Sexual problems are often linked to psychological, emotional or psychosomatic disorders. The nutrients recommended in this section will have a positive impact on genital functions.

Proper nutrition is crucial if you are to continue enjoying a healthy sex life. Many cases of male impotence and female frigidity are related to hormonal problems which, to a large extent, can be corrected by ingesting the right nutrients.

Antioxidants (Vitamins C, A and E, zinc, selenium and cysteine) are especially important since they help fight free radicals and thus slow down the aging process.

Other beneficial nutrients include phenylalanine, Vitamins B1, B3, B6 and B15, as well as octacosanol and ginseng.

Free radicals

Free radicals are highly unstable molecular fragments possessing an extra electrical charge in the form of a free electron. Free radicals react very quickly with surrounding molecules in order to become stable. These initial reactions trigger a series of chain reactions which can affect millions of molecules, oxidizing tissues in all parts of the body, and accelerating aging.

Many substances can produce free radicals. Oxygen is the primary producer – although we need oxygen to survive, it also makes us grow old. Other exterior agents in the environment that produce free radicals are:

– ultraviolet (UV) radiation

– excessive exposure to direct sunlight

– toxic metals

– ozone

When free radicals attack lipids, and especially polyunsaturated fats, they produce other free radicals through a chemical process known as peroxidation.

Free radicals cause the body to age in a number of ways:

– they damage the DNA and RNA of cells that are essential for the synthesis of proteins and enzymes;

– they attack cell membranes, inhibiting the free flow of nutrients into cells, and the evacuation of waste out of cells, eventually causing cells to die;

– they also attack proteins through a process called cross-linkage, responsible for aging of the skin (dehydration, the appearance of wrinkles, loss of elasticity).

The negative effects free radicals have on your skin are similar to those that take place inside your body. Free radicals are a major contributing factor in the cause of degenerative diseases (cardiovascular disease, rheumatism, cancer) as they:

– damage DNA and RNA;

– detract from the quality of proteins

– cause alterations in cell membranes

– stimulate the synthesis of prostaglandines, which in turn promote inflammation.

Lipofuchsine, the pigment responsible for liver spots on hands and arms, is produced by free radicals acting on lipids. The same substance is found in the brain, and is suspected of causing various mental disorders related to aging.

Nutrients that are indispensable for maintaining healthy sexual functions, and their main sources

Vitamin A: Vegetal sources: carrots / spinach / tomatoes / lettuce and green leafy vegetables in general / asparagus / corn / melon / apricots / oranges (note that dried fruit contains more Vitamin A than fresh fruit)

Vitamin A: Animal sources: fish liver oil / beef, sheep or chicken liver / the fat in dairy products / egg yolks.

Vitamin E: wheat germ / hazelnuts and almonds / leafy green vegetables, notably lettuce and spinach / tomatoes / whole grains / cod liver oil / vegetable oils.

Vitamin C: fresh fruit like gooseberries and kiwis / citrus fruit (lemons, oranges, grapefruit) / fresh vegetables, especially parsley, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green peppers and potatoes.

Zinc: Because of its antioxidant properties, zinc plays an important role in regulating sexual functions, especially in men. It is essential for the metabolism of testosterone, the male sexual hormone. It is also involved in sperm production and maintaining proper prostate functions. A zinc deficiency is usually associated with a lowered sperm count. Main sources of zinc are oysters (very rich) / horse meat / whole grain bread / egg yolk / liver / veal / fish, shellfish and seafood / pumpkin seeds.

Selenium: whole grains (wheat and rice) / eggs / dried legumes / olive oil / meat / fish and seafood / ginseng.

Cysteine: garlic / onions / beans / eggs / meat / dairy products / some grains.

Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid which plays an important role in maintaining cerebral and sexual functions, and acts as an antidepressant. Main sources include protein-rich foods: egg white / soybean / spinach / chick peas / peanuts / etc.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is destroyed by alcohol, contraceptive pills and certain cooking methods. Persons who absorb a lot of protein need more B6. Main sources include whole grains and sprouted seeds / brewer’s yeast /egg yolk / liver (especially beef) / fish / green vegetables / soybean / fruit, etc.

Vitamin B3 (also called Vitamin PP, niacin or nicotinic acid) helps prevent cardiovascular disease, lowers cholesterol levels, combats a variety of mental and nervous disorders, and is involved in the synthesis of a number of hormones, notably sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, as well as insulin and hormones that regulate thyroid functions. B3 is found in many foods. Main sources include liver (pork, beef, veal) / whole grains / fish / white meat / eggs / dates, figs, almonds.

Vitamin B3 also helps liberate histamines, substances that are released during male and female orgasm.

Vitamin Bl: Main sources are wheat germ, whole grains and brewer’s yeast. Secondary sources include walnuts, pork, milk and derivative products, egg yolk and leafy green vegetables (only small amounts). Note that processed grains which have their husks removed are stripped of their Vitamin B1 content, and that Vitamin B1 is destroyed by coffee, tea, alcohol and contraceptive pills.

Copper: Substantial amounts of copper are found in oleaginous fruit (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds are your best food sources) / liver and meat (except beef and mutton) / fish, seafood and shellfish / legumes (peas, chick peas, etc.) / green vegetables (watercress, cabbage) / fresh fruit (apples, grapes) / onions / carrots / beets.

Some foods combat hypoglycemia and diabetes, both of which can cause serious sexual problems:

– Chromium: yeast / whole grains / meat / seafood.

– Octacosanol: this is the active substance in wheat germ oil -it can now be isolated and is available in supplement form.

– Ginseng: The antidepressant, naturally stimulating effects of this plant are well known. Taken in normal doses (check packages for instructions) ginseng also has a beneficial effect on sexual functions.

When sexual malfunctions are caused by cardiovascular problems (especially in men), certain nutrients can be very helpful, including magnesium, Vitamin B3 (a vasodilator), Vit selenium, zinc, and cellulose fibre contained in most vegetables.

To slow down the aging process, use the five nutrients mentioned earlier: selenium, zinc and Vitamins A, C and E. These five nutrients are your body’s basic antioxidants, and are recommended in all anti-aging programs recognized by American nutrition and gerontology experts.