LIBIDO: Sex isn’t a 4- letter word.
by Lynn Hinderliter CN, LDN
Enjoyment of a loving sexual encounter should be the most natural thing in the world – and maybe when we’re in the first flush of youth and the hormones are raging, it is. Time takes its toll, however, and there comes a time in most of our lives, men and women both, when a little assist wouldn’t hurt! Libido
Dr Jonathan Wright (together with John Morgenthaler) wrote a book in 1997 called Natural Hormone Replacement for Women Over 45 – I highly recommend it. I would like to paraphrase here what he had to say about natural testosterone, however. He points out that it raises libido for both men AND women, which may come as something of a surprise! As far back as 1950 a study was done on the effects of testosterone on post-menopausal women, and while the study used synthetic testosterone, there is no reason to suppose that the natural form would have an effect very far different. Anyway, what they discovered was that women increased their sex drive by 65% – and other researchers have noted that among the effects of testosterone supplementation for women are greater sexual response, and increased frequency of intercourse, sexual desire, sexual fantasies and level of arousal. All very positive! Libido
Dr Wright adds that low levels of testosterone in some women (and men) may contribute to bone loss, so if you test low for this hormone, it might benefit you on more than one level to supplement with it.
There is a site called the-clitoris.com dedicated to the sexual health and pleasure of women, which has some very lively, frank and interesting discussions of female sexuality. If you have any questions on the subject, I recommend going there and checking it out. Libido
A new study from Australia, presented by Dr. Rebecca Goldstat at the 10th International Congress of Menopause in June 2002, studied the effect of testosterone supplementation in 49 women , whose average age was 39. These women were suffering from low libido, but were not depressed. What the double blind study showed were significantly improved scores of both well-being, and libido. There were no side effects in the form of facial hair, voice or weight changes. The study was using your actual testosterone, naturally: but see Dr. Wright’s comments above. Libido
For men, the following questionnaire from the University of St. Louis will give a clue as to whether your hormone levels are too low: Libido
- Do you have a decrease in libido?
- Do you have a lack of energy?
- Do you have a decrease in either strength or endurance?
- Have you lost height?
- Have you noticed a decreased enjoyment of life?
- Are you sad and/or grumpy?
- Are your erections less strong?
- Have you noticed a recent deterioration in your ability to play sports?
- Are you falling asleep after dinner?
- Has there been recent deterioration in your work performance?
The compilers says that if you answer “yes” to questions 1 or 7, or at least 3 of the other questions, you may have low levels of testosterone. Libido
Here’s a weird one – be careful if you are eating a lot of licorice, or taking a formula that has whole (as opposed to deglychyrrhizinated) licorice root in it, be aware that licorice lowers testosterone levels, and has been connected to erectile dysfunction. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/full/26/10/2962 Libido
L-Arginine, a naturally occurring amino acid, is another substance which has a great deal of research and anecdotal evidence to bolster its claim to be a sexual stimulant. The main thing to realize with this supplement is that one has to take enough of it if one wants results: many studies have shown no effect at all at low doses (1500 mg per day) , but higher doses ( 5gm per day ) have very encouraging results. There are many other plusses to using L-Arginine, to include cardiovascular health, memory and growth hormone release. The only caveat is for people susceptible to cold sores: you may need to balance the Arginine with Lysine to protect yourself from an outbreak. Libido
There are many herbal formulas, most of which contain all or some of the following: Horny Goat Weed, a provocative name for a Chinese herb with centuries of use behind it, Muira Puama , a herb from the Amazon also known as Potency Wood, Mucuna Pruriens, an Ayurvedic herb which has been shown to inhibit prolactin release (blamed for many erection failures), Yohimbe, a chemical version of which is used as a prescription drug to reverse impotence, Avena Sativa, or Wild Oats ( a particularly good choice for women), and Tribulus Terrestris, a plant with a long history of use, going back to Ayurvedic, Chinese and Greek medicine. Mostly it has been used as a tonic, cardiovascular support, liver and kidney problems, though Ayurvedic medicine values it as an aphrodisiac and treatment for sexual problems. Libido
Ginseng and Vitamin E are valuable ingredients to look for because of their effect on energy levels. After all, without energy the desire and the will are lacking – which kind of makes performance ability moot. Libido
Before taking any herb or nutrient to help your situation, take the time to check and see whether the problem may be the result of a medication you are taking. Many medication deplete certain nutrients: often replacing those is the best place to start, and the rest will follow. Libido
Since I have had a few queries related to PEYRONIE’ DISEASE, which at the time I had little advise for, other than vitamin E and anti-inflammatory enzymes, I am appending this information here. Studies have been completed in Italy comparing Acetyl-L-Carnitine and the only medication which has had any effect on the problem to date – Tamoxifen. Since Tamoxifen has real dangers attached to its use, I am glad to report that there was absolutely no doubt about the results: at the end of the study, participants were asked about pain during erection. About 50% of the drug group reported lessened pain, while over 90% of the Carnitine users were improved. The drug had no effect on curvature of the penis, while the Acetyl-L-Carnitine users experienced a 47% improvement. Plaque ( the cause of the curvature) was also significantly reduced. This is excellent! Remember, too, that ACL has other benefits for the brain, the mood and vision. (Biagiotti G, Cavallini G. BJU Int 2001;88:63-67. ) The recommended dosage is half a gram four times a day for a total of 4 grams, with meals and at bedtime. Libido
A site dedicated to the sexual health and enjoyment of women, http://www.the-clitoris.com Be aware: this is very frank and open
Homeopathy and Testosterone – http://www.eurolabresearch.com/a_testosterone.htm