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‘Spicing’ Up Your Love Life Possible, Study Finds

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Looking to spice up your sex life? Try adding ginseng and saffron to your diet. Both are proven performance boosters, according to a new scientific review of natural aphrodisiacs conducted by University of Guelph researchers.Indulge in wine and chocolate, too, but know that their amorous effects are likely all in your head. Stay away from the more obscure Spanish fly and Bufo toad. While purported to be sexually enhancing, they produced the opposite result and can even be toxic. Those are among the findings of the study by Massimo Marcone, a professor in Guelph’s Department of Food Science, and master’s student John Melnyk. The results will appear in the journal Food Research International but are available online now.Since this research was released, it has received international media attention with stories in the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star as well as a number of other publications across the globe.“Aphrodisiacs have been used for thousands of years all around the world, but the science behind the claims has never been well understood or clearly reported,” Marcone said. “Ours is the most

thorough scientific review to date. Nothing has been done on this level of detail before now.” There is a need for natural products that enhance sex without negative side effects, Melnyk added. Currently, conditions such as erectile dysfunction are treated with synthetic drugs, including sildenafil (commonly sold as Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis). “But these drugs can produce headache, muscle pain and blurred vision, and can have dangerous interactions with other medications. They also do not increase libido, so it doesn’t help people experiencing low sex drive,” he said. The researchers examined hundreds of studies on commonly used consumable aphrodisiacs to investigate claims of sexual enhancement — psychological and physiological. Ultimately, they included only studies meeting the most stringent controls. The results? They found that panax ginseng, saffron and yohimbine, a natural chemical from yohimbe trees in West Africa, improved human sexual function. People report increased sexual desire after eating muira puama, a flowering plant found in Brazil; maca root, a mustard plant in the Andes; and chocolate. Despite its purported aphrodisiac effect, chocolate was not linked to sexual arousal or satisfaction, the study said. “It may be that some people feel an effect from certain ingredients in chocolate, mainly phenylethylamine, which can affect serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain,” Marcone said. Alcohol was found to increase sexual arousal but to impede sexual performance. Nutmeg, cloves, garlic, ginger, and ambergris, formed in the intestinal tract of the sperm whale, are among substances linked to increased sexual behaviour in animals. While their findings support the use of foods and plants for sexual enhancement, the authors urge caution. “Currently, there is not

enough evidence to support the widespread use of these substances as effective aphrodisiacs,” Marcone said. “More clinical studies are needed to better understand the effects on humans.”  –  Prof. Massimo Marcone. Associate Professor Department of Food Science. Research: Development of Rapid and Accurate Analytical Methods for Food Authentication and the Development of Compositional Standards One of the most challenging research areas in food science concerns the development of analytical methodologies useful in authentication of food and in the establishment of recognized compositional standards. This area is growing rapidly because of recent increases in the incidence of adulteration of food and the proliferation of reports of the addition of prohibited substances in a wide variety of human and animal foods. Each year, monetary losses caused by this illicit activity amount to hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide. Furthermore, reports of the adulteration of food have eroded consumer confidence in the food industry. My research work is aimed directly at developing rapid, accurate, sensitive, and easy-to-perform analytical methodologies that can be employed to authenticate foods at the point of production. My research also aims at establishing recognized compositional food standards throughout the food chain, especially for the kinds of high-value products that are disproportionately targeted by violators. Results of this work have been reported on television, newspapers, and magazines throughout the world. News from: University of Guelph – Ontario, Canada

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