Hormones play an integral role in the way we look, feel, and perform from day to day. The premiere sex hormone, testosterone, is important for men, but it also plays an important role for a woman—especially a woman’s healthy interest in sex.
Testosterone has been called the “hormone of desire” for good reason. Without enough testosterone, desire for sex all but disappears. Testosterone plays a major role in almost all aspects of sexual health in both genders (low testosterone levels are implicated in many cases of erectile dysfunction – not exactly something you ladies need to worry about). But testosterone is required for a lot more than just a good time.
Men produce testosterone mostly within their testicles with less then 5 percent produced in their adrenal glands, whereas women produce testosterone primarily from their ovaries (before menopause) and their adrenal glands. On average, women produce about one tenth the testosterone level as men. Even though women produce a pinch of the amount a man produces, this hormone is still required for the same reasons:
increased metabolism—more energy, less body fat
increased lean body mass—especially muscle and bone
healthy sexual function—libido
healthy mind set—better moods
Testosterone can mean no more ‘headaches’
Studies have confirmed that testosterone is the primary hormonal message behind a woman’s (and man’s) sex drive. It is well accepted that most women after menopause experience a less than adequate sex drive, commonly referred to as female sexual dysfunction, or FSD. This condition can often be due to lowered testosterone levels—especially lower levels of free testosterone (the most biologically active testosterone). Most of your testosterone is bound to a special carrier protein called a sex hormone-binding globulin, or SHBG. It is only the “free” or unbound testosterone that can exert its wonders on your biochemistry.
Many doctors now prescribe testosterone treatment—along with other hormones (hormone replacement therapy or HRT, preferably as bioidentical hormones)—for women suffering from FSD, with great success. In fact, at least 20 percent of all testosterone prescriptions are written for women.
Swedish researchers recently published a study showing that testosterone gel given to postmenopausal women with low libido had positive effects on several aspects of sexual life such as frequency of sexual activity, orgasm, arousal, fantasies and sexual interest.
Israeli researchers discovered that women suffering from loss of sexual desire may not have to consume testosterone on a regular basis in order to benefit from its powerful libido-enhancing effects. The study, which appeared in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in January 2007, showed that women who used a specially prepared testosterone gel experienced increased genital sensations and sexual lust three to four hours afterward. The researchers concluded that this may be a safer way to administer testosterone in women suffering from chronic low libido.
Raising testosterone levels the natural way
Now that you are a little more in touch with the importance of maintaining healthy testosterone levels through age, following are a few more testosterone tips for women:
Exercise—especially weight-bearing exercise. Regular exercise has been documented to increase free testosterone and maintain lean body mass.
Lose the fat—excess body fat may interfere with healthy testosterone levels.
Reduce stress—stress enhances the hormone cortisol, which reduces testosterone.
Try supplementing with a Southeast Asian herb called tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia). The Asian Congress of Sexology published a paper in 2002 touting the incredible aphrodisiac and testosterone-boosting powers of this amazing herb.
A healthy sex life is indicative of good health. The good news is that you now know it is possible to maintain a healthy supply of testosterone at any age.
Burning fat with testosterone
A major frustration for women is that most men can control their weight more easily and can even lose more weight when following the same weight-loss program. A large part of this metabolic advantage can be found in the extra 30 to 40 pounds of muscle a man’s body carries. This extra muscle helps men burn up to 30 percent more calories than women—exercising or sleeping—and it can be attributed largely to the extra testosterone a man produces.
 Ylonen K, et al. Associations of dietary fiber with glucose metabolism in nondiabetic relatives of subjects with type 2 diabetes: the Botnia Dietary Study. Diabetes Care. 2003 Jul;26(7):1979-85.
 Odeleye OE, et al. Fasting hyperinsulinemia is a predictor of increased body weight gain and obesity in Pima Indian children. Diabetes. 1997 Aug;46(8):1341-5.
 Mogul HR, et al. Metformin and carbohydrate-modified diet: a novel obesity treatment protocol: preliminary findings from a case series of nondiabetic women with midlife weight gain and hyperinsulinemia. Heart Dis. 2001 Sep-Oct;3(5):285-92.
 King B. Fat Wars: 45 Days to Transform Your Body. Wiley and Sons. Toronto. 2002.
 Riccardi G, Rivellese AA. Effects of dietary fiber and carbohydrate on glucose and lipoprotein metabolism in diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 1991 Dec;14(12):1115-25.
 Galisteo M et al. Effects of dietary fibers on disturbances clustered in the metabolic syndrome. J Nutr Biochem. 2007 Jul 5;
 Howarth NC, et al. Dietary fiber and weight regulation. Nutr Rev. 2001 May;59(5):129-39.