A flailing libido is often seen as a sign of relationship weakness or personal failure and most people will do anything to improve it. The fact remains that one’s libido is a reflection of multiple aspects and can often be a sign of ill health. All too often I am presented with a person who expresses concern about their lack of libido while at the same time feeling unwell or presenting with other health complaints. The most important thing that people realize is that a lack of libido indicates that something else is awry and this may be on a mental, emotional or physical level. Simple reasons such as fatigue cannot be ignored and I often remind patients that libido is a ‘top level of health benefit’. Our genes are predisposed to procreate and we have sexual passion when we are at our peak health.
From a physical perspective, a common presentation is someone who is deficient in zinc whereby they may present with poor hormonal production, lowered mood (even post natal depression), hair loss, poor digestive function, insomnia and low libido. In the eyes of a naturopath this paints a very holistic picture of zinc deficiency. Zinc is crucial for sexual reproductive function and regulates and assists the production of hormones including testosterone and oestrogen. If someone is proven to be zinc deficient (i.e. don’t take it if you haven’t been assessed properly) then correct supplementation ameliorates most of these concerns including low libido. This is one of the reasons oysters have their reputation – 100g of oysters contain a whopping 16.6mg.
The emotional and mental aspects of libido cannot be underestimated. Any communication breakdown in relationships is clearly seen reflected in sexual communication (or lack of it). ‘Honey I have a headache’ or ‘where has our spark gone’ can often indicate a need to process emotional issues that have surfaced.
Occasionally low libido can be a sign of other serious illnesses. In these situations no aphrodisiac – either pharmaceutical or natural – will make a difference. If your libido is low for an extended period of time or if you have other health concerns, it is imperative that you seek assistance and see a qualified health professional.