Whole Life Magazine

February/March 2013

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/106392

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Page 16 of 43

valentine's day & no Sex drIve whole living H By Karen roth ere comes Valentine's Day and oh no! For some women, the excitement ends at the bedroom door…on the way in! If sex is on their minds, it's for all the wrong reasons. If you are a woman whose sex drive has diminished, or live with such a woman, you're not alone. This is a major complaint from many women experiencing hormone imbalance. It's common knowledge that testosterone plays a signiicant role in both men and women when it comes to a healthy libido, but a more common deiciency in women is estrogen, which plays an equally important role in her sex life. We usually think of estrogen as one entity or type of hormone, but our ovaries and adrenal glands produce perhaps two dozen kinds of estrogen, all with various functions for different body organs that go beyond the sex organs to include heart, liver and even brain. Of the hormones we naturally produce, the ones we hear about most are estrone, estradiol and estriol. However, many women take estrogen replacement or supplementation, and there are so-called "environmental estrogens" in our air, water, food and household products that can act as hormone disruptors. Our bodies are fooled when these toxins bind to the same sites to which natural hormones bind, thereby altering, magnifying or blocking the function of the natural hormones. Hormones are anabolic, which means they help regular processes in the body. For this reason, it's important that they not accumulate in excess in the body, but stay in balance. It's a good reason to avoid those hazardous ingredients that can mimic hormones, such as parabens in many lotions and cosmetics, artiicial fragrance, aluminum in antiperspirants, phthalates in nail polish and hairspray, propane in shaving cream, and often lead in lipsticks. Triclosan, an antibacterial and antifungal agent that can not only disrupt testosterone levels but also has all sorts of negative effects on the environment, is often found in toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, antibacterial products, cleaning supplies and shaving cream. The Environmental Working Group's website (www.ewg.org/skindeep) lists body care products by name, along with their harmful ingredients. There are also FDA-approved ingestible ingredients that can contribute to hormone imbalance. You may think you're not consuming artiicial sweeteners, for example, but most commercial toothpastes and mouthwashes are artiicially sweetened. If you are eating conventional dairy products, exposure to artiicial or genetically modiied bovine growth hormone is a given unless they're labeled "organic" or "from cows not treated with rBGH or rBST." Pesticides used in growing conventional produce not only kill insects but also stop their reproduction, and while most residue from surface pesticides can be cleared with washing, systemic chemicals cannot be washed off mature produce. Gettin' Jiggy Want to see more action? Make romantic dinners that are rich in phytoestrogens. These naturally occurring plant compounds have structural similarity to estradiol that allows them to bind to the estrogen receptors of cells and initiate positive changes. The process helps protect against osteoporosis, hot lashes Continued on P. 34 Wholeliving.indd 17 February/March201317 1/25/13 5:53 PM

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