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Most conversations about levels of sexual desire focus on how to increase libido, not decrease it. Hypo-active sexual desire -- that is, an abnormally low interest in sex -- is more common than an overactive libido. As more people turn to nutrition to achieve optimal health, many wonder about any potential negative affects of supplements on their lifestyle, including sexual desire.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Factors That Affect Sexual Desire
Relationship issues between partners plays a big role in sexual desire. From a physiological standpoint, libido is affected by overall physical health and, specifically, healthy functioning of your endocrine system. So, periods of life marked by fluctuating hormone levels -- for example, during pregnancy, menopause and aging in general -- often present changing levels of sexual desire.
Sexual Desire as a Good Health Marker
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Some level of desire to have sex is viewed as a sign of normal health. Most research conducted on sexual desire explores the occurrence and reasons for low desire, as in a pilot study on the relationship between sexual functioning and depression in postpartum women in the December 2010 issue of "The Journal of Sexual Medicine." This study by Meredith Chivers, Ph.D., and colleagues concluded more research is needed to determine the exact causes and treatment for high rates of sexual dysfunction and depression among postpartum women. A much larger study by Birgitte Schutt Christensen and colleagues, published in the same issue of "The Journal of Sexual Medicine," correlated physical health problems as having the most negative effect on sexual functioning for men, while women's sexual health seems to be linked more to mental health issues.
- Some level of desire to have sex is viewed as a sign of normal health.
- A much larger study by Birgitte Schutt Christensen and colleagues, published in the same issue of "The Journal of Sexual Medicine," correlated physical health problems as having the most negative effect on sexual functioning for men, while women's sexual health seems to be linked more to mental health issues.
Vitamins That Impact Endocrine Health
Vitamins A and E appear to be linked in a positive way to endocrine-related sexual health. Both are available in a wide variety of foods -- from eggs and dairy to green and orange vegetables -- in addition to being available in supplement form.
Calcitriol, A Medication-Level Vitamin
Vitamins for Mental Clarity
Vitamin D works with calcium to promote bone and brain health. Some conditions, such as kidney or thyroid disease, may result in lowered levels of calcium in the blood. Calcitriol provides vitamin D in dosages that help your body use calcium more optimally 1. Decreased sexual desire is one of many side effects for calcitriol listed by Medline Plus, an online resource of the National Institutes of Healt 1h
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- Medline Plus: Calcitriol
- Calabrò RS, Cacciola A, Bruschetta D, et al. Neuroanatomy and function of human sexual behavior: A neglected or unknown issue? Brain Behav. 2019 Dec;9(12):e01389. doi:10.1002/brb3.1389
- Culley C. Carson III, Prevalence, diagnosis and treatment of hypogonadism in primary care practice. Boston University School of Medicine. Feb 7, 2003.
- Brawer MK. Testosterone replacement in men with andropause: An overview. Rev Urol. 2004;6(Suppl 6):S9-S15.
- West SL, D’Aloisio AA, Agans RP, Kalsbeek WD, Borisov NN, Thorp JM. Prevalence of low sexual desire and hypoactive sexual desire disorder in a nationally representative sample of US women. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(13):1441-1449.
- Herman JP, McKlveen JM, Ghosal S, et al. Regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical stress response. Compr Physiol. 2016; 6(2): 603–621. doi:10.1002/cphy.c150015
- Hamilton LD, Rellini AH, Meston CM. Cortisol, sexual arousal, and affect in response to sexual stimuli. J Sex Med. 2008;5(9):2111-2118. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.00922.x
- Rizk PJ, Kohn TP, Pastuszak AW, Khera M. Testosterone therapy improves erectile function and libido in hypogonadal men. Curr Opin Urol. 2017 Nov; 27(6): 511–515.doi:10.1097/MOU.0000000000000442
Since 1997, Tracy Morris has written about fertility and medical topics for magazines such as "Achieving Families," "ePregnancy," "Nurses Lounge" and internet communities like MomsOnline. She has written for the clinics IntegraMed America, Shady Grove Fertility and RSC Bay Area. Morris has a Bachelor of Arts in human development/family studies from University of Houston and is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.