Regular Sex Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
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While that might sound too good to be true, the latest research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that engaging in regular sex can lower the risk of developing heart disease in men. Unfortunately, the news isn't so positive.
The Sex and Heart Disease StudyResearchers have theorized for years that having regular intercourse can reduce the risk for developing cardiovascular disease, but never could identify why frequent romps in the hay improved heart health. The new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine is the first to identify why sex supports heart health -- by decreasing homocysteine levels. 
Homocysteine is an naturally occurring compound in the body that's essential for protein construction. However, excessive levels of the amino acid are believed to damage blood vessels, thereby increasing the risk of blood clot formation and threatening blood flow supply to and from the heart. Moreover, a recent systematic review found that elevated homocysteine levels increased the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 66%!
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For the new study, researchers analyzed 2,267 men, ages 20 to 59 years old, who enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2006. The most pertinent portions of the survey that researchers reviewed were on serum homocysteine data and sexual behavior.
Comparing the blood samples with the results of the sexual activity questionnaire, researchers found that men reporting to have sex at least two times per week exhibited the lowest traces of homocysteine. On the flip side, the men who had intercourse only once per month had the highest levels of the compound.
Unfortunately, the results weren?t so favorable for the fairer sex and no correlation between sexual frequency and homocysteine levels was clearly demonstrated.
Following publication of the results, researchers commented:
?This is the first study of its kind to evaluate the correlation between sexual frequency and homocysteine levels...A good quality sex life, frequent sex and libido are all related to health in the middle-aged and elderly.
Increased sexual frequency could have a protective effect on general health and quality of life - especially in men - so doctors should support patients' sexual activity."Lead researcher, Dr. Mike Knapton from the British Heart Foundation, cautioned though that men should still regularly see a physician to keep an eye on blood pressure and cholesterol as those are far more well-established as markers of heart health than intercourse frequency.
What do you think of the latest research on sex and heart health? Leave us a comment below with your thoughts.