associated neurotransmitters. Our champions here are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, the sex hormones that, besides being responsible for libido and reproduction, influence your physical, psychological, and mental health . They are carried over by dopamine, the neurotransmitter that controls sexual motivation and genital reflexes through a set of neuronal systems [2, 3].
Now the compelling question is; “What can influence these biological regulators of sexual drive”?
We can see the social factor in the simple absence or extensive presence of intimacy chances. The psychological factors are present in the mood state fluctuating between pleasure driving high libido and stress or depression diminishing it. While studies show that the social and psychological factors can indirectly affect the biological regulators of libido, the physical factors directly impact the exact substances that regulate sexual drive.
Physical Disorders Suppressing Libido
The endocrine system is mainly responsible for the feedback of hormones in the body. Physical disorders in the endocrine system, such as in the metabolic disease of hypothyroidism and chronic kidney disease, have been associated with sexual dysfunction in women . Other common physical disorders like excessive alcohol consumption, fatigue, and sleep deprivation were strongly linked to alteration of sex steroids, reduced testosterone concentrations, and collectively lower libido levels [5, 6]. Unsurprisingly, studies showed that severe health issues like incurring strokes, heart failure, or eating disorders also cause decreased libido levels in men and women [7, 8, 9]. While physical disorders work directly on the hormones and the neurological systems regulating the sex drive, there are ways to directly influence these biological regulators in patients and even normal people who experience lower libido from other non-physical reasons.
Nootropics For Better Sex Drive
Research provides us with some evidence on the exact chemical substances existing in nootropics that can directly enhance libido levels. We investigate here five common potent examples.
1. Cocoa Extract Chocolate, A Sweet Sex Drive Enhancer
We wanted to start the list with something familiar, delicious, and not only found in supplements—good news for chocolate lovers.
Various health benefits have been found in flavonoid-rich cocoa and chocolate, yet recent studies showed that their chemical compounds lead to improved endothelial function in men. Additionally, chocolate regulates phenylethylamine and serotonin in the blood leading to higher libido levels .
For that matter, dark chocolate has a much more significant impact than white or milk chocolate. That is because of the percentage of cocoa extract that implies a higher intensity of the flavonoid compounds responsible for regulating sexual drive.
Chocolate elevating sexual desire, particularly in women, is not completely a myth. A study was performed on a group of Italian women. It showed a significant increase in the female sexual function index (FSFI) scores of the group that has reported eating chocolate within a sample of 163 women . Another study that included southern Californian women came with contradicting results. Women who have higher chocolate consumption reported less interest in sex. The study tried to explain its results that chocolate satisfaction might have substituted the need for sex .
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2. Maca Libido Nootropics For Both Genders
Maca is a plant from the high Andes mountains of Peru. Lepidium meyenii is its scientific name, whereas it got its maca-maca name from the Peruvian Quechuan languages. It can be dried into baking flour or cooked with food as a root vegetable.
Maca showed substantial improvements in sexual drive enhancement in women trials. Throughout a 12 weeks study involving 45 females with antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction, the group treated with 3.0 grams per day of maca-root showed higher remission rates in their sexual drive. These results confirmed the positive impact of maca in improving libido in postmenopausal women .
Trials on men treated with maca showed similar sexual desire improvements. This study involved men aged 21-56 years who received 1.5 or 3 grams of maca per day over 8 to 12 weeks. Although serum testosterone and oestradiol levels were not affected during treatment, the participants showed positive impacts on libido independent of mood or testosterone levels . Side positive sexual functional impacts were observed in a different study, in which a combination of maca root with the Chinese chive seed led to a significantly higher ejaculation frequency and a notable increase in nitric oxide (NO) levels in the penis .
3. TT, Tribulus Terrestris Effective Libido Supplement
TT is an annual plant found all over the world and originated from southern Eurasia and Africa. In some regions, it is known as goat's-head, devil's-weed, bhakhdi, or caltrop. Some states in the United States have declared it a noxious weed harmful for livestock .
Traditionally the plant was used in China, India, and Sudan to treat headaches, vertigo, skin pruritus, infertility, and inflammatory disorders. Recent studies showed that TT compounds like steroidal saponins and flavonoids, with their anti-aging and anti-inflammatory activities, are the main contributors to the plant's pharmacological benefits .
Supplements with Tribulus Terrestris are promoted as sexual performance enhancers. However, there is not enough evidence to link TT to increased testosterone levels; pharmacological studies showed its potentials in boosting sexual drive in humans . In a study performed over 18 months, female participants showed improvements in their sexual drive after receiving 750 mg per day of T. Terrestris .
4. Saffron A Unique Spice For Libido
Saffron is one of the most precious and expensive species globally, retailing for a price that goes up to $10,000 per kilo ($4,536 /lb) .
The spice is derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, an autumn-flowering perennial plant that possibly originated in Crete or Central Asia. Currently, Iran is responsible for 90-93% of its global production.
Saffron has been shown to treat sexual disorders. Multiple studies that included 173 participants showed a significant positive impact of saffron in treating lower libido and sexual dysfunctions in participants . In another study group that included female participants with antidepressant-induced sexual problems, saffron was observed to be safe and effective in improving their FSFI scores significantly .
In a male study, patients with antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunctions, who were treated with 15 mg twice per day over four weeks, showed greater improvement in erectile function and intercourse desire and satisfaction domains .
5. Ginkgo Biloba Super Nootropics For Women
Ginkgo is a large tree, also known as maidenhair tree, which originates in China, with a history that goes back to 200 million years. The tree extract is common in dietary supplements with various claimed health benefits like enhanced memory or attention.
Studies showed that the extract of Ginkgo biloba could facilitate blood flow, raise nitric oxide (NO) levels, and relax muscle tissue. These effects accumulate in higher libido levels in women .
Another study included both male and female participants. A daily dosage of 209 mg of the leaf extract resulted in treating 84% of the antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. The positive effect was observed on the four phases of the sexual response cycle, desire, excitement, orgasm, and afterglow. Women were more responsive to the effects of Ginkgo biloba still than men .
Nootropics For Sex Drive And Libido: Summing Up
Boosting sexual drive or treating low libido levels requires a multi-dimensional approach. People who aim to improve their sexual function need to start with a global analysis of the multiple factors regulating their libido.
You cannot possibly enhance sexual drive without considering surrounding intimate relationship factors, your mood alterations, and the physical state of your body.
Nevertheless, nootropics can help to solve physical disorders and trigger the sexual regulators responsible for sexual drive. Among a wide variety of substances and supplements, some nootropics have been shown to be very effective in treating sexual desire problems. Studies on Coca extra, maca, TT, Saffron, and Ginkgo are promising nootropics for libido in healthy adults as well as patients overcoming antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction.