In today’s stressful world, it is often difficult to find the time to show your appreciation for your special someone. Day to day stresses, let alone those compounded by the pandemic, can all have a major impact on our health, libido, and our mood. When faced with modern life that is inexplicably working against us, it can become difficult to maintain an emotional and physical relationship with your significant other. Is there a way of changing your outlook, lifestyle, or wellbeing through turmeric supplements, and is turmeric good for libido?
We reached out to Dr Lucy Ellis to help us discover the science behind turmeric, curcumin, and libido.
The following article has been co-written by The Turmeric Co. alongside Dr Lucy Ellis, Nutritionist MSc, BSc, ANutr, PhDc Nutrition.
Dr Ellis is a Qualified Nutritionist, Online Coach, and Owner of Alpha Nutrition Consultancy.
Find more from Dr Ellis on her Instagram.
How stress lowers your sex drive
Studies have confirmed decreases in functional connectivity and task deactivation in those of us with lower moods, meaning we are less productive and less engaged when under stress.
Naturally, when you’re stressed or feeling negative emotions, you may not want to sexually engage at all. However, this can become doubly stress-inducing when you do want to, but your stress levels won’t let you perform physically. As many of us know, not only can stress negatively affect our mood, but it can also affect our libido (or sex drive).
Stress, inflammation, and lifestyle contributors
Dr Ellis first draws our attention to lifestyle influences on stress, and how this can conflate with a decrease in libido. Multiple studies have identified a pro-inflammatory lifestyle is also attributed to poor mood. Lifestyle factors such as excess adipose tissue (which relates to body fat), low intake of fruits and vegetables, substance abuse and lack of exercise all contribute individually or collectively to a pro-inflammatory state and thus, can contribute to poor mood, stress and reduced libido.
Medication for your libido
Dr Ellis notes that nowadays we have medications which can acutely increase our sex drive, impact our mood or reduce inflammation (NSAIDs). Whilst these medications have multiple years of data backing their efficacy, many people choose not to try a pharmaceutical route and instead wish to try a more natural therapeutic alternative to begin with. There are also some known limitations to these medications, which we’ll reach shortly.
Whilst we do believe natural alternatives have shown positive changes for some people, related to a turmeric sex drive relationship, we don’t discredit pharmaceutical medication. Should you require medical advice, we please ask you discuss this with your GP. We’re simply here to make those who are frustrated aware of an alternative.
The turmeric x sex drive relationship
In ancient Indian culture, turmeric was long recognised as an aphrodisiac and similarly in Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used as an anti-inflammatory and mood booster. These are positive suggestions that not only could you use turmeric for erection problems physically, but it could also help with the mental block on physical intimacy due to stress or low moods.
Is turmeric good for libido?
More studies are needed on the direct effects of the turmeric sex drive relationship, but as with many natural alternatives there has been some very positive indications on an individual basis.
The evidence in rodent studies on increasing libido, though, is promising. Studies demonstrate a libido enhancing effect by two main avenues, which Dr Ellis has broken down for us:
Turmeric and blood flow
The first mechanism outlined to increase libido was dosages of turmeric for erection performance. By activating genes which increased nitric oxide, water soluble curcumin extract was able to enhance erectile function in rats when administered daily for 12 weeks. Curcumin, if you remember, is the active compound in turmeric that has been shown to have many health benefits.
An increase in nitric oxide increases vasodilation in arteries and allows more blood flow to areas that are “working”, suggesting these physical changes could be achieved through dosages of turmeric for erection performance or virility.
Turmeric and testosterone
The second proposed mechanism is by increasing testosterone levels.
Two groups of rats, one group with high blood pressure and the other with normal levels, were supplemented with a combination of ginger and turmeric. A further study demonstrated that a combination of ginger and turmeric reduced blood pressure in the rats where it has previously been high, increased sperm motility and notably, increased testosterone levels.
The study attributed some of these beneficial effects to decreases in stress and again, increases in nitric oxide.
The combination of ginger and turmeric has been noted for its benefits by many, which is why we provide a range of Raw Turmeric and Ginger shots you can shop online today.
Repeated exposure to stress can lead to reductions in our circulating sex hormones which in turn, may impact our libido. One study treated male rats with curcumin or a control for 15 days. The rats with chronic stress, treated with curcumin saw significant improvements in levels of testosterone.
Together, Dr Ellis suggests these studies propose that curcumin can impact stress-related systems that reduce sex hormones and improve blood flow to those all important working “muscles”.
What about the turmeric female libido relationship?
However, sex drive and libido problems aren’t just exclusive to men, though most pharmaceutical products are geared directly towards erectile dysfunction. Around 1 in 3 women experience lowered libido in their life and 15% of menopausal women report a loss of sex drive. Small doses of testosterone have been shown to improve this, however these small doses and medications designed specifically for women aren’t currently available as none have been licensed.
Growing pharmaceutical frustration
Women typically need far weaker doses of testosterone than men, and the female sex drive doesn’t respond to the on-off approach that popular medications for men take. Mr Nick Panay, a leading Gynaecologist and Subspecialist in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery, has noted with frustration that all products are licensed for male use, and any female dosages or prescriptions have to be manually diluted by the prescriber ‘off label’.
Taking turmeric for the female libido
Because the currently available products and medications treat women’s libido as an afterthought, many have been left frustrated and believing there is no help out there. This is why we believe in safely trying alternatives, because you could see some positive improvements. Of course, we recommend you seek the opinion of a medical professional should you have any concerns.
Because curcumin has been shown to increase testosterone levels, this compound may be the natural alternative to male-driven pharmaceutical products. As previously mentioned, women’s bodies don’t respond in the stop-start on-off way that men’s do to libido enhancers because their hormonal systems are more complex.
This is why a gradual change or incremental dosage is often employed. With our turmeric shots, for example, you could expect to see changes between 4-8 weeks.
Turmeric and mood
In a strictly controlled study, 56 individuals with major depressive disorder were treated with 500mg twice daily of curcumin or a placebo for 8 weeks. Compared to the placebo, the participants treated with curcumin demonstrated a significant time interaction for results on a mood score measurement. Because low moods and decreased sex drive are intrinsically linked, it can be suggested that an improvement in one can positively affect the other.
So, does turmeric increase libido?
Through her research, Dr Ellis concluded that whilst the current human evidence surrounding the effects of curcumin and libido is limited, animal and mechanistic data provides an important insight into the potential mechanisms. Multiple studies have shown that curcumin in turmeric has positively improved mental disorders such as depression, low moods, and stress levels, which are all contributors to a decreased sex drive.
The evidence supports that curcumin and its compounds are highly promiscuous and could be used as a novel therapeutic aid in a multidisciplinary way. You can shop our full range of turmeric shots online, which are packed full of curcumin and absorbency aids to ensure you receive all of the bottled goodness.