Testosterone. It’s the aggressive hormone of pubescent boys and angry men, isn’t it?
It’s responsible for the muscle-bound Hulk wannabe, flexing his pecs and spoiling for a fight. And the Chippendale boys – remember them? – dripping with baby oil. Oh, and let’s not forget those power-hungry egotistical businessmen who adore risk and don’t give two hoots what they need to do in order to get ahead in their game.
Testosterone is what makes men men.
Or at least, that’s what I used to think.
But it turns out that this so-called man’s hormone is actually pretty vital for us ladies too, and it could be the root cause of your disappointing orgasms, desperate lack of energy and that low, demotivated feeling that you may have been battling with lately.
Girls need testosterone, too
Testosterone is actually produced by everyone, men and women.
The difference is, females produce a nifty enzyme called aromatase which converts the majority of this testosterone into oestrogen and naturally helps us to retain our feminine charm! It’s primarily made in your ovaries, adrenal glands and body fat.
This testosterone plays a vital role in keeping us looking and feeling our absolute best.
Known as the ‘personality hormone’, it keeps you motivated, optimistic and alive. As a result, you’ll feel brighter, more assertive and you’re far more likely to enjoy a satisfying sex life and great orgasms, too.
But it also plays an essential role in keeping the rest of your body healthy. It supports and even increases your bone density, keeps your skin supple and wrinkle free, turns fat into muscle and helps you feel attractive and sexy.
And the benefits don’t stop there. It also keeps your brain working like a well-oiled machine, helps protect against Alzheimer’s, keeps your heart and liver in tip-top condition and maintains your thyroid at a healthy level. It seems there’s almost nothing that testosterone can’t do.
What happens during the menopause?
As you enter your menopausal years your natural levels of testosterone drop off by around 50%.
For many women, this piles another set of challenges on top of the others faced during this time of transition, and it brings with it low moods, depression, lack of motivation and those disappointing orgasms I mentioned earlier.
It’s becoming increasingly common to find low levels of testosterone in women of all ages too, not just menopausal women. Usually this is a result of stress or other medical problems.
The thing is, this isn’t a natural part of ageing that we just have to learn to accept. We can, and we definitely should, get up and get fighting so we can overcome this hurdle and reclaim our health and our happiness.
Luckily, there are several very easy and very natural ways to do this.
Eat cholesterol and fats
Yes, you read that right: you really do need to make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats and protein in your diet, which includes eating cholesterol-containing foods.
For a long time, health authorities wrongly believed that dietary cholesterol not only raises your blood cholesterol but also increases your risk of heart disease. More recent studies have suggested that instead of harming your body, cholesterol actually helps to protect it from inflammation and heart disease.
This advice was devastating for global health, pushing up levels of type 2 diabetes and obesity.
And the thing is, cholesterol and omega 3 fatty acids are essential for our cell function, blood clotting, brain function and also hormone production. More specifically, cholesterol is actually essential for the production of testosterone.
No cholesterol = no testosterone.
So my advice is simple:
- Eat more healthy proteins such as eggs, fish, seafood, nuts and seeds.
- Introduce more healthy fats in your diet, such as flaxseeds, hemp seeds, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds and oily fish.
- Include cholesterol-containing foods, like eggs, liver, fish, butter, shellfish, shrimp, bacon, sausages, red meat and cheese. Obviously don’t go overboard and stick to the healthier options as far as possible.
- Keep an eye on how many carbs you are getting and watch your fruit consumption. These influence your blood sugar and can disrupt your hormone levels even further.
The bad news for couch potatoes
There’s no denying it. Exercise is absolutely essential for health, and it’s also vital for increasing your testosterone levels and rebalancing your overall hormone levels. If you’re serious about regaining your natural sparkle and joie de vivre, you’ll need to drag yourself off that sofa and get moving.
Luckily, this doesn’t mean running marathons or chaining yourself to instruments of torture at the gym just yet. Science has now shown that as little as 30 minutes’ exercise three times a week is all it takes to see incredible benefits in many areas of your life.
Go for something that gets your pulse up, such as running, circuit training or a dance workout if that tickles your fancy. And don’t forget the weights, too – contrary to popular opinion, they won’t make you bulk up but will help stimulate your hormone production.
And last but not least, find time to relax. It can be so hard to switch off and claim some downtime in this hectic world of ours, but it’s so important if you really value your health. Chronic stress is responsible for so much pain, disease and depression in the world today, and we really need to do something about it.
When you feel stressed, your production of fight-or-flight hormones like cortisol and adrenaline go through the roof. It’s a natural reaction that has served us well throughout time. But these days, we don’t run from the predator that’s standing over us, we don’t fight for our lives, and as such, these hormones just stick around and make us feel pretty crappy, creating imbalances and decreasing the production of the very hormones we want.
The art of relaxation is often harder than it sounds, but with a little effort, you will feel tons better, and so will your body.
So if you’re feeling low, lacking in energy and not really enjoying your sex life as much as you used to, you might want to take a look at your testosterone levels as it could be the very thing that is to blame.
But don’t give up hope. By eating right, remembering to include cholesterol-containing foods from time to time, getting enough exercise and taking time to relax, you could regain your natural sparkle. I promise.