5 Vitamins for Men’s Sexual Health
Unfortunately, factors like aging and antidepressant use, among others, can foil your plans for an intimate evening.
But not all of that is out of your control. One thing you can choose to triumph over is a poor diet.
Experts agree that it’s better to get most of your vitamins from food. On this one, there’s no quick fix. Five nutrients you need to know:
5: Vitamin C
Lemons! The vitamin C you find in all that is citrus-y, along with peppers, potatoes and strawberries, increases blood flow. That’s important because pressurized blood is what gives you an erection — the arteries that go to that oh-socrucial area open up, while the veins going out of it narrow. Your blood is now where it needs to be, and since it has nowhere to go, your penis has to accommodate it somehow. Vitamin C helps this process happen. An added benefit for older men, who are more prone to them to than younger guys: Vitamin C can help you get rid of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Be careful not to take too much, though (never more than 2,000 milligrams — stick with 90) — we can all agree that nothing ruins the mood quite like diarrhea.
4: Folic Acid/Folate
Folate is what we call the natural vitamin that’s found in foods, while folic acid is the man-made version that you find in supplements.
It’s also added to your pasta, cereal, flour and all of your other enriched grain products.
Some studies have shown a connection between folate/folic acid and a reduction in abnormal sperm. Others even suggest it can help increase sperm count if you combine it with zinc.
Bag up some peas (black-eyed or otherwise), asparagus and avocado — or try bananas, papaya and cantaloupe. Tomato juice works, too.
3: Carnitine and Vitamin E
OK, carnitine isn’t a vitamin, but while vitamin E has shown in some studies to improve sperm activity, there’s much better evidence for carnitine, something your body uses to transform fat into energy.
It’s not considered an essential nutrient, and you get what you need from your own body — your liver and kidneys make it for you. Even though you don’t need any more than your body produces, supplements of carnitine have shown to help with sexual dysfunction, and sperm quality and motility.
As for vitamin E, it’s an antioxidant, it strengthens your immune system, and keeps your blood from clotting dangerously, among other functions your cells need. And you can find it in foods that are good for snacking, like almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds.
2: Vitamin B12
No one wants a vitamin deficiency, especially when that vitamin is one that takes care of your nerves and blood cells. And that goes double if this same nutrient is one of several that keep you from experiencing anemia, a condition that makes you incredibly tired and weak and gives you a lovely ghostly pallor.
The vitamin is B12, and you can only get it from animal foods — lamb, liver, sardines, clams and beef all have plenty. Vegetarians can stick with eggs and some cheeses, but vegans are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.
Another group at risk is people older than 60, for reasons medicine doesn’t yet understand. In older men, this deficiency has been linked to a low sperm count and lazier sperm.
1: Niacin (Vitamin B3)
You’ve already gotten acquainted with two of the B complex vitamins; get to know another important member: Vitamin B3, also known as niacin. Niacin is notable when it comes to your sex life because it helps make sex hormones and improves your circulation. It also regulates things like sleep patterns — and erectile dysfunction. Supplements aren’t necessary to keep you niacinrich — you almost always get enough from your diet, whether you’re the king of beet recipes, a voracious red-meat eater or simply a drinker of milk.