| Hair Loss

LACKING LIBIDO IS A SERIOUS WARNING SIGN ABOUT YOUR OVERALL STATE OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS.

For anyone experiencing hair loss, the connection between food and your love life might seem obvious. Eat healthier (carrots vs. donuts, salmon vs. ribs, etc.) and you get better-managed weight, higher energy, and cleaner arteries that allow optimal blood flow to all your important parts.

Concurrently, accomplish those things and you’ll defy any lingering perceptions that baldness connotes aging and impotence – after all, Tye Diggs had no trouble helping Stella get her groove back. But even the happiest couples need a bedroom boost after a while. Can food help keep the magic alive?

Folklore is littered with edible aphrodisiacs, the foods, herbs, and spices that are supposed to make our love life caliente. Western culture and science regard most as ineffective, but in ancient times, certain nutrients were lacking in the diet. Foods containing those rare nutrients may have truly improved performance. Or, the food resembled secondary sex characteristics, enough for shamans to convince the menfolk to eat bananas and figs (or similarly-shaped, locally-available produce).

“Dr. Andrew Weil argues that erectile dysfunction (ED) is often a result of restricted blood flow. He sees a solution that is straightforward: manage your weight, eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, avoid saturated and transfats, and exercise regularly to improve blood flow.”

Take pulverized rhinoceros horn, for example. It is largely made up of calcium and phosphorus, which when added to a diet otherwise deficient in these nutrients would make anyone healthier. Healthier people are friskier. The oyster provides an obvious visual metaphor but also contains zinc, a sometimes-deficient nutrient essential to the formation of testosterone – the presence of which in either gender ups the libido. Note that the pressure almost always fell to the men, for fairly obvious reasons.

Other foods purported to hold aphrodisiac qualities: Aniseed, asparagus, almonds and marzipan (almond paste), arugula (a.k.a. “rocket seed”), avocado, bananas, sweet basil, chocolate, carrots, chilies, coffee, cilantro and coriander (cilantro seed), fennel, figs, garlic, ginger root, honey, licorice, mustard greens, nutmeg, pine nuts, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, truffles, vanilla and wine.

Sex enhancement products: The FDA weighs in

With so many foods going back thousands of years in virtually every culture in the world, is it any wonder that today Viagra, Cialis and Levitra have combined worldwide sales $3.2 billion? The brands have become cultural touchstones since attaining U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in the late 1990s, just a few years after the agency’s 1989 review of traditional over-the-counter sex enhancement products. Their conclusion? No scientific proof exists that products claiming aphrodisiac benefits are effective at treating sexual dysfunction.

The industry counters that testing of products to a standard accepted by the FDA is impossible. After all, how do one measure libido and erectile function with sufficient controls?
Harvard-trained physician and healthy-aging advocate Dr. Andrew Weil argues that erectile dysfunction (ED) is often a result of restricted blood flow. He sees a solution that is straightforward: manage your weight, eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, avoid saturated and transfats, and exercise regularly to improve blood flow.

For anyone diagnosed with low testosterone, it might help to consume foods containing zinc (beef, chicken, pork, lamb), oysters, red meat (beef, pork, lamb), chicken, turkey and other fowl, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.  Allicin, present in onions and garlic, contributes to testosterone development as well.

But what about Spanish fly and Yohimbe as aphrodisiacs?

The FDA has definitively ruled on Spanish fly – made from dried beetle remains, by the way – which indeed has an effect on the genital region. Ingestion causes irritation in the urogenital tract, causing a rush of blood to the region. While that may seem like a good thing to some, consider how Spanish fly is essentially a poison that burns the mouth, throat, and urethra and can cause scarring and even death. It is not legal to trade in Spanish fly in the United States.

Yohimbe is another matter. While it is linked to a number of side effects, the FDA said that preliminary animal studies are “encouraging” with regard to its ability to enhance erections. Due to the aforementioned human testing barrier, human studies have not been undertaken. It is extensively marketed as both an aphrodisiac and an athletic performance enhancer, but the government and legitimate health advisors (WebMD, Andrew Weil, et al.) warn about dosages and impurities that are unregulated.

In case this leaves you wanting for more, keep in mind the scientific testing establishment acknowledges the placebo effect – how test subjects ingesting inert substances often experience an actual benefit nonetheless. This is widely believed to be due to the power of the mind – if you think it works, sometimes it does.

So let’s start something: A cabbage slaw made with shredded, 93% lean sirloin, tomatoes, and olive oil, and eaten with whole grain bread, topped off with a two-mile walk and thirty minutes of intense strength training, can lead to dizzying sexual performance. All you have to do is believe.