Libido & Sexual Enjoyment
What Causes Low Libido?
Libido refers to sex drive, or sexual desire. Dampened libido can be caused by either physical or psychological factors (or both). Physical causes can include low testosterone, prescription medications, lack of exercise (or even too much), and alcohol and drug use. Depression, anxiety, stress, and relationship troubles are some psychological causes.
While low libido often affects men over the age of 45, it’s a myth that most or all men over a certain age have a dampened sex drive or erectile dysfunction (ED).
Libido and Sexual Enjoyment
Nevertheless, loss of libido is a common complaint of many men (and women), especially as we age. Men go through a gradual decrease in their androgenic hormones with age, a process called andropause (male menopause); andropause is characterized by a drop in testosterone and sometimes accompanied by other symptoms including depression, fatigue, weakness, and sexual problems.
Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency
- Apathy and depression
- Loss of sexual enjoyment
- Poor memory or concentration
- Weight gain
- Inability to make clear and precise decisions
- Poor recovery from injuries or illness
- Decreased stamina and endurance
Tests can help you know whether you have low testosterone. Forrest Health offers a variety of hormone testing using either saliva or blood. The best, most comprehensive test is a combination test from ZRT labs, including the following:
Natural Products that Raise Testosterone and Libido
A variety of men’s health products can positively affect testosterone levels. Some work by raising hormone levels, others work by lowering sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), leading to more free-testosterone. If these methods are unsuccessful, another option is to take testosterone as a gel or patch. It should be noted that this method, while effective, can cause your body to produce less of its own testosterone and will cause the testicles to shrink; it is therefore considered a last resort option.
- Tongkat Ali - Pasak Bumi - (Eurycoma Longifolia Jack)
A potent root extract scientifically shown to raise testosterone levels. In laboratory tests on human testicular tissue, Tongkat Ali extract increased the formation of testosterone fourfold. Tongkat Ali root can significantly boost sex drive and function in both men and women, by building testosterone.
- Tribulus Terrestris
A botanical used to raise testosterone levels, Tribulus terrestris works by stimulating luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Used as a natural aphrodisiac, Tribulus has been used by various cultures to increase sexual potency and libido. Tribulus has tonic-like qualities that have been shown in laboratory settings to increase endurance in rats. In humans, Tribulus has been shown to be a general stimulator, enhancing activity across a wide spectrum. In addition to improving motor activity and muscle tone, it helps restore vigor, vitality, and stamina. It has also been shown to intensify protein synthesis, particularly in the liver, kidney, and heart tissue of animals, while it enhances energy metabolism.
Maca, a potent herbaceous root, works by normalizing hormones primarily through its adaptogenic properties. Stimulation of the hypothalamus (through your pituitary and adrenal glands and your nervous system), induces your body to create a healthy balanced state that promotes optimal health.
A bioflavonoid, chrysin has shown potential as a natural aromatase inhibitor (Kellis JT Jr et al 1984). Chrysin can be extracted from various plants and is found in high concentrations in honey. Bodybuilders have used it as a testosterone-boosting supplement because, by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme, less testosterone is converted into estrogen. Although chrysin is a known inhibitor of aromatase, in one study it did not result in the expected increase in testosterone levels (Gambelunghe C et al 2003). This may be because of poor intestinal absorption of chrysin (Walle UK et al 1999).
Zinc has the potential to raise testosterone as much as 35% with just 30/mg daily. In one animal study, rats subjected to an acute swimming test were either supplemented with zinc or placebo; the zinc supplementation led to significant increases in testosterone levels and may have helped in the rats’ athletic performance (Kaya O et al 2006).
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, raises testosterone levels. DHEA has been the subject of over 4,000 studies, which have shown the rejuvenating properties of this important adrenal hormone for those over age 40.
A hormonal precursor to testosterone, pregnenolone has shown dramatic memory enhancement properties in recent medical studies. Almost all steroid hormones are made from pregnenolone (including testosterone and DHEA), which is why it has been called the “mother hormone”). Those who take pregnenolone report significant increases in libido.
Carnitine is an amino acid derivative that may be more active than testosterone in aging men who have sexual dysfunction and depression caused by an androgen deficiency (Cavallini G et al 2004). Both testosterone and carnitine improve sexual desire, sexual satisfaction, and nocturnal penile tumescence, but carnitine is more effective than testosterone in improving erectile function, nocturnal penile tumescence, orgasm, and general sexual well-being. Carnitine was better than testosterone at treating depression (Cavallini G et al 2004).
- Muira Puama
A South American folk medicine derived from the Ptychopetalum olacoides shrub of the Amazon region of Brazil, muira puama is also called marapuama or “potency wood.” This potent extract is considered an aphrodisiac and an effective treatment of impotence. Because of its purported libido-enhancing properties, muira puama has been the subject of two published clinical studies by Dr. Jacques Waynberg, an eminent medical sexologist and author of 10 books on the subject.
- DIM - blocks conversion of testosterone to estrogen.
- Chrysin - blocks conversion of testosterone to estrogen.
- Saw Palmetto - blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT.
- Nettles - Nettle root extract has also shown an affinity for SHBG (Hryb DJ et al 1995). SHBG is closely related to levels of free testosterone and estrogen; most of these hormones travel through the bloodstream “bound” to SHBG. Any testosterone that is unbound to SHBG is referred to as free testosterone. Studies have shown that men with BPH have elevated levels of SHBG in their prostate gland (Jiang H et al 2004); thus, any nutrient that reduces SHBG levels may also be able to reduce BPH.
Natural Products to Lower Estrogen or DHT Levels
The enzyme aromatase converts testosterone to estradiol, which lowers testosterone levels. Aromatase inhibitors can counteract this effect. By blocking aromatase, estradiol levels may decline, leading to a decrease in SHBG. The end result is an increase in free testosterone.
Our preferred product in this category is DIM Palmetto Prostate Formula.
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