The more stressful our society gets, the more concerns I have from patients regarding this private matter. There are many reasons people are experiencing low sex drive, including medical problems, medications, stress, lifestyle, and normal aging.
For women, it’s lack of interest, diminished libido, or inability to experience the magic O. For men, it’s premature ejaculation or even erectile dysfunction.
The first question I ask my patients is: Could you be deficient in minerals like iron, zinc, or selenium? All of these affect how testosterone is metabolized, which can majorly affect your sex drive. I check testosterone in both my male and female patients because these levels can tell me a lot, and having too high or too low testosterone can be problematic for both genders.
After 30, there's a natural decline in testosterone for both men and women, which can cause decreased energy, muscle mass, and libido. While there are many supplements on the market for boosting testosterone, I encourage talking to an integrative and functional medicine doctor about these first, as these can pose serious health risks if not monitored properly.
If women want to give their testosterone levels (and thus, their sex drive) a boost, try these natural and healthy tweaks you can make to your diet and daily routine.
Go for fat.
Cholesterol is a derivative of testosterone so it’s important to keep your cholesterol levels in check. Getting healthy fats in your diet keep testosterone production functioning properly. I highly encourage using olive oil or coconut oil for cooking and snacking on walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds to provide omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and zinc.
Whole eggs are full of antioxidants, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as choline, which is a big brain booster. Avocados are also essential because they help to reduce LDL (aka "bad cholesterol") levels and increase HDL levels (the "good cholesterol")—which is what you want to keep high for good testosterone production.
Keep those minerals high.
Two of the most famous aphrodisiac foods are chocolate and oysters. Sure, they can help set the mood, but the real reason these have stuck around as a libido enhancer is because they're high in zinc and magnesium. Shellfish bone broth and organ meat bone broth are also high in zinc, vitamin A, and collagen, which are great for testosterone production.
Explore the maca connection.
Maca is a root that I found out about when I was visiting Peru four years ago. It's not only the newest "superfood" with great antioxidant and energy-enhancing properties, it also increases testosterone when taken orally. It's full of essential vitamins like vitamin B, C, and E and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Athletes love it because it enhances endurance training, but it can also help boost libido, improve fertility in women, balance hormones, and improve mood and menopausal symptoms as well. Try adding it to smoothies or warm drinks. There aren't any serious side effects but taking too much could upset your stomach if you're not used to it, so start small.
Decrease your stress.
Stress has to be one of the biggest problems in our society today. Many people aren't managing their stress levels, which will inevitably affect desire, mood, and hormones. Easier said than done, but try to keep your "stressors" out of the bedroom.
One of my favorite go-to supplements for patients dealing with stressful lives and jobs is the Indian adaptogenic herb ashwagandha. It’s great for balancing your stress levels, but it also increases testosterone production in both men and women.
Also worth noting: Watch that alcohol intake; it can negatively affect your libido!