Naturopathic doctor, Dr. Olivia Rose, shares insights on how diet, supplements, herbs, acupuncture and sleep affect your sex drive and overall health. She reveals what foods you should eat in the morning, what substances you should avoid at night, and how hormones play a role in libido.

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You can find a quick summary of the episode below. (Thanks to Dr. Olivia for providing these notes!)

1. What is naturopathic medicine? Tell us about your practice.

Naturopathic medicine is a health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge and evidence with traditional and natural forms of medicine. As NDs, we assess the whole person by providing physical examinations, nutrition, lifestyle and mental health assessments and we refer for blood work at our local labs when necessary.
I have a general practice, however, I do tend to focus on women and men’s health, gastrointestinal health, immune, skin and children’s health. Lifestyle, nutrition, herbs and acupuncture are the modalities I use the most.

2. What is the most common sex-related problem patients present with? (We’re assuming low libido is up there.) What are some lifestyle causes of low libido?

Low libido is common, especially in women. At least women tend to talk about it more, vaginal dryness, pain during sex and erectile dysfunction in males come up frequently.
Lifestyle causes of low libido include poor diet (e.g. not enough or an excess – too much alcohol, caffeine, sugar, fat, processed foods, and also eating too little – not eating frequently enough, not having enough of the key micronutrients such as iron and B12 and macronutrients (missing healthy fat, protein etc.) which are important for blood circulation and hormone health; metabolic syndrome is a condition characterized by high blood pressure, central obesity, elevated blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels that increase your risk for stroke, heart disease and diabetes, inactivity – being active maintains good circulation to your pelvic floor and genitalia. Regular physical activity also helps to balance your hormones and maintain healthy testosterone levels. Stress – relationship, workplace, environmental – can play a role.

3. How does diet affect libido?

Your diet can play a huge role in sexual desire. Going back to the not enough or too much diets – both can affect libido. Your libido relies on circulation and if your diet isn’t conducive to promoting healthy circulation, your libido will be affected.

4. How does diet effect mood and relationships more generally?

Diet and digestion are closely tied to mood. Certain foods and additives in our food supply can have a negative effect on your mood such as MSG – some people are sensitive to MSG and report feeling sluggish, depressed or angry after consuming it. However, the first thing I do before even changing anyone’s diet is to make sure they are eating regularly. Eating at regular intervals can make a huge difference in regulating your mood. It also helps to balance your blood sugar and insulin. I emphasize a diet that contains enough protein with each meal because protein gets broken into the amino acids we require to make our hormones.

5. Can herbs/supplements be used to address libido? Can herbs/supplements be used to improve mood (and relational interactions)?

There are many herbs that have traditionally been used for sexual enhancement and mood stabilization for centuries.

Fenugreek is a popular culinary spice in South Asian dishes and in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s backed by promising research that it can increase sexual arousal and orgasms. It’s thought to contain plant chemicals that serve as precursors to estrogen and test…