hormone levels

  1. The hidden risks of fatherhood

    You make a lot of sacrifices when you become a parent -- but this is one I'm sure most men never see coming...

    It's the loss of their manhood.

    No, I'm not just talking about the fact that one-time tough guys will coo at a baby, or decorate a nursery in pink.

    I'm talking about real research that reveals a sharp dip in testosterone levels from the moment they hear the words, "It's a boy!"

    Fatherhood can literally cause testosterone levels to plummet by as much as half the moment a child is born. And while it recovers after that (a little bit, anyway), they never quite get their pre-parental mojo back.

    Researchers measured testosterone levels by taking saliva samples from 600 childless men in the Philippines, then repeated those tests for five years. The men who had kids during that time saw their levels plunge by 50 percent in the first month of fatherhood.

    Those who were most involved in physically caring for their child had the biggest drops. (If you ever needed an excuse to skip diaper-change, this is it!)

    Testosterone levels eventually recovered when the children reached toddlerhood — but not completely. Men with kids had 34 percent less testosterone by the end of the study, while men without had drops of just 14 percent (we all lose a little as we age).

    But you don't have to tolerate low testosterone levels, whether you're a dad or not. There are simple steps you can take right now to keep your hormone levels exactly where they need to be.

    First, be sure to get your rest. Testosterone levels can fall by 15 percent after just one week of sleepless nights, according to a recent study.

    Next, lose some weight: Studies have found that overweight and obese men have lower levels of the hormone -- and that those levels rise when the weight comes off.

    Finally, find a safe way to get off the drugs you don't need (and that's nearly all of them). Many come with side effects that are downright emasculating. One recent study found that men who take statins, for example, have double the risk of low testosterone.

    If none of these apply to you, and you're suffering from low testosterone, here's one for you: Emerging research has found that an extract of the spice fenugreek can actually cause free testosterone levels to surge by as much as 96 percent. Read more about it here.

    That's enough to turn you into the manliest dad -- or even granddad -- around.

  2. Sex can help women age better

    Sex doesn't just get better with age -- age gets better with sex, especially for women.

    In fact, older women with satisfying sex lives have better lives overall -- and that's not just opinion; it's a scientific fact.

    Because when researchers interviewed 1,235 senior women in San Diego, they found that even the elderly can have satisfying sex lives -- and when it comes to those later years, quality trumps quantity (but feel free to boost quantity just the same, it's good for both of you).

    Overall, the researchers say 31 percent of women in their 80s, 57 percent of women in their 70s, and 70 percent of women in their 60s reported at least one sexual encounter over the previous six months.

    But regardless of how much sex they had, they all reported similar levels of moderate to high "sexual satisfaction" -- mostly hovering around 60 percent.

    And with sexual satisfaction came other forms of satisfaction: Those women with satisfying sex lives reported more happiness and a better quality of life than those with less sexual satisfaction.

    The researchers also wrote in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that as women got older, they were more likely to report problems with sexual arousal and desire -- and of course, that's music to the drug industry's ears. (Cheesy 70s porn music, I'm sure.)

    That's because Big Pharma has been lusting after a so-called "female Viagra." And while none of the drugs they've come up with have been approved for women (yet), that hasn't stopped them from priming the market.

    And as I've told you before, some of the tactics they've used have been downright underhanded.

    Don't fall for it.

    In many cases, female sex problems are caused by drug side effects, especially in older women. In other cases, it could just be one of the signs of aging as hormone levels drop -- but not the ones you're thinking of.

    Testosterone is often considered a male hormone, but women need it too. Older women who get a boost often see dramatic improvements in their sex lives.

    If you're having problems with arousal and desire, don't wait for Big Pharma to come out with a sex med. Visit a naturopathic physician who has experience working with hormones.

    Then tell your husband to get ready.

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