Nootropics are not only for mental enhancements; some may also have a potent effect on libido
Some herbal nootropics, such as ashwagandha, can raise levels of testosterone
There are nootropics that can increase blood flow, which may help with arousal
Nootropics are generally used to enhance cognition and mental ability. But that’s not their only function. Many of them can also help support a healthy sex drive.
Whether you’re male or female, there’s a good chance you’ll run into sexual issues, especially as you get older.
Whether it’s low libido, lack of desire, or physical performance, problems in the bedroom can put a real damper on your whole life.
Luckily, there are a few holistic OTC supplements that can help you get the spark back. Keep in mind that the main factors in sexual health have to do with your overall health.
Nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress levels, and overall mental & physical fitness are significant factors that you need to consider.
However, if you are taking care of yourself in the right ways, it’s possible nootropics could help you increase your edge in the bedroom.
What Are The Best For Nootropics For Sex Drive And Libido - Quick Answers
|Testo Lab Pro||Invigorates masculine energy, virility & potency||Learn More|
|Ashwagandha||Traditional herb with potent relaxing effects||Learn More|
|Mucuna Pruriens||Natural dopamine||Learn More|
|Pine Bark Extract||All natural ADHD remedy||Learn More|
|Alpha-GPC||Great source of choline that works well in nootropic stacks||Learn More|
|Citicoline||Supercharged source of choline for your brain||Learn More|
The Endocrine System and Libido
Your endocrine system controls your level of sex drive and libido.
The endocrine system is composed of endocrine glands and hormone-producing tissues, hormones, and hormone receptors.
These glands include the pineal glands, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, thymus gland, and adrenal glands. Several organs and tissues that secrete hormones are also present and include, for example, the hypothalamus, heart, stomach, pancreas, ovaries in females and testes in males.1Carolyn Johnstone, Charles Hendry, Alistair Farley, Ella McLafferty. Endocrine System: Part 1, Nurs Stand. 2014
These glands produce hormones, or chemical messengers, secreted into the interstitial fluid, diffuse into blood capillaries, and are carried via the circulatory system to target organs.
Even though sex hormone production occurs specifically in the adrenal glands, testes (men), and ovaries (females), their production depends on the entire endocrine system working in harmony.
If even one part is off, the dysfunction cascades and sabotages the function of the organs downstream.
This means sex hormones are not made, and you don’t get that desire to get it on.
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Sex Drive, Neurotransmitters, and The Brain
The brain plays a major role in your desire to have sex.
There is so much happening at a biochemical level that can directly influence this desire.2Arthur L Burnett, Michael C Truss. Mediators of the Female Sexual Response: Pharmacotherapeutic Implications, World J Urol. 2002
While there are plenty of plants and foods touted for their aphrodisiac effects, understanding the interplay of neurotransmitters, hormones, and the nervous system can potentially help you hack your sex drive.
Stress and Sex
It’s important to remember that your body is a 2 million-year-old organism that houses some incredibly intuitive machinery.
One great example is the balance of stress response and sex hormones.
Sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen are made in your adrenal glands at the direction of your HPA Axis.3S E WAXENBERG, M G DRELLICH, A M SUTHERLAND. The Role of Hormones in Human Behavior. I. Changes in Female Sexuality After Adrenalectomy, J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1959
The HPA Axis is your body’s internal stress response system and is always on the lookout.
It regulates your sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) autonomic nervous systems.4Kamani Liyanarachchi, Richard Ross, Miguel Debono. Human Studies on Hypothalamo-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis, Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017
At any given time, your body is in one or the other of these nervous system states. It cannot be both sympathetic and parasympathetic simultaneously.
When your body is in a panic, i.e., fight or flight, it makes stress hormones like cortisol and norepinephrine.
Sex hormones, however, are a product of a stress-free, parasympathetic state in the body.5Emma C. Hart, Nisha Charkoudian, and Virginia M. Miller. Sex, Hormones and Neuroeffector Mechanisms, Acta Physiol (Oxf) 2012
Your body’s intrinsic response to stress will always prioritize making stress hormones over sex hormones. This is known as the pregnenolone (or cortisol) steal.
When you think about our human evolution, this makes sense. How can you want to get your groove on when your running from a tiger?
This response is still with us today and plays a huge role in much sexual dysfunction.
Understanding how to lower your stress response in favor of producing more sex hormones is the ultimate libido hack!
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Understanding The Natural Female Libido
Unlike men, women’s sexual desire comes from estrogen and testosterone’s interplay made in her ovaries.6Maurand Cappellettia and Kim Wallen. Increasing women’s sexual desire: The comparative effectiveness of estrogens and androgens, Horm Behav. 2017
While testosterone does play into a woman’s libido, estrogen provides an overwhelming influence.7]Lorraine Dennerstein, John Randolph, John Taffe, Emma Dudley, Henry Burger. Hormones, Mood, Sexuality, and the Menopausal Transition, Fertil Steril. 2002
Many studies show that a woman’s interest in sex has a lot to do with her menstrual cycle timing and typically peaks midcycle around the time of ovulation.8S H Van Goozen, V M Wiegant, E Endert, F A Helmond, N E Van de Poll. Psychoendocrinological Assessment of the Menstrual Cycle: The Relationship Between Hormones, Sexuality, and Mood, Mood, Arch Sex Behav.1997
Cortisol and stress-hormone production also plays an important role in sex drive. These glucocorticoids can disrupt the production of estrogen, which can sabotage libido.9Fatma Ela Keskin, Hande Mefkure Özkaya, Mazhar Ortaç, Emre Salabaş, Ateş Kadıoğlu, and Pınar Kadıoğlu. Sexual function in women with Cushing’s Syndrome: A controlled study, Turk J Urol. 2018
This makes sense since the body prioritizes survival with a stress response over reproduction.
For a woman to truly optimize her sex drive, she must optimize estrogen production, which requires lowering glucocorticoid response.
This is best done by lowering stress and managing the HPA Axis.
Understanding The Natural Male Libido
Testosterone levels play a large role in maintaining a healthy sex drive for menThe male libido is, of course, a complicated system, but one of the primary issues is testosterone.
Testosterone is a hormone that regulates sex drive, desire, and sperm production.
It also plays a significant role in other important health aspects like muscle growth, sleep, and mood.
Like estrogen, testosterone production is highly dependent on the HPA axis function and keeping the body’s stress response low.10George N. Nassar; Fernando Raudales; Stephen W. Leslie.. Physiology, Testosterone
, StatPearls. 2020
High stress-hormone production due to physical and emotional stress can sap the body of its ability to produce testosterone.
Low testosterone can be one source of sexual issues. Fortunately, some nootropic remedies may give you the boost you need.
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Sex Hormones and Gut Health
New research into the microbiome is revealing a connection between gut bacterial diversity and sex hormones.11Ji-Hee Shin , Young-Hee Park, Minju Sim, Seong-Ah Kim, Hyojee Joung, Dong-Mi Shin. Serum level of sex steroid hormone is associated with diversity and profiles of human gut microbiome
, Res Microbiol
. Jun-Aug 2019
Having a gut filled with diverse species of bacteria is proving to be beneficial for overall health and has been shown to influence both testosterone in men and estrogen in women positively.
A good way to get a diverse microbiome is to eat a diverse diet made up of whole-foods. This includes organic fruits, vegetables, meat from pasture-raised animals, and minimal fried foods.
Probiotics are also a great way to add diversity to your microbiome.
The point of a good probiotic is to supply your gut with bacterial strains that you can’t get from food. This includes fermented foods.
Most people are lacking many beneficial bacterial strains due to a history of antibiotics, pharmaceuticals, and poor diet.
A good probiotic will reseed your gut with good bacteria, which can help boost sex hormone production. Check out my recommendation below.
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The added Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin D help keep your hormone production pathways optimized for proper nutrient synthesis while at the same time reducing stress hormones.
Traditional herb with potent relaxing effects
Ashwagandha is a nootropic herb that Southeast Asian cultures have been using for millennia to treat many issues, including low libido. Its name literally means “smell of horse” in Sanskrit (and we all know what else horses are famous for)
Ashwagandha has been proven to raise testosterone in males.
It can also increase the amount of oxygen circulating in the body, resulting in better erections. These two benefits could translate to better performance in bed.12Wankhede, Langade, Joshi, Sinha, Battacharyya. Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial., Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 201513Lopresti, Drummond, Smith. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study Examining the Hormonal and Vitality Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Aging, Overweight Males, American Journal of Men's Health. 2019
This herb is considered an adaptogen, meaning that it can keep stress levels in check.
Trials show that it substantially lowers the stress hormone cortisol, which is the enemy of testosterone.
We all know how difficult it is to get in the mood when you’re feeling anxious, and ashwagandha could potentially alleviate some of that pressure.14Chandrasekhar. A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults, Indian Journal Of Psychological Medicine 2014
Ashwagandha can also increase the quality of sperm, which may be helpful if you are trying to conceive.15Mahdi, Shukla. Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility., Evidence-Based Complementary And Alternative Medicine 2009
And this nootropic is not only beneficial to men; it can also improve the sex life of women as well. One study found that it was effective in treating women who were suffering from a lack of arousal or difficulty achieving orgasm.16Dongre, Langade. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Improving Sexual Function in Women: A Pilot Study, Biomed Res Intl 2015
All in all, ashwagandha is one of the best natural remedies for low sex drive out there.
Mucuna Pruriens is an amazing nootropic for both male sexual function and desire.
It is a natural testosterone booster, which means better sexual performance, but also increased motivation.
Mucuna Pruriens is also a great source of L-dopa which adds to its ability to boost libido.
Clinical studies show Mucuna's potency for also boosting overall male fertility.
Read more about Mucuna Pruriens
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Pine Bark Extract is another natural remedy for erectile dysfunction.
This extract of the Pinus pinaster tree can increase nitrous levels in the blood. This natural chemical compound improves overall vascular health, but can specifically enhance erections.
Another benefit of pine bark is that it can improve sperm count and mobility.
But the effects of pine bark extract on libido is not limited to men. One study found that pine bark extract “improves sexual function across all domains” in healthy women. 17Bottari, Belcarlo. Lady Prelox® improves sexual function in generally healthy women of reproductive age., Minerva Ginecol 2013
Because blood flow is so vital for desire and sexual performance, pine bark extract can be a great way to support your sex drive holistically.
Great source of choline that works well in nootropic stacks
Boosting your acetylcholine levels can also improve your sex life. Acetylcholine (ACh) is the most abundant neurotransmitter in your nervous system, and it affects pretty much every system in the body, including libido and sex drive.
ACh is necessary to send impulses from your brain to your nether regions. 18Choline: Why You Should Eat Your Egg Yolks And Take Krill, ProHealth.com. 2016
It can also boost levels of nitrous oxide in your blood, another huge factor in sexual performance, especially for men.19Carriere, El-Fakahany. Choline is a full agonist in inducing activation of neuronal nitric oxide synthase via the muscarinic M1 receptor, Pharmacology. 2000
While these are the most widely used supplements for libido, this field is ever-expanding (pun intended).
What Nootropics are you using for boosting your sex drive? Lets us know in the comments. (I know we’re all adults here, but please try to keep it clean!)