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For Men continued...

SAMe: Depression will hurt your sex life. Treatment (therapy, exercise, and for some people, medication) can help. But some antidepressants may lower your libido, too.

SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine) is a chemical that your body makes. Some studies show that it can help mild to moderate depression without sexual side effects. It might also boost the effects of some prescription antidepressants.

In a study of men with major depression who weren’t helped by their prescription antidepressant, SAMe improved sexual arousal and their erections.

Don’t mix SAMe with your antidepressants without your doctor’s supervision. Taking the supplement along with some antidepressants can cause serious side effects. High doses might upset your stomach and cause insomnia, dizziness, and headache.

Yohimbine: This herbal supplement comes from the bark of a tree native to Central Africa. It can improve ED. But it’s not all good news. 

“It’s the most effective [supplement for erectile dysfunction] and the most problematic,” Fugh-Berman says.

“Yohimbine can cause high blood pressure, heart palpitations, headache, anxiety, and dizziness. It’s a problem in people with psychiatric issues, and it interacts with a lot of drugs,” Fugh-Berman says. “I don’t recommend it.”

For Women and Men

Panax ginseng (Asian ginseng) might raise sexual desire in women going through menopause. In a small study, women saw improvements after taking three 1-gram capsules every day for 2 weeks. It may help improve erectile function in men, too. Studies typically use doses of 900 to 1,000 milligrams two to three times a day.

It can cause insomnia. So don’t take ginseng if you have trouble sleeping. Less common side effects include painful periods for women and diarrhea. 

If you are low on sexual energy, talk to your doctor about your concerns. Sex enhancers can have side effects. Discuss your specific situation with your doctor first.

Remember that the FDA does not require supplements to prove that they are safe, effective, or contain what they say on the label. You may want to look for a seal of approval from groups that checks on supplement ingredients. These include United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) and NSF International.

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