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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sex Ed: Hormonal Hitches

By Jim Larkins

It is the fuel that drives man’s urges, sometimes igniting battles between male adversaries. But testosterone is more than just a simple male hormone—it is the natural chemical blueprint behind our physiology and it is a great part of what essentially makes us men.

By definition, testosterone is a steroid hormone from the androgen group, which is found in mammals, birds and other vertebrates. In men, the hormone is a major player in the development of male reproductive tissues such as the testis and prostate. It also promotes secondary sexual characteristics such as increased bone mass, muscle mass and body hair growth.

Unfortunately, we cannot take our hormonal levels for granted. Testosterone naturally begins to decrease when we reach adulthood and continues to do so throughout one’s lifetime. Therefore it is essential to try and bypass specific hurdles that can drive hormonal levels down even lower than naturally expected.

One of the more urgent consequences of testosterone depletion is the impact on sexual desire. Lower testosterone levels in the bloodstream can have a serious impact on your sexual urges.

Ironically, one bedroom activity can seriously impact another when it comes to testosterone levels. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea lower the levels of the hormone, which in turn can mean a minimal interest in sex.

Stress is another enemy of testosterone. The stressed out nine-to-fiver might discover that after spending a day in the workplace pressure cooker, his testosterone is plummeting toward a crash landing. Since the waning of sexual appetite is a byproduct of this decrease, one can find himself in a cycle of frustration and even more stress.

Weightlifting is a natural route to boosting testosterone levels. Focusing on the big muscles in the arms, chest, shoulders and back is helpful, but one may experience the greatest increases through leg workouts, such as squats.

Another natural alternative to testosterone supplements can be found in such herbal remedies as avena sativa; a longstanding popular staple of sex-enhancing formulas. In one study, 20 men who took 300 milligrams a day of green oat straw experienced a 54 percent increase in frequency of sexual activity. It is worth noting that, unlike avena sativa, herbs such as saw palmetto, which can help alleviate an enlarged prostate, can actually decrease testosterone production.

In the end, losing weight and getting better sleep can help raise testosterone levels, especially for older men who might be experiencing andropause, the male equivalent to menopause. Lastly, the most attractive of testosterone replacement therapy is simply to have more sex. Now that’s a prescription that anyone should be able to live with.

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