Sex drive can take a natural dip during winter – but taking a vitamin D supplement could help.
The so called ‘sunshine vitamin’ – that we can easily absorb from sun exposure during summer – is essential for a range of health benefits, including looking after bones, the brain and the immune system.
However, a deficiency, which often happens when there is less sunlight during winter, in the vitamin can impact your libido, explained Rob Hobson, head of nutrition at Healthspan and co-author of the Detox Kitchen Bible.
“There are many factors that can affect libido such as stress, anxiety, depression, medication, smoking, drinking, illness and being overweight,” he said.
“These factors can impact on the food choices we make, which in turn can affect nutrient intake and the quality of our diet.
“Some can even impact on the body’s requirement for certain nutrients or affect their absorption in the body and the joint effect of this may have an impact on your libido.”
Research has found that vitamin D plays a key role in the sex drive of both men and women.
A study, published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology, revealed that men with adequate levels of the nutrient had more testosterone, a male sex hormone, than those with lower levels.
Additionally, research published in the Journal of International Urology and Nephrology showed that women with sexual dysfunction – when something prevents you from wanting or enjoying sex – had lower blood levels of vitamin D.
It could cause difficulty with arousal, lubrication, orgasm and satisfaction.
The findings tie in with other studies suggesting that a lack of sunlight during winter impacts levels of oestrogen, a female sex hormone.
With 40 per cent of adults suffering from low vitamin D during winter, according to the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey, it is likely that many problems in the bedroom could be solved by topping up on the nutrient.
Eating vitamin D-rich foods, such as only fish, eggs and mushrooms, can help, but it is likely that you will only be able to consume 20 per cent of it through diet.
Getting some winter sun by jetting off from the UK could help, but stores of vitamin D won’t last more than four to six weeks.
One of the most efficient ways to absorb it, therefore, is to take a daily supplement.
Public Health England currently recommend 10mcg per day, while many experts believe a dose of 25mcg is more beneficial.