By Bahram Dideban, MD
While the spin bike can be a fun bit of cardio, there are sexier ways to get your heart pumping. A bit of pre-cardio warm-up with your significant other might start with a romantic, home-cooked meal. But the kitchen shouldn’t be the only room in the house where you add some sizzle to your sweat. In fact, on a regular basis, you spend more time in the bedroom than any other room of your home, and sleeping shouldn’t be the only thing you do in there. Why not let us spice up your love life with seven simple supplements for better sexual health?
While you and your partner peruse this list, remember that sexual health doesn’t simply start and stop at the bedroom door. And always keep in mind that you should speak with your significant other about sexual health concerns and talk with your doctor before visiting your favourite supplement store looking for something to keep you prim, pretty, and in your prime (and out of your clothes).
Iron plays an important role in biology where it functions as the oxygen-carrying portion of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells. Iron deficiency can lead to reduced production of hemoglobin and red blood cells, and ultimately lead to anemia. Also, because women menstruate, they are much more likely to be deficient in iron than most men. Iron deficiency may be the reason you feel fatigued, tire easily during activity, or have strange symptoms like leg cramps or cravings for ice.
Iron is found in all meats, red meat especially, but also chicken, fish, and turkey. If you’re a vegetarian, make sure you include as much iron-rich sources in your diet as possible, like leafy green vegetables, beans, and whole grains. You could also switch to a women’s formulation high-iron multivitamin or speak with your doctor about iron supplements. Typical doses of ferrous sulfate iron tablets are usually around 300 mg per day but they are not completely free from side effects like bloating, cramping, or occasional constipation, so seek advice first.
Humans have a close relationship with bacteria — so close, in fact, that we have more bacterial cells living within us than we have human ones! Trillions of bacteria live in our small and large intestines and inside a woman’s reproductive tract where, among other things, they regulate and balance the pH of the vagina. Since these bacteria are sensitive to the acidic changes in the female genital tract, their population is easily disrupted, leading to things like vaginal yeast infections or urinary tract infections. (Not a pleasant topic of conversation, we know.)
In the same way a poor diet can be detrimental to these bacteria, proper nutrition can help them thrive and, in turn, ward off infections and diseases. Dairy products like yogurt and kefir are rich sources of probiotics, the good bacteria that help reconstitute your optimum bacterial flora. If you’re not fond of dairy, or are sensitive to it, there are a variety of supplements available instead that you can add to your daily regimen.
Despite the miracle that it is, the female monthly cycle may play havoc with the body both physically and emotionally. Most of the effects of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), the severity of which can vary widely from person to person, are due to the hormones estrogen and progesterone that surge during this time of the month. Certain compounds, like those found in black cohosh, act similarly to estrogens present in the body and can therefore mitigate some of the effects of PMS. They may even play a medicinal role in menopause, painful menstruation, acne, weakened bones, or inducing labour in pregnant patients, all of which are due to changes in estrogen and progesterone.
Although older studies have shown little evidence to support the effectiveness of black cohosh, a more recent study of 40 mg per day for 12 weeks published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology did find support for its efficacy during symptoms of menopause.