Building and Keeping Sexual Desire Strong
By Cynthia Foster, MD
Many people have asked me what to do to increase testosterone levels.
Let’s learn about the importance of testosterone in men AND in women
and how to keep its production strong throughout all the phases of our lives. Bonus section at the end on which herbs increase your sex drive, stimulate erections and ensure great sex. And products that help keep you strong, youthful and playful.
What does Testosterone Do?
Testosterone has masculinizing and anabolic effects. It guides the production and development of normal sperm, making it an absolute necessity for fertility. But it also helps build muscle and bone (the anabolic effects), increases mental and physical energy and the ability to think and concentrate. Probably all of us are familiar with its ability to increase libido. Healthy levels of testosterone produces a natural “high”, feelings of happiness, physical strength, willpower, strong erections, a healthy immune system and healthy sleep patterns. Scientists nickname Testosterone “Nature’s Own Performance-Enhancement Drug.”
Testosterone levels are declining:
Unfortunately, testosterone levels decline as men age starting around the age of 35.
At age 60, testosterone is about 1/3 what it was for men in their twenties. A study in the British Medical Journal in 1992 showed that between 1940 and 1990, the average number of sperm per millimeter of male semen dropped more than 50% and the percentage of men with an extremely low sperm count tripled. These effects were noticed worldwide.
Even more shocking is that we’re now seeing 20-year-olds with the testosterone levels of 80 year olds. And it drops so gradually, most men don’t realize it.
Low Testosterone Causes Many Problems:
Low testosterone levels affect physical, mental and sexual activities, manifesting as a loss of muscle mass and bone strength, increased body fat (especially around the stomach), fatigue, decreased energy, less interest in sex, erectile dysfunction, low sperm count, infertility, nervousness, irritability and depression. It also results in impaired memory, difficulty concentrating, and insomnia. Obviously athletic performance suffers.
Research has shown that low testosterone levels make men feel less self-confident, make them less likely to take risks, and to be less successful at work. This decline is sometimes the culprit in the infamous midlife crisis, characterized by an increase in waist size, lack of motivation, and reduced energy. When this happens, men are often prescribed antidepressants without doctors knowing or understanding that this is a hormonal problem.
Benefits of Maintaining healthy testosterone levels:
Men whose testosterone levels are slightly above average are less likely to have high blood pressure, less likely to experience a heart attack, less likely to be obese, and less likely to rate their own health as fair or poor.
Maintaining normal testosterone levels in elderly men has been shown to increase lean body mass, decrease visceral fat mass, decrease total cholesterol, and improve glycemic control, thereby reducing cardiovascular disease risk. 
In recent years, more and more postmenopausal women have become interested in their own testosterone production because of its building and strengthening effects on bone and muscle mass, the ability to concentrate, increase energy levels, improve fatigue, elevate the mood, increase libido  and even improve orgasms. Women on testosterone therapies may experience an increase in bone and muscle density, adding a small amount of healthy weight, but without adding fat.
Younger women who are of child-bearing age may experience a decline in libido due to taking oral contraceptives which can lower testosterone levels.
1. Cell phones – testosterone levels decrease in rats following exposure to 900 mHz Radio frequency electromagnetic fields – handful of studies. 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week, for 4 weeks. Wireless radiation. Laptops also damage sperm.
2. Cortisol – high levels (caused by high stress situations) block testosterone
3. Estrogen-promoting toxins, especially plastics (Xenoestrogens). People who drink a lot out of plastic bottles have higher levels of plastic and lower levels of testosterone. Xenoesterogens disrupt natural hormones 
4. Diet and Nutrition – those eating more fats have higher levels of testosterone than those eating more sugars. The best sources of fats include nuts, seeds (especially soaked and sprouted), avocadoes, coconut and animal fats.
5. Medications: testosterone blockers. Certain medications can interfere with erections and orgasms including blood pressure meds, antihistamines, anticholinergic medications (glaucoma meds, certain antidepressants)
Knowing the problem is half the battle. What to do about it is a little more complicated. Many people succumb to the synthetic version prescribed by their doctor. Unfortunately, there are many risks for both men and women using synthetic testosterone (regardless of whether it’s in an injection, cream, gel, patches or oral form).
Synthetic Testosterone Side Effects:
- Increased risk of prostate cancer
- Liver damage
- Hair loss
- Shrunken testicles
- Shutdown of sperm production
- Aggression and violence if the dose is too high
- The gel: if you get it on your hands and touch your mate or pets, they can become overly aggressive/ woman can lose her period)
- Hair loss
- Liver damage
- Increased risk of breast or gynecologic cancer 
The problem with taking hormones pre-made is that your body thinks it is producing them. Because of the hormonal feedback system in the body, the hormonal system believes that it is actually producing these hormones, so it shuts down to avoid “producing too much.” This results in the shrinking of hormone-producing glands. What this means is that you will be dependent on the hormones, and if you ever run out of the prescription, how do you make testosterone with shrunken testicles that have been shut down???
Hormone-supportive herbs typically decrease
the risk of cancer. When you take hormone supportive herbs and the right nutrition, you are increasing
your body’s own
production of testosterone. This means you’re not shrinking your testicles and other hormone-producing glands, but increasing
their activity. And if you run out of herbs, your body can still produce its own testosterone without help.
Recommendations to Optimize Your T Levels:
1. Work out with tough exercises
2. Get 8 hours of sleep nightly. Sleep deprivation lowers testosterone levels
3. Avoid binge drinking – 3 drinks is enough on the weekend.
4. Have sex at least once a week. Just having an erection increases your testosterone. Mornings are best because your levels are highest in the morning
5. Supplement with the right herbs – easiest and fastest ways
- Adaptogens lower cortisol, allowing more production of testosterone
- Maca, Suma and Muira Puama. Muira puama has been demonstrated to lead to improvement in frequency of sexual desires, sexual intercourse, and sexual fantasies, as well as in satisfaction with sex life, intensity of sexual desires, excitement of fantasies, ability to reach orgasm, and intensity of orgasm.
- Damiana Research shows it can increase sexual performance, increase the chance of ejaculation in impotent males and decrease the latency period after ejaculation. 
Not a lot of people talk about this one, but it’s an amazing aphrodisiac that works for both men and women. It can dramatically increase sexual desire and produce long-lasting erections. I remember when I first started learning about herbs and I started experimenting with Damiana. After about a week of taking it, just about every thought in my head was about sex. I had no significant other at the time, so I had to stop taking it! I’ll let you experiment with the dose, but please start with the recommended dose on the label because I’ve known the effects in men can be just as powerful as the prescription drugs, and you don’t want an erection that lasts too long. I like this herb because it’s not as harsh as Yohimbe, but it still works.
- Male Magnetism and Female Magnetism – these are classic formulas for revving up your hormones. Yohimbe is very energizing, and it can raise your blood pressure slightly if you take it every day, but if your blood pressure is low and you lack energy, these are perfect.
How long does it take to restore your hormones?
Pick ONE of the above formulas (you can add Immune Valor as well). Normally, with a good hormonal supportive herbal formula, you can feel results in around 3 weeks, but it’s highly recommended to take for at least 6 months. Many feel the youth-extending benefits are worth taking adaptogen and hormone supportive herbs for life.
Here’s to feeling young again!
-Cynthia Foster, MD
About Dr. Foster
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2. Dindyal S (2007). The sperm count has been decreasing steadily for many years in Western industrialised countries: Is there an endocrine basis for this decrease?” The Internet Journal of Urology 2
3. Stanworth RD, Jones TH (2008). “Testosterone for the aging male: current evidence and recommended practice”. Clin Interv Aging 3
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7. Wayneberg J, Brewer S., Institute of Sexology, Paris, Adv. Ther. 2000 Sep-Oct: 17(5):255-62. Effects of Herbal vX on libido and sexual activity in premenopausal and postmenopausal women.