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deanm

CR & Sexual Dysfunction

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I love the CR lifestyle. I have never looked better in life, I have never felt better in life. I was full of energy, I was in great shape, my skin looked fantastic , I looked 10 years younger than my actual age...I can't say enough positive things about CR...EXCEPT!!!!....I completely loss all interest in sex, I had -0- libido, erectile problems....it was so disheartening....I have done some research on CR and testosterone loss as well as its effect on people's emotions....is there anyway I can retain the benefits of CR and offset some of these side effects? I was hoping to here about other experiences and i am open to any recommendations. Thank you so much.

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ok...lol....so from the lack of response i guess i'm doomed to be a long living eunuch? Someone suggested hormone replacement therapy but this seemed counter-intuitive when the issue can be fixed by reverting back to a normal diet...

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I'm new on the diet and learning all the time, so hardly an expert. However...

 

I do remember seeing a reference in the Longevity Diet about decreased sex drive in people who followed the more extreme versions of the diet. It does make sense, in terms of the reasoning behind why the diet works; moving the body away from reproduction towards a kind of stasis. And I have to say that it's one of the reasons why I'll never follow the more extreme versions of the diet (not that I probably would be able to anyway). I'll make the trade for enhanced health and a slightly extended life that includes a sexual libido over a really long healthy life with no interest in sex. No thanks :P

 

Good luck with your... stuff ;)

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I love the CR lifestyle. I have never looked better in life, I have never felt better in life. I was full of energy, I was in great shape, my skin looked fantastic , I looked 10 years younger than my actual age...I can't say enough positive things about CR...EXCEPT!!!!....I completely loss all interest in sex, I had -0- libido, erectile problems....it was so disheartening....I have done some research on CR and testosterone loss as well as its effect on people's emotions....is there anyway I can retain the benefits of CR and offset some of these side effects? I was hoping to here about other experiences and i am open to any recommendations. Thank you so much.

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Hi Dean,

 

Saw your post and am in a rush, getting a lot of things done so I will be free to do the CR Mardi Gras tomorrow. A true CR diet should only temporarily depress sex drive. In the long run your testosterone will be far higher than your ad lib peers. ( mine is that of a 30-year old though I am in my 60s) Further, if you are practicing CR correctly , your body will be filled full of nitric oxide, which makes sexual expression much easier.

 

Do you live anywhere close to NYC? If so, come to the event tomorrow and let's talk about it. If not, post the CR diet you follow and let me take a look. I might have some suggestions.

 

Taking testosterone is a terrible idea. It would increaseIGF-1 and possibly cancer risk, while possibly depressing your body's ability to produce testosterone. It would also probably reduce the CR effect of preserving youthful hormone secretion into advanced age.

 

Hoping to help,

 

Paul

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Guest Matt

Try Pycnogenol + L-arginine. :) Google "pycnongenol and l arginine"

 

Hope this helps you! There are a number of studies that show this is very effective in 90% of men with mild-moderate problems.

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Guest Bob Cavanauugh

I make it a point to not eat things I can't pronounce. :) Paul is correct, your body will adapt unless you are severely restricting. I don't recall you mentioning your statistics.

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Hi :) My first post. New to CR, but some experience regarding libido and rapid weight loss.

 

The first thing I would try out is to eating more animal fats, and daily oysters or zinc supplement x5 dose.

 

(If you want more advice/background, read here.)

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Add olives and olive leaves to your diet for their hydroxytyrosol content.

 

I've been practicing for two years and haven't had any issues with lowered libido. I'm currently 22.

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I've been on CR for about 16 years -- when I started, I had the usual strong sex drive of most males; I was interested in a lot of females (in my mind :). Then, I recall clearly, a time (I don't rmember how far into my restriction -- but it's many years ago), when the desire for sex zeroed out. I DID NOT -- do not -- have any difficulty with erections -- these come naturally (and maybe more readily than average). What's lacking is a desire for sex.

 

From what I've seen on the List, the same is not true for calorie restricted women.

 

Being very much married, to a wonderful but Ad Lib and sexually interested wife (who BTW is 14.5 years younger than me) it's a slight problem for me. But, I force myself to do what my wife expects -- very rarely.

 

From what I've seen on the List, this same pattern is true of most long-term severely restricted males (from Paul's post, maybe not including Paul?)

 

-- Saul

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I've been on CR for about 16 years -- when I started, I had the usual strong sex drive of most males; I was interested in a lot of females (in my mind :). Then, I recall clearly, a time (I don't rmember how far into my restriction -- but it's many years ago), when the desire for sex zeroed out. I DID NOT -- do not -- have any difficulty with erections -- these come naturally (and maybe more readily than average). What's lacking is a desire for sex.

 

From what I've seen on the List, the same is not true for calorie restricted women.

 

Being very much married, to a wonderful but Ad Lib and sexually interested wife (who BTW is 14.5 years younger than me) it's a slight problem for me. But, I force myself to do what my wife expects -- very rarely.

 

From what I've seen on the List, this same pattern is true of most long-term severely restricted males (from Paul's post, maybe not including Paul?)

 

-- Saul

 

P.S.: I should note that I continue to be interested in certain females that I run into frequently (such as maybe a graduate student in the Math Dept.; or maybe someone in the gym where I work out). Male fantasies continue to occur -- but they're much more muted. I know if I actually did anything (which won't happen), it would be mostly romantic, not something fuelled by violent (non-CR'd, normal) male passion.

 

-- Saul

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Good, honest comments , Saul. Thanks for getting involved in this topic. Meredith and I have an article coming out about CR and sexuality, so I can't scoop what we say there, but I think there is new information and perspectives that should be considered. CR can be a very sexy lifestyle --facilitating not dampening interest in sexuality.

 

As I just posted on the list, the Wilcox bros and their colleagues have shown that testosterone remains high on Okinawan CR folk:

Implications from and for food cultures for cardiovascular disease: longevity.

 

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2001;10(2):165-71.

 

 

Suzuki M, Wilcox BJ, Wilcox CD.

 

 

Source

Okinawa Research Center for Longevity Science, Naha. Mksuzuki@nirai.ne.jp

 

 

Abstract

A healthy cardiovascular system, with minimal arteriosclerosis, good endothelial function and well-compensated ventricular function has been observed at advanced ages, and linked to a healthy lifestyle. This has consisted of a plant-based diet, low in salt and fat, with monounsaturates as the principal fat.

 

 

Other healthy lifestyle factors include regular physical activity (farming and traditional dance) and minimal tobacco use. The associated negative risk factors are low homocysteine, healthy cholesterol profile (Total:HDL ratio less than 3.5) and reasonable blood pressures throughout the life cycle. Hormone-dependent cancers including breast, ovary, prostate and colon and osteoporotic complications, such as hip fracture rates, are also less frequent compared to the west. Protective factors may include high anti-oxidant consumption, mainly flavonoids and carotenoids, through a high vegetable (e.g., onions) and soy intake. Related biological observations include low lipid peroxide, high superoxide dismutase activity and high serum hydroxyproline, a marker of bone formation. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its hormonal byproducts testosterone and oestrogen appear to be high in Okinawan serum compared with age-matched Americans, possibly reflecting a slower age-associated decline in the sex hormone axis in Okinawans. This may be linked to better cardiovascular and overall health. Further study is needed to delineate the reasons behind the impressive cardiovascular and overall health of the Okinawans.

 

PMID:11710359

 

 

 

 

Paul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A true CR diet should only temporarily depress sex drive. In the long run your testosterone will be far higher than your ad lib peers. ( mine is that of a 30-year old though I am in my 60s) Further, if you are practicing CR correctly , your body will be filled full of nitric oxide, which makes sexual expression much easier.

 

Paul:  WHAT is your total testosterone in ng/dL ??? That figure would be a fine (and scientific!) way to substantiate your claim. Ideally, give us test results over a range of years, if available.

 

Conrad

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Then, I recall clearly, a time (I don't rmember how far into my restriction -- but it's many years ago), when the desire for sex zeroed out. I DID NOT -- do not -- have any difficulty with erections -- these come naturally (and maybe more readily than average). What's lacking is a desire for sex.

 

This is a good description of my own experiences as well, more or less. I've been CR'ed to some degree or another since 2009...couldn't tell you when the desire for sex was rubbed out, but it was. Since we're speaking frankly, I *can* get it up...but I'm basically in perpetual "not tonight, I have a headache" mode. Zero interest.

 

Male fantasies continue to occur -- but they're much more muted. I know if I actually did anything (which won't happen), it would be mostly romantic, not something fuelled by violent (non-CR'd, normal) male passion.

 

Same here. It's been an odd experience; I'm 29 and began CR around the transition into adulthood (still making that transition, I think). When I was in college, I wanted to jump on anything that moved. ...heck, now I almost consider myself asexual. If anything, I think it leads to better social decision-making when that hulking, sweating cocaine-addict called male libido is off my back! (lol) Just a personal anecdote, of course, don't want to scare any potential male CRONies out there!! ;)

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This is a good description of my own experiences as well, more or less. I've been CR'ed to some degree or another since 2009...couldn't tell you when the desire for sex was rubbed out, but it was. Since we're speaking frankly, I *can* get it up...but I'm basically in perpetual "not tonight, I have a headache" mode. Zero interest.

 

 

 

Same here. It's been an odd experience; I'm 29 and began CR around the transition into adulthood (still making that transition, I think). When I was in college, I wanted to jump on anything that moved. ...heck, now I almost consider myself asexual. If anything, I think it leads to better social decision-making when that hulking, sweating cocaine-addict called male libido is off my back! (lol) Just a personal anecdote, of course, don't want to scare any potential male CRONies out there!! ;)

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Hi Taurus!

 

I should note that, I began CR in my midfifties -- I already had reproduced: I have two lovely, wonderful daughters. One of them is an

outstanding intellectual -- she graduated Columbia College Magna Com Laude in Biology, is married to a colloege classmate who is employed as an actuary by a Swiss re-insurance company; and she was recently admitted to NYU's MD/PhD program (programs like that are free, and extremely hard to get into -- on completion, one is botha n MD and a PhD in bio -- so she can do her bio research at some university, getting an MD's salary -- a VERY good deal. She's currently interested in the human immune system -- she worked under the recent late Bio Nobel Laureate at Rockefeller University. The other daughter is at the top of her class in our local Community College, and is applying to places such as Berkeley to continue her education.

 

The reason I mention this -- lot's of us (myself included) want(ed) sex for lots more than pleasure -- i.e., having kids.

 

However, IMO (I should say, "educated guess of an opinion"), extreme CR should NOT be an obstacle to having kids (for a male); you

may not be interested in having sex, but there's absolutely no difficulty (speaking from even recent experience) in having sex. And, my guess is, that your sperm will be just as potent (if not more so -- my guess, again) as if you were ad lib. (Anyone know any rat studies about this? Can CR'd male rats easily sire pups? My guess: "Yes")

 

NOT SO, if you're a heavily CR'd woman. A heavily CR'd woman -- while, I believe, having normal sexual desire (unlike the men), will stop having her period, thus being unable to reproduce. To bear kids, she'll have to (temporarily) go off CR, have the kid, and then either go right back on CR -- or, maybe, wait a few months to nurse the little one. :)

 

-- Saul

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Guest Dean

Thank you everyone for your responses. I have been extreme CRing for the past 5 years. I am currently 35 and single. In that 5 year period I have often been in a state of almost numbness. Emotional serenity. Great health & energy & appearance. But it hasn't made me the most engaging partner and coupled with a lack of interest in sex, it made dating difficult. I think you've all convinced me that maybe long term CR or extreme CR isn't for me...not at this stage of life anyway.

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First: here, and even more on the CR listserv, there has once again been the confusion about the effect of CR on libido -- the drive to get laid -- and erectile dysfunction. Again: it is almost universally reported that CR depresses the former, but if anything preserves or enhancesthe latter. Please stop muddying the waters.

 

Second, I'm in a similar boat to you, Dean, on all fronts, except that I am the happy captain of that ship: I don't find the subjective effects troubling, and greatly value the emotional serenity it brings. Folks interested in this subject will want to also have a look at the diversion of this thread onto the CR Listserv. In particular, you may want to see this post from another long-term CR person. People interested in this subject should also consider giving a listen to this podcast about the effects of testosterone suppression on personality and psychology (resulting from any of several different, non-CR mechanisms): it's quite astonishing to compare the effects, and contemplate how much of our motivations and outlook on life are dictated not by some nebulous, Cartesian "mind-stuff," but by hormones in our blood -- by endocrinology we share with rats and lemmings.

 

Third: as I've posted before, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that the reduction in testosterone that occurs with CR plays an important role in CR's health benefits, so Paul is quite right to be concerned about a non-reduction, just as (to a greater degree) one should be concerned if free T3 or especially IGF-1 doesn't fall.

 

Fourth: irrespective of one's libido or state of erectile functionality, I would strongly advise against the multiple putative herbal testosterone boosters, including but not limited to putative aromatase inhibitors, for none of which AFAICS is there a whit of decent in vivo Evidnece. Notably, as far as I can see, almost all the data on E. longifolia and testosterone is in silly models like estrogen-treated rats, and it also seems to "work" on sexual behavior in castrated rats, suggesting a non-T mechanism. There is exactly one human study in PubMed, and it was an uncontrolled, open study (can you say placebo?) done as a coordination between centers in South Africa and Malaysia (can you say less-than-world-class biomedical research centers?). The cancer data is all test-tube nonsense, properly ignored.

 

I'm sorry, IAC, Dean, that you haven't responded in quite the same way, and that it's made you drop CR, at least for the moment. Quality of life is subjective, and one's priorities are one's own: I respect your choice, and remind you that you can return to CR if it ever seems better-suited to your life in the future.

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Paul: " (...mine is that of a 30-year old though I am in my 60s) ..." - WHAT is your total testosterone in ng/dL ??? That figure would be a fine (and scientific!) way to substantiate your claim. Ideally, give us test results over a range of years, if available.

 

Conrad

 

 

Conrad and All,

 

 

 

Testing testosterone at is not a very exacting, unless you do it under controlled laboratory conditions. So FWIW, I found a site online that provides total serum T ranges of men by decade. These references are provided:

 

 

 

1. J of Behavioral Med, 1999, 22(1):1-19

 

2. J of Clin Endocrinology Metabolism, 2007, 92(1):196-202

 

3. Vermeulen A. Declining androgens with age - an overview, In: Androgens and the ageing male. Eds. Oddens B. Vermeulen A. Parthenon Publishing. New York. 1996.

 

 

Men who are 20 years old score score at the highest end of the reference range at 700. Men in their 30s decline to 617 or so.

 

 

 

Here are my total serum testosterone scores as measured by the Mount Kisco Medical Group ( New York) in October 2010

 

Reference range

 

Total 725 280-800 ng/dl

 

 

 

Earlier in 2004, my T actually came in lower:

 

Reference Range

 

587 260-1000 ng/dl

 

 

 

Later in 8/25/11, my T settled down a bit to 764 out of a reference range of 250-1100

 

This may have been due to some dietary changes I made to lower T.

 

Conrad thinks that the supplements he takes raise his testosterone levels. If that is so, I would think it would be adangerous dietary game to play, especially if one has had cancer before. Some warning signs might be elevated and/or wildly gyrating PSA.

 

 

 

Sure low testosterone and IGF-I can be predictors of heart attack and mortality, but if you want to make a case for either or anything else that activates anabolic pathways ( which runs counter to most research showing how life span can be extended – for example, see the studies by Andrejs Bartkje http://www.siumed.ed.../geriatricslab/ ) make sure the cohort is healthy ,otherwise it is likely not applicable to most people on this list.

 

On the other hand, if you have had had a heart attack and /are frail, it may be wise to raise anabolic hormones, a subject I will have more to say in the future.

 

 

 

Welcome back, Dean!

 

 

 

Paul

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Testing testosterone at is not a very exacting, unless you do it under controlled laboratory conditions. So FWIW, I found a site online that provides total serum T ranges of men by decade.  [...] Men who are 20 years old score score at the highest end of the reference range at 700. Men in their 30s decline to 617 or so.

Conrad thinks that the supplements he takes raise his testosterone levels. If that is so, I would think it would be a dangerous dietary game to play, especially if one has had cancer before. Some warning signs might be elevated and/or wildly gyrating PSA

 

Paul, it would be desirable, if you would quote correctly and . . . if you would abstain from making WILD inferences and totally unfounded conclusions. It is really outrageous, how you distort a series of my well-founded posts on testosterone, where the emphasis was on the *systemic* importance of *adequate* levels of sex hormones, T being just one of them.

 

The ensuing discussion centered on libido and the lack thereof in CRONies totally missed my point. I am sending you a scan of the first page of my my recent lab report to leave no doubt about the truthfulness of my figure.

 

Your T values as supplied by you (above) appear to be quite high in view of your always implied high degree of calorie restriction and - compared to the total T levels of the CR cohort as shown in the Fontana paper on CR and T, and .... compared to the admittedly low levels mentioned or implied by CR practitioners in the recent threads here and on the CR Main List.

 

Your choice of words is really remarkable: "..... it would be a dangerous dietary game to play, especially if one has had cancer before...." You are totally ignorant of the "dietary game(s)" that I play and the science behind it, but you have an opinion about it! I am eating, in food and taking as supplements (powders) such *dangerous* and (all ignoranti would add "unproven") dietary compounds like green tea, turmeric/curcumin (in food), asian mushrooms (shiitake), resveratrol in various foods and as a low dose supplement, grape seed extract (lots of good research, go to PubMed), sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli sprouts (high s. content) and daikon sprouts, daily, in addition to kale and red cabbage and ... lots of fresh fruits, all of which have/ may have some impact on my hormonal balance and on my total health.

 

I am fortuately way too smart to touch any anabolic "stuff"! However, I take on supplement that has an ancient and by now well documented reputation as a "tonic" with pluripotent effects for enhancing androgen levels and eNOS *as well as* inhibiting the production of osteoclasts that contribute to osteopenia and worse: it is Epimedium sagittatum with the active ingredient icariin. Never mind, testosterone and related androgens appear to have a lot to do with cognition, and the decline thereof during aging including dementia. I begin to be worried for the still mostly middle-aged CR practitioners . . . Look at the research !

 

OK, CR may protect us in ways that we still cannot measure. More work for Luigi and colleagues at WUSTL.

 

I am always making a case for balance and for the (hopefully growing) awareness of complexity in all multi-cellular natural systems including practitioners of calorie restriction.

 

Conrad

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Guest paul F

The testosterone debate makes interesting reading, but makes me wonder where i stand. Please bear with the lengthy explanation which will get to the point.

I have always felt for many reasons i may have low testosterone, then last September when i changed my medical practicioner he told me i had metabolic syndrome.......I hadnt heard of this before and am so glad he brought it to my attention. I probably had had it for 15 plus years as i had always had very high triglycerides , low hdl levels, hypertension and cholesterol levels above normal. Also had been told many years ago i had a fatty liver. Although i had been up to 202Ibs in weight at this time i was 188Ib

The metabolic syndrome was a shock to me (though i ate plus plus plus) i needed to take charge of my health, no doctor had ever really made any positive suggestions.......initially i followed my latest doctors advice and went on a low carb diet, and although i lost a small amount of weight i wasnt happy eating a high fat/low cab diet.

I finally discovered Cron and it feels like its my saviour. My bmi is now in the 23 range and weight 169Ibs which is much better and i believe and hope repeat bloods will show vast improvements especially in my insulin level which was three times above normal. I am already off all anti hypertensives and medications.

The point of this in relation to testosterone is on reading about metabolic syndrome apparently testosterone is inversely decreased as insulin increases, if this is true then i probably would have had a low testosterone.

Unfortunately i never had it tested but will on my next doctors visit.

If it was decreased through metabolic syndrome will cr help increase it? I wonder? I only ask because i wonder if low levels are not helpful? Lots conflicting stuff out there, It doesnt worry me libido wise as i would rather read a good book or enjoy a cr healthy meal , and i dont have or need/want a partner having been there and done that so to speak

Regards Paul F

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Guest Matt

I'm almost 27 years old and since CR my libido decreased, a lot. But CR should not affect erectile function. If you're having problems you might want to explore other 'causes' rather than CR induced lowered testosterone level. There are other causes which are more likely; psychological or pelvic floor problems (tension). I've been on moderate CR since I was 20 or so and I can't say I've been that interested in sex really, but when I was with my lovely girlfriend, it just happened naturally. Being so comfortable with her and attracted to her, I would get 'aroused' and get an erection easily without any trouble, a lot of the time just kissing her or cuddling. Do I care about having a lot of sex though? Probably not as much as I should by male standards haha. It's just not that important to me as it might with those with higher levels of T than myself, and I'm perfectly happy with this. I have no desire to raise my testosterone at all. And I think that it would be a bad thing to do so, not a good thing! I love the way I am. I do not want to be a highly testosterone-driven male. :) I love the peace and calmness CR gives me. I never seem to get angry or anything since CR either. psychologically it seems to have changed me a bit, for sure.

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Guest Matt

Correction; 27 (almost 28)* Though still appear 16-17 years old to a lot anyway... hehe ;p

 

I can't reply to the lists because I unsubscribed a while ago and need to join again. Three other things that were brought up on the CR lists that I'll just mention on here.

 

our gender-personalities are sets of personal responses

which were originally created in each of us by our upbringing.

If we were born female, we might have been enculturated

with the following admirable 'feminine' personality traits:

friendly, gracious, tactful, sensitive, caring, helpful, supporting.

If we were born male, we might have been enculturated

with the following admirable 'masculine' personality traits:

strong, independent, active, disciplined, objective, logical, practical.

 

I don't identify myself strongly with the male traits mentioned here. I more strongly identify on the feminine side as I display all of these traits more so than the masculine. I think that there was a shift though to more to a feminine side after CR, but it wasn't a strong effect. As mentioned on the site; this might be because I did unlearn the stereotypical male traits and adjust by behavior, maybe. I can't really give a definite answer on that. CR definitely did change the way I behave though in terms of being more calm, gentle and caring rather than aggressive. I haven't seen any males being feminized in appearance by CR (this would be more affected by availability of Testosterone during development?). I wouldn't have described myself as very masculine before CR, and I don't now. I have a mix of feminine features and masculine that has nothing to do with CR (they are just more obvious now that I am skinnier). And attraction of males to females was also brought up as well. Even though I'm now with my girlfriend and faithful to her. I do get a lot of attention from females, way more than ever before (not boasting :)

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