Physical intimacy helps hold many relationships together, and it helps many people deal with the stress and frustrations associated with life. Natural products can produce aphrodisiac effects associated with physical intimacy.
Drugs that cause elevated dopamine levels in the brain list hypersexual behavior as an adverse effect for both men and women. Is this how these natural products produce their libido-enhancing effects? Possibly.
Dopamine is thought to be connected with desire, acetylcholine involved in arousal, and the neurotransmitter GABA is connected with orgasm.1 Ginseng has been shown to increase extracellular dopamine and acetylcholine in the rat brain.1
Ginseng is an ancient herb that has been reported to have aphrodisiac properties. Data from animal studies have shown a positive correlation among ginseng, libido, and copulatory performances, and these effects have been confirmed in case-control studies in humans.2 The specific type of ginseng, dose, and manufacture is significant and various types, manufactures, and dosages have been used with good results.2
L-carnitine is an amino acid that is essential for energy production and lipid metabolism. It also has effects on the reproductive system. Many fertility doctors use it with great success. Our body gets some l-carnitine from the meats that we eat, and our body also manufactures it when needed. However, researchers are finding out that our ability to make this and other biochemicals decrease with the passage of time.3
When compared to testosterone, Carnitines proved significantly more activity in improving erectile functions without affecting the size of the prostate.4 The participants who took testosterone had the adverse effect of enlargement of the prostate. In addition to that, the FDA cautions men that it can accelerate the cardiovascular disease.5
Arginine is also an amino acid that is used for various reasons, but in this situation, it causes dilation of tiny blood vessels and increased blood flow. Oral administration of L-arginine in high doses of 5 grams per day seems to cause significant subjective improvement in sexual function in men with ED when there was no underlying disease state contributing to the condition.6
Anyone of these supplements alone could improve libido, but what about taking all 3 of them together? Turns out someone has already thought of that. Except they went 1 step further and added 2 types of L-carnitine forms.
Carnitines exist in many different forms in our bodies. Acetyl-carnitine is thought to have better central nervous system activity than L-carnitine which is most active peripherally.7 The research found a significant improvement in sexual satisfaction in the group that used all four supplements compared to the placebo group.
Many people believe that natural supplements are safer than drugs and the more you take them the stronger and healthier you can become. Ginseng is thought to have cardio-protective effects, neuroprotective effects, and positive effects on blood sugar as well as other health benefits. Arginine and the Carnitines are often used by athletes to increase strength, muscle mass, and improve energy production. Like any protein and amino acid, they can also reduce adipose tissue over time.
- Shi J, Xue W, Zhao WJ, Li XK. Pharmacokinetics and dopamine/acetylcholine releasing effects of ginsenoside Re in the hippocampus and mPFC of freely moving rats. Acta Pharmacol Sin 2013; 34:21420; PMID:23202798; http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ as.2012.147
- Leung KW, Wong AS. Ginseng, and male reproductive function. Spermatogenesis. 2013;3(3):e26391. DOI:10.4161/spmg.26391
- López-Otín C, Blasco MA, Partridge L, Serrano M, Kroemer G. The hallmarks of aging. Cell. 2013;153(6):1194–1217. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2013.05.039
- Cavallini G1, Caracciolo S, Vitali G, Modenini F, Biagiotti G, Carnitine versus androgen administration in the treatment of sexual dysfunction, depressed mood, and fatigue associated with male aging. Urology. 2004 Apr;63(4):641-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15072869
- Morden NE, et al. Trends in testosterone prescribing for age-related hypogonadism in men with and without heart disease. JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(3):446–48
- Chen J, Wollman Y, Chernichovsky T, et al. Effect of oral administration of high-dose nitric oxide donor L-arginine in men with organic erectile dysfunction: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. BJU Int 1999;83:269-73
- Morgante, G., Scolaro, V., Tosti, C., Di, Sabatino A., Piomboni, P., and De, Leo, V. [Treatment with carnitine, acetylcarnitine, L-arginine and ginseng improves sperm motility and sexual health in men with asthenopermia]. Minerva Urol.Nefrol. 2010;62(3):213-218.