Many men are looking for ways to enhance their sexual performance. With that being said, sex is seemingly a mental and physical pursuit that sometimes feels like it should come with an instruction guide. There are a variety of different approaches that may enhance sex drive and sperm quality naturally.
It has been shown that in men, weight loss alone improves sexual function. It is probably because fat produces estrogen, which fights testosterone needed for sexual function. Chronic stress may cause erectile dysfunction. This can happen because stress restricts blood flow to the penis thereby reducing the firmness and duration of erections.
Although prescription drugs like Viagra may help people to achieve erection of the penis, many people prefer natural alternatives that are readily available, discreet, and likely to have fewer side effects. Here in this article we discuss about the supplements that can boost libido and improve sperm quality in terms of motility, quantity and integrity.
In one clinical trial, it is demonstrated that L-carnitine speeds up sperm motility among infertile male patients aged 20 to 40 years old1. It is proven to be effective in improving sperm motility, particularly observed in groups with lower baseline levels in a controlled study, with 1g per day supplementation of L-acetyl carnitine1.
In a separate study, it is shown to have positively altered sperm quantity and heightened the success rate of pregnancy through intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)2. The percentage of grade a + b sperm was significantly increased after L-carnitine supplementation as compared with the baseline and so was the rate of available embryo in the medication group after ICSI in comparison with that of the control group of 77% vs 69% respectively2.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Following research conducted in 2008, it is found that alpha lipoic acid (ALA) could enhance the sperm motility rate and lower sperm DNA damage, thereby improve sperm quality and survival rates3, numbers of studies conducted in recent years shown alike positive results of ALA in both infertile men as well as men with normal sperm characteristics4-6.
As a potent antioxidant, tomato extract with 10mg of lycopene was exhibited to display positive effects on sperm motility and sperm DNA integrity through the provision of protection against oxidative DNA damage7. The therapeutic antioxidant effect of lycopene on sexual germ cells could serve as a promising intervention to oxidative stress-associated infertility problems, such as testicular torsion8. Treatment with lycopene increased the sperm motility in bilateral testes, restored the enzyme activities of catalase and glutathione peroxidase, and restored the ischaemia (blocked blood flow) /reperfusion (restored blood flow)-induced tissue damage in bilateral testes8.
A study conducted on male castrated objects found that the intake of edible bird’s nest may be effective for erectile dysfunction through its role in increasing the levels of sex hormones such as testosterone and luteinizing hormone that are responsible for regulating reproductive system9.
It seems that biochemical compounds in ginseng may protect against oxidative stress in blood vessels and tissues in the penis thus help establish normal function. Additionally, studies have shown that ginseng may promote the production of nitric oxide, a chemical compound that improves muscle relaxation in the penis and increases blood circulation10-12. Nitric oxide is the key molecule responsible for erection as this expansion of muscle allows chambers inside the penis to fill with blood so the penis becomes erect.
In a separate study of 45 patients with erectile dysfunction, use of ginseng improved erectile function, sexual desire, and intercourse satisfaction13.
Lifestyle changes combined with supplements mentioned above may help boost sexual activity without medication. It is important to engage in activities that will maintain the overall health, which plays into sexual health. Reducing stress, eating right, exercising, and avoiding bad habits like smoking and drinking alcohol in excess can keep us in prime shape thereby giving us the sexual confidence. Lastly, remember that desire is at the core of sex.
- Lenzi A, Sgro P, Salacone P, Paoli D, Gilio B, Lombardo F, et al. A placebo-controlled double-blind randomized trial of the use of combined l-carnitine and l-acetyl-carnitine treatment in men with asthenozoospermia. Fertil Steril. 2004;81(6):1578-1584.
- Wu ZM, Lu X, Wang YW, Sun J, Tao JW, Yin FH, et al. Short-term medication of l-carnitine before intracytoplasmic sperm injection for infertile men with oligoasthenozoospermia. Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2012;18(3):253-256.
- Ibrahim SF, Osman K, Das S, Othman AM, Majid NA, Abdul Rahman MP. A study of the antioxidant effect of alpha lipoic acids on sperm quality. Clinics. 2008;64:545-550.
- Haghighian HK, Haidari F, Mohammadi-asl J, Dadfar M. Randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial examining the effects of alpha-lipoic acid supplement on the spermatogram and seminal oxidative stress in infertile men. Fertile and Sterility®. 2015;104(2):318-324.
- Canepa P, Lago AD, Leo Cd, Gallo M, Rizzo C, Licata E, et al. Combined treatment with myo-inositol, alpha-lipoic acid, folic acid and vitamins significantly improves sperm parameters of sub-fertile men: a multi-centric study. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2018;22(20):7078-7085.
- Taherian SS, Khayamabed R, Tavalaee M, Nasr-Esfahani MH. Alpha-lipoic acid minimizes reactive oxygen species-induced damages during sperm processing. Andrologia. 2019;51(8):e13314.
- Zini A, Gabriel MS, Libman J. Lycopene supplementation in vitro can protet human sperm deoxyribonucleic acid from oxidative damage. Fertil Steril. 2010;94(3):1033-1036.
- Hekimoglu A, Kurcer Z, Aral F, Baba F, Sahna E, Atessahin A. Lycopene, an antioxidant carotenoid, attenuates testicular injury caused by ischemia/reperfusion in rats. Tohoku J Exp Med. 2009 Jun;218(2):141-7.
- Ma FC, Liu DC, Dai MX. The effects of the edible bird’s nest on sexual function of male castrated rats. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 2012;6(41):2875-2879.
- Li H, He WY, Lin F, Gou X. Panax notoginseng saponins improve erectile function through attenuation of oxidative stress, restoration of Akt activity and protection of endothelial and smooth muscle cells in diabetic rats with erectile dysfunction. Urol Int. 2014;93(1):92-9.
- Jang DJ, Lee MS, Shin BC, Lee YC, Ernst E. Red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction: a systematic review. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2008 Oct;66(4):444-50.
- McKay D. Nutrients and botanicals for erectile dysfunction: examining the evidence. Altern Med Rev. 2004 Mar;9(1):4-16.
- Hong B, Ji YH, Hong JH, Nam KY, Ahn TY. A double-blind crossover study evaluating the efficacy of korean red ginseng in patients with erectile dysfunction: a preliminary report. J Urol. 2002; 168:2070–3.