Posted by Margie King
What comes to mind when you think of testosterone? Raging men with rippling muscles? OK, but there’s more to testosterone than that. Women need a little, too, just as men need some estrogen. Now a new study finds that pomegranate, the same fruit that supports your estrogen and progesterone balance, can also safely boost your testosterone levels and that could be good for your love life.
Researchers at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland, asked 60 healthy men and women between the ages of 21 and 64 to drink a glass of pomegranate juice every day for two weeks. By the end of the short study, testosterone levels of both sexes increased significantly by 16 to 30 percent, and their blood pressure declined.
The benefits of healthy testosterone levels
Testosterone is just one of a group of male hormones known as androgens. When properly balanced with all of the other human hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, androgens can make a big difference in the health and well-being of both men and women.
In men testosterone is associated with facial hair, a deep voice, aggression and greater sexual appetite. For women, androgens provide vitality and sex drive, and increase both the sensitivity of the erogenous zones and the frequency of orgasm.
Another “side effect” of healthy testosterone levels is better mood. In the Edinburgh study, in addition to testosterone and blood pressure levels, researchers measured mood by looking at 11 emotions including fear, sadness, guilt, shyness and self-assurance. Positive emotions went up after drinking the juice and negative feelings declined.
Other benefits of androgens include increased energy, stronger bones and muscles, improved memory and cognitive function, and even stress relief.
Testosterone levels decrease at midlife
Ovaries produce almost half of a woman’s testosterone with the balance coming from the adrenals, liver and body fat. Like estrogen and progesterone, testosterone levels drop as we age and 40 year-old women produce about half the testosterone of their 20 year-old counterparts. Levels may drop even further when menopause hits or if a woman suffers from adrenal fatigue.
Many doctors believe that the low energy, decreased libido and flat mood that many menopausal women report could be related to diminished testosterone levels.
When estrogen replacement therapy fails to restore a woman’s sexual desire in an otherwise healthy relationship, it’s worth examining testosterone levels.
Psychologist Dr. Barbara Sherwin, a professor at McGill University, conducted a study on women who had their ovaries removed and she found that administering a combination of testosterone and estrogen made these women more interested in sex, and more likely to experience pleasure and have orgasms.
Some physicians, however, are reluctant to prescribe androgen therapy, citing the relative lack of safety and efficacy studies on women and testosterone, and the uncertainty of long-term effects.
Symptoms of testosterone overdose
Some unfavorable side effects of too much testosterone in women include:
- Decreased HDL “good” cholesterol which may negatively impact cardiovascular health
- Mood disturbances
- Acne on the face and scalp
- Facial hair
- Deepened voice
Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of “The Wisdom of Menopause,” notes that decreased ovarian production of testosterone may correct itself in time as other androgen producing organs take up the slack. If not, natural testosterone may be prescribed by a physician through a formulary pharmacy in capsule form or as a vaginal cream.
This new Edinburgh study of pomegranates and testosterone gives women another possibility for restoring libido at midlife.
Margie King is a holistic health coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. A Wharton M.B.A. and practicing corporate attorney for 20 years, Margie left the world of business to pursue her passion for all things nutritious. She now works with midlife women and busy professionals to improve their health, energy and happiness through individual and group coaching, as well as webinars, workshops and cooking classes. To contact Margie, visit www.NourishingMenopause.com.