Nutrients for Peak Sexual Performance

Chris Regal | Feb 27th 2013

Reviewed by Jennifer Sobol, D.O.

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There are a variety of factors that contribute to a man’s libido, some with the ability to boost a man’s sexual potential. But which nutrients are the most important for keeping the sex drive alive? Here are foods that can help, according to scientific studies.

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Protein

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Protein is a key substance needed to produce testosterone in men. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that many vegetarians consume a low protein diet, leading to sexual problems later in life. Low protein diets were found to increase sex hormone-binding globulin in older men, which sticks to testosterone, making it unavailable for use by the body.

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Zinc

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Zinc deficiency is linked to hypogonadism in men, a condition in which the sex glands produce little or no hormones.  Researchers found that zinc can also play an important role in helping to regulate testosterone levels. Ultimately, zinc supplementation was linked to dramatic increases in testosterone in zinc-deficient young men and “significant” increases in elderly men with moderate zinc deficiency.

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Fiber

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Consuming fiber keeps things moving in a man’s system, so to speak. But fiber is also associated with sex hormone-binding globulin, like protein.  Consuming a sufficient amount of fiber reduces the amount of globulin that binds to testosterone, leaving more of the sex hormone for the body to use for sexual activity. Fiber can also help control your weight, helpful because an expanded waistline could inhibit sexual performance.

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Vitamin C

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In research from the Dubai Specialized Medical Center and Research Labs, vitamin C supplements were found to increase semen quality. Among infertile men, sperm count was increased significantly after taking vitamin C for two months. Though the study used vitamin C supplements, you can find the vitamin in citrus fruits, berries, watermelon, green and red peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and spinach, among others.

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Magnesium

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According to research from the University of Parma, magnesium intake affects the total amount of testosterone activity in the body, especially among older men.  The study found that, in addition to being positively associated with testosterone in the body, magnesium acts as a modulator during the disruptive aging process; magnesium can help hold off the aging process, which can help a man stay youthful in terms of sexual performance.

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L-arginine

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L-arginine is an amino acid that helps with heart health, chest pain, high blood pressure, and migraine headaches, among other uses. Oh, and it is also used as a natural treatment for erectile dysfunction and male infertility. In the body, l-arginine is converted into nitric oxide, which opens up blood vessels for improved blood flow. It’s found in dairy products, red meat, poultry, and fish.

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Healthy diet

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Most of all, eat a nutritious diet. Packing on too much weight can be bad for a man’s sex drive. In addition to a decrease in sex hormones when aging, men are also prone to pack on the pounds around the gut, which can reduce sex hormones produced by the body. Obesity is known to increase risk of developing erectile dysfunction as well. Want to perform at your peak? Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet.

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Negative: Soy

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A case study published in the journal Nutrition found that a man with type 1 diabetes who had low testosterone regained full sexual functionality after cessation of his soy-rich vegan diet. That said, soy isn’t all bad, as it has been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and risks of some cancers. Soy is hidden in many processed foods so read labels to make sure you limit your overall intake of soy.