There are many causes of diminished sexual drive or low libido. Relationship issues, lack of sleep, hormonal changes, stress, alcoholism, drug abuse, anemia, prescription medications, diabetes and depression are a few of the culprits. Low libido does not always mean an inability to physically perform the sexual act. There are prescription medications and dietary supplements, such as the amino acid citrulline, that can treat erectile dysfunction. But they do not address the psychological or medical condition that manifested as the inability to achieve an erection. Consult with your physician before you take citrulline or any other dietary supplement to treat erectile dysfunction or increase libido.
Libido or Erectile Dysfunction
Taking citrulline to increase libido is like giving chicken soup to a dead man: it might not help, but it couldn't hurt. You can have the desire to have sex, but your body is unable to respond to sexual stimulus with an erection. You might respond to actual or perceived sexual stimulation by having an erection, but you have no desire whatsoever to have sex. The causes of erectile dysfunction and low libido may be imbalances in neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin or nor-epinephrine and will respond only to treatments that address the imbalance.
How Citrulline Works
If your low libido is due to your inability to achieve an adequate erection, citrulline may help. Citrulline works by indirectly increasing the levels of nitric oxide, a vasodilator that increases the flow of blood in the penis. Before citrulline can act, it must first convert to another amino acid, L-arginine. Your body then converts L-arginine back into citrulline, releasing nitric oxide in the process.
A 2011 study published in the journal "Urology" had 24 subjects with mild erectile dysfunction given a placebo for a month or 1.5 grams of L-citrulline daily for a month. The researchers found that half the men showed an improvement in erectile hardness when they took citrulline rather than placebo. The research also suggests that citrulline may be an alternative for men afraid to take the various brands of prescription medication for erectile dysfunction.
Since citrulline increases sexual readiness by increasing L-arginine levels in the body, the safety concerns of L-arginine supplementation will apply to citrulline as well. Citrulline may indirectly lower your blood pressure. This is a concern if you taking prescription hypertension medications or are about to undergo surgery. Citrulline may also indirectly cause lightheadedness if you are using nitroglycerin or nitrate-containing products for your heart. Talk with your doctor before your take supplemental citrulline if you are already taking a prescription drug for erectile dysfunction.