When it comes to sexy times, don’t underestimate the role that your mood and energy play. They impact how revved you feel as well as how ready your body is for sex. And we know that when you’re deep in a fertility journey, sex can be, well… totally unsexy. If you could use a little extra fire—whether it’s for ovulation sex or just to rediscover your libido—adding a boost to your mood, energy and, of course blood flow (as well as your partner’s, if you have one) will help get you on your way.
You may have heard the saying “Arginine will make you large” which comes from Arginine’s ability to improve erectile function by increasing blood flow. Arginine produces a compound called nitric oxide that helps dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow, while also reducing high blood pressure. In men with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction, Arginine has been shown to increase testosterone, improve erectile function and increase sexual satisfaction. No penis? No problem. Arginine can still improve the body’s blood flow, and we even see it used in fertility treatments to help thicken the endometrial lining.
Need a physical boost? Carnitine can help increase energy and improve muscle function and stamina. It’s used to enhance physical endurance, improve post-exercise recovery, all while protecting heart tissue. It’s a compound that increases the body’s energy by working with CoQ10 to shuttle fatty acids into the mitochondria, the cell’s powerhouse. And don’t forget about recouping: Carnitine can help with that too by reducing physical fatigue and improving muscle recovery.
Many of us know Vitamin D as the vitamin that keeps the “winter blues” away, but you might not know that Vitamin D can affect our mood on multiple levels. It positively influences the gut microbiome, which is the collection of helpful bacteria that can produce signals that affect our mood. Vitamin D is also used to produce serotonin, a chemical messenger in the brain that promotes positive feelings. One study showed that supplementing with 1000 IU daily improved fatigue and depression in women with postpartum depression symptoms. Another study found that when women with low levels supplemented with Vitamin D, it led to improved sexual desire and satisfaction.
Almost all B vitamins have major roles in energy production, and many, including Pyridoxine (B6), Biotin (B9) and Cobalamin (B12) are required for oxygen delivery to the body’s tissues. This has great implications on our feelings of well-being, but it also explains how we can feel physically depleted after a mentally heavy day. The brain is a highly active organ, continuously consuming and using energy to function, and therefore we can easily run through our B vitamins quickly if we’ve been particularly stressed. This can cause us to feel fatigued and have lower tolerance for exercise, both of which are a problem if you’re looking to increase arousal and sexual function.
Vitamin B6, found in the form of Pyridoxine or Pyridoxal-5-phosphate, helps release extra glucose fuel when your muscles need it. It’s also needed to build hemoglobin, the protein that carries and transports oxygen in our blood, and to produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine which promote feelings of motivation and reward.
Vitamin B12, the active form of which is called Methylcobalamin, can highly affect our energy. Having low levels of B12 can cause major declines in energy and exercise tolerance. Studies have shown that supplementing with Vitamin B12 can improve mood and decrease feelings of stress.
Zinc is an antioxidant mineral known for its immune-boosting properties and its role in sperm development, but Zinc levels have also been associated with concentrations of testosterone, the hormone that can increase sex drive for both people with eggs and people with sperm. In a recent study of post-menopausal women with poor sexual function and low baseline Zinc levels, supplementing with Zinc led to increased testosterone and significant improvements in sexual desire, arousal, sexual satisfaction and vaginal lubrication.
An effect on testosterone levels was also found in a small preliminary study of varsity football players. When supplemented with 30 mg of Zinc in addition to Magnesium and Vitamin B6 testosterone levels increased compared to those given placebo.
Supplementing with nutrients and vitamins alone may not put your libido into overdrive but they can make a significant difference if you’re feeling depleted, stressed, fatigued or overworked. And good news: You can find them within our various prenatal formulas (try our short quiz to find out which is best for you!). Supplements that help improve energy, mood and the body’s blood flow are a great way to get both the body and mind primed for fun in the bedroom (or wherever!).