If you’ve ever had “spring fever,” you know what a powerful aphrodisiac sunlight – the flowers…the fresh air…the birds… – can be. Seasons and light cycles definitely affect libido and fertility. Ask any farmer or veterinarian.
Humans, of course, need more than a sunny day in the spring, although the influence on us of light remains strong. Studies show that exposure to natural light influences body chemistry, altering hormone levels enough, sometimes, to relieve wintertime blues, improve overall mood, and revive our natural desire to mate.
My point? Contrary to conventional thinking, waning sexual desire frequently stems from physical, not always psychological, problems. That’s all the more true when we learn about the role environmental pollutants play in the nosedive of average hormone counts. I have no doubt that this chemical wastes also contribute to the overall trend toward a lower libido.
Fortunately, much of the physiological response can be regulated and replenished naturally. In Hindu teachings, a meat based diet correlates with sexuality and libido. A high carbohydrate diet can damage the cardiovascular system in many people, and it’s virtually void of cholesterol and other fatty acids, the building blocks of steroid hormones. Those who follow the low fat lifestyle will notice libidinal difference by switching to a low carbohydrate diet, but anyone can enjoy some benefit by eating more meats and eggs and by avoiding breads, grains, and pasta.
The heart is such a suitable symbol of love, because a strong cardiovascular system is absolutely essential for the hemodynamics of sex for both men and women. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and heart disease damage veins and arteries throughout the body – including those leading to sex organs. That is why all of Atkins dietary and nutritional prescriptions for a healthy heart also can be taken for a healthy sex life. With a greater consumption of meats, eggs, fatty acids, the beneficial HDL will rise, and the artery clogging LDL will diminish. At the same time, you’ll be providing your body with the building blocks of sex hormones – including testosterone, which both men and women produce naturally because it’s required to trigger libido. I hesitate to emphasize one nutrient over another in treating circulation based libido problems, but several do deserve notice;
Vitamin E. This nutrient historically has been associated with increased vigor in men, and some research indicates it benefits women too.
Ginkgo biloba. This plant extract also stimulates blood circulation and relaxes muscle tissue. It has been used to treat high blood pressure and various vascular diseases, as well as impotence. Ginseng has similar effect.
Zinc. A deficiency in zinc is associated with decreased serum testosterone levels.
Boron. The trace mineral can increase levels of natural steroidal hormones in older women.
Avena sativa. This extract from green oats frees up testosterone, which, as we get older, becomes less available in the body to stimulate sex drive.
DHEA. This is the body’s mother hormone because it is the hormone of which all others are made. The plentiful amount produced at the height of youth and early adulthood runs low as we grow older. One major precaution: Men at high risk for prostate cancer should avoid DHEA. You can get this in a health food store, but I suggest you get a prescription from a physician who can monitor your blood levels and keep tabs on any risks.
One of the many insidious aspects of prescription drugs is their hidden side effects, and perhaps none of the consequences are less talked about than those affecting sexuality. The biggest offenders are all the many classes of heart related drugs, especially the ones used to lower high blood pressure. Diuretics, beta blockers, and antidepressants can all be culprits. If you are taking any of these meds and notice a crimp in your sex drive, talk to your doctor. At the very least, perhaps other drugs without sexual side effects can be substituted.