Mediterranean diet improves sexual function in women with the metabolic syndrome

Int J Impot Res. Sep-Oct 2007;19(5):486-91. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijir.3901555. Epub 2007 Aug 2.


In the present study, we tested the effect of a Mediterranean-style diet on sexual function in women with the metabolic syndrome. Women were identified in our database of subjects participating in controlled trials evaluating the effect of lifestyle changes and were included if they had a diagnosis of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) associated with a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, a complete follow-up in the study trial and an intervention focused mainly on dietary changes. Fifty-nine women met the inclusion/exclusion criteria; 31 out of them were assigned to the Mediterranean-style diet and 28 to the control diet. After 2 years, women on the Mediterranean diet consumed more fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grain and olive oil as compared with the women on the control diet. Female sexual function index (FSFI) improved in the intervention group, from a mean basal value of 19.7+/-3.1 to a mean post-treatment value of 26.1+/-4.1 (P=0.01), and remained stable in the control group. C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were significantly reduced in the intervention group (P<0.02). No single sexual domain (desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, pain) was significantly ameliorated by the dietary treatment, suggesting that the whole female sexuality may find benefit from lifestyle changes. A Mediterranean-style diet might be effective in ameliorating sexual function in women with metabolic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diet therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Sexual Behavior / physiology
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / complications
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / diet therapy*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / complications
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / diet therapy*