Vitamin E and Sex Drive: New Applications for a Familiar Nutrient
Vitamin E and Sex Drive - These days you can't turn on the television without being bombarded with ads for products promising a better sex life, especially products designed for men. While many of these products deliver their intended effects at a substantial price, for many people there is a low-cost, safe and usually overlooked first line of treatment: vitamin E.
As a general rule, even if cost is no object, you should take the smallest dose of the least toxic medication first, or rely on nutrition. People seeking help with sexual difficulties should consider the many interdependencies of vitamin E and sex drive. Most men who take vitamin E for at least a week notice more sexual energy, harder, longer lasting erections, more pleasure when touched, stronger libido, and more powerful and frequent orgasms. Most women who take vitamin E for at least 3 months notice stronger sexual desire, more engorgement, sensation, better lubrication, and intense climaxes.
Before American men got Viagra, European men got Afrador. This reliably effective treatment for erectile dysfunction contains 33 mg, or about 50 IU, of vitamin E. Afrador offers about 3 times the RDA of vitamin E, but far less than the 2000 to 3000 IU a day megadose some "experts" suggest would help male potency.
For men exploiting the connection between vitamin E and sex drive for sexual potency, the key consideration isn't quantity but quality. A small amount of balanced tocopherols will do a lot more good than a large amount of synthetic alpha-tocopherol. Balanced preparations of antioxidant vitamin E cancel out some of the free radicals released when the body responds to stress. Nitric oxide is more easily liberated to help the blood vessels in the sex organ dilate for erection. Vitamin E is especially helpful for men experiencing stress of overwork or illness. Its effects are typically noticed after about a week's use.
The link between vitamin E and sex drive is also helpful in women. Taking a larger dose of the vitamin, 600 to 800 IU a daily, helps a woman's body produce estriol and progesterone to balance estrogen.
That's why vitamin E is especially helpful when the root cause of female sexual dysfunction is an excess of estrogen. A condition of "estrogen dominance" causes the symptoms of PMS, namely anxiety, bloating, headaches, muscle aches, and mood swings. Taking 600 to 800 IU of vitamin E daily for 3 months (or, more precisely, through three menstrual cycles) will help relieve these problems. Providing the body with enough vitamin E also helps a woman's body respond to progesterone and progesterone creams taken to relieve symptoms.
The connection between vitamin E and sex drive is also important for women going through the "perimenopause," usually occurring between ages 45 and 49. Symptoms of the hormonal disturbances of this time of life are caused by wildly fluctuating estrogen levels. Women experiencing perimenopause have the problems associated with menopause, notably loss of interest in sex, periodic hot flashes, insomnia, and depression, even though they are still having their periods.
Taking vitamin E helps the body conserve the building blocks of estrogen, estriol, and the progesterone it needs for hormonal balance. Most doctors who offer estrogen replacement therapy don't both to check progesterone levels. With vitamin E supplementation, a woman's body has a chance to keep the progesterone it needs for hormonal balance.
Vitamin E is especially important for women who have had surgical removal of the ovaries. Most doctors assume that since women who have had oophorectomies don't have their ovaries, they don't need progesterone. They overlook that replacing estrogen alone can cause serious side effects, and that progesterone prevents water retention and weight gain, enhances functions of the central nervous system, and helps protect the breasts from cell changes that can lead to cancer.
Another connection between vitamin E and sex drive is preventing that destroyer of sex lives in men, prostate cancer. Finnish scientists have found that the risk of risk of prostate cancer can be cut significantly when both of vitamin E's major components -- alpha- and gamma-tocopherol -- are both present in high levels in the blood, according to an analysis of 100 men with prostate cancer and 200 men who were cancer-free.
In this study published in the Journal of the American Cancer Institute in March 2005, men with the highest levels of alpha-tocopherol in their blood at the beginning of they study were 51 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer. Those who had the highest levels of the form of vitamin E known as gamma-tocopherol were 43 percent less likely to be stricken with the disease. The link between high tocopherol levels and the reduced prostate cancer risk was stronger among men who used vitamin E supplements than among men who didn't.
These clinical studies and the experiences of millions of people who take supplements show the link between vitamin E and sex drive is a potent one. Many people have taken vitamin E supplements without ill effects and with good results for as long as 40 years.
What's the very latest official word on the safety of vitamin E?
An April 2005 article the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that vitamin E, like vitamin C, is safe for long-term use at a wide range of dosages. In this article, scientists at ten universities in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and Switzerland agree that the usual "theoretical side effects" of even high doses of vitamin E (more than 1000 IU a day) simply don't occur. Even 1600 IU (1073 mg) a day has no detrimental side effects in healthy people. Use vitamin E knowing it is beneficial.
Just be sure your supplement contains both of the major forms of vitamin E, alpha- and gamma-tocopherol, preferably with other tocopherols and tocotrienols listed on the label. To enjoy the full benefits of vitamin E without attempting to get your vitamin E in food, consider Total Balance.
All of the 85 ingredients in Total Balance work in complete synergy without interfering with each other. You don't need high doses of any one form of vitamin E - just a highly concentrated, natural supplement providing all the vitamin E in food.
All of our editors take Total Balance and we are very satisfied with the vitamin E and sex drive benefits to our personal lives and our overall health.