T Nation

Low Carb Libido

Something I know has been discussed a bit before - but I havent come across any real in depth answers…

Since living a lot more low carb my libido has dropped insanely so.

Why?

And can anyone suggest (beyond supplementation of t-boosters) how I can continue to live a relatively low carb lifestyle whilst increasing my libido?

Low carb didnt have that effect on me, low calories did. Actually could be attributed to the failure of my marriage I think.

Im since back on the AD diet, and never had this much libido…and now no woman.

Well I came off a very low cal keto diet about 6 weeks back - was around 1500 calories. Now at 3000 calories with no increase in libido.

Before the whole thing I was as horny as hell 24/7.

Do you have a low fat intake? You could try increasing fats for a while.

more sat fat

more cholesterol

eggs and meat solve both

[quote]rrjc5488 wrote:
Do you have a low fat intake? You could try increasing fats for a while.[/quote]

Theres a thread on my current diet up atm however:
220g fats
220g protein
55g carbs
30g fiber (not included in carb count)

Main fat sources in no particular order:
Mixed nuts
Ground almonds
Eggs
Olive oil
Fish oil
Mayonaise
Cheddar cheese

I guess I could include some fattier red meat next week shrugs

But Im getting a large dose of saturated fats still :frowning:

I’m on the AD and I’ve had the opposite issue…

[quote]pushmepullme wrote:
I’m on the AD and I’ve had the opposite issue…[/quote]

So I keep hearing but I wonder if the weekly carb up affects things.

the body essentially adapts to ketogenic diets the same way it does total starvation (albeit without the loss of body proteins that would cause death during total starvation)

this means non-survival functions tend to go south (sex drive being one of them) if you want to reverse these adaptations you must do two things:

  1. bring calories back to maintenance levels or slightly above

  2. introduce starchy carbs back into your diet

do this and things should improve within a week or so.

[quote]JMoUCF87 wrote:
the body essentially adapts to ketogenic diets the same way it does total starvation (albeit without the loss of body proteins that would cause death during total starvation)

this means non-survival functions tend to go south (sex drive being one of them) if you want to reverse these adaptations you must do two things:

  1. bring calories back to maintenance levels or slightly above

  2. introduce starchy carbs back into your diet

do this and things should improve within a week or so.[/quote]

I shall give 1 a go… evaluating body composition every two weeks and upping calories by 200 each time.

I would have thought that doubling food intake in 6 weeks would have had SOME affect however.

[quote]benmoore wrote:
JMoUCF87 wrote:
the body essentially adapts to ketogenic diets the same way it does total starvation (albeit without the loss of body proteins that would cause death during total starvation)

this means non-survival functions tend to go south (sex drive being one of them) if you want to reverse these adaptations you must do two things:

  1. bring calories back to maintenance levels or slightly above

  2. introduce starchy carbs back into your diet

do this and things should improve within a week or so.

I shall give 1 a go… evaluating body composition every two weeks and upping calories by 200 each time.

I would have thought that doubling food intake in 6 weeks would have had SOME affect however.[/quote]

doubling food intake without carbs won’t do much except make you fat (assuming that would put you well above maintenance calories)

The body is most responsive to starchy carbs in this situation. And 1 “cheat meal” a week won’t do a thing. To fully reverse things you have to send a strong “fed” signal to the body, and that takes a week or so typically.

how long have you been low carb / dieting?

it took me about 2 or 3 months to get my body back to normal after long restricted calories.

Wow! I’m preparing for a competition so I only take in even a MODERATE amount of carbohydrate 1-2 days a week, the rest being next to nothing. I’ve been noticing for the last 2 months that I’ve had NO libido, like, at all. It’s pretty nice in terms of keeping me focused on the task at hand, but the nature of the issue as a 19 year old male worried me a bit.

Interesting to see this topic brought up…

[quote]nz6stringaxe wrote:
Wow! I’m preparing for a competition so I only take in even a MODERATE amount of carbohydrate 1-2 days a week, the rest being next to nothing. I’ve been noticing for the last 2 months that I’ve had NO libido, like, at all. It’s pretty nice in terms of keeping me focused on the task at hand, but the nature of the issue as a 19 year old male worried me a bit.

Interesting to see this topic brought up…[/quote]

getting down to the extreme levels of body fat do this as well. anytime someone gets too far below their “set point” (generally around 12-15%) the body goes into starvation mode (though I hate that term) and things like libido, mood, cognition etc. go south

I don’t have any suggestions, but I know exactly where you’re coming from. Low carb can be a bitch

[quote]nz6stringaxe wrote:
Wow! I’m preparing for a competition so I only take in even a MODERATE amount of carbohydrate 1-2 days a week, the rest being next to nothing. I’ve been noticing for the last 2 months that I’ve had NO libido, like, at all. It’s pretty nice in terms of keeping me focused on the task at hand, but the nature of the issue as a 19 year old male worried me a bit.

Interesting to see this topic brought up…[/quote]

Decreased libido is a common symptom of overtraining. If you are preparing for a competition, you might be stressing your body to that point.

[quote]JMoUCF87 wrote:
benmoore wrote:
JMoUCF87 wrote:
the body essentially adapts to ketogenic diets the same way it does total starvation (albeit without the loss of body proteins that would cause death during total starvation)

this means non-survival functions tend to go south (sex drive being one of them) if you want to reverse these adaptations you must do two things:

  1. bring calories back to maintenance levels or slightly above

  2. introduce starchy carbs back into your diet

do this and things should improve within a week or so.

I shall give 1 a go… evaluating body composition every two weeks and upping calories by 200 each time.

I would have thought that doubling food intake in 6 weeks would have had SOME affect however.

doubling food intake without carbs won’t do much except make you fat (assuming that would put you well above maintenance calories)

The body is most responsive to starchy carbs in this situation. And 1 “cheat meal” a week won’t do a thing. To fully reverse things you have to send a strong “fed” signal to the body, and that takes a week or so typically.

how long have you been low carb / dieting?[/quote]

Im now more or less at maintenance calories or at least not far off.

Why would upping calories with a low carb intake make me fatter vs. with higher carbs?

So where do I go from here? I got down to 9-10% bodyfat and I would like to start gaining some mass again now whilst staying as lean as possible!

How could low carbs be the culprit when our human ancestors ate mostly animal protein/fat and unappealing (by today’s standards) vegetables, nuts and only the occasional in-season fruit and/or berries would make up the bulk of thier carb intake (ie; very little).

You really need to replace the carb calories that you omit with fat calories. Go with coconut and palm oils rather than mono/poly fats.

[quote]benmoore wrote:
Why would upping calories with a low carb intake make me fatter vs. with higher carbs?
[/quote]

because in a carb depleted state, incoming carbs are preferentially stored as glycogen rather than burned off as energy. this means that at least in the short term, your body will still run off stored fat for energy while refilling glycogen stores.

also, overfeeding carbs will help correct leptin and reset your metabolic rate, making continued fat loss easier / more productive.

as for bulking while keeping fat to a minimum, the best approach is to keep the caloric surplus reasonable, and ensure proper pre/post workout nutrition.

Also, make sure you get at least 100g of carbs / day, even on non-training days, as the body doesn’t add muscle well in a ketogenic state.

[quote]Fiction wrote:
nz6stringaxe wrote:
Wow! I’m preparing for a competition so I only take in even a MODERATE amount of carbohydrate 1-2 days a week, the rest being next to nothing. I’ve been noticing for the last 2 months that I’ve had NO libido, like, at all. It’s pretty nice in terms of keeping me focused on the task at hand, but the nature of the issue as a 19 year old male worried me a bit.

Interesting to see this topic brought up…

Decreased libido is a common symptom of overtraining. If you are preparing for a competition, you might be stressing your body to that point.[/quote]

That’s a huge possibility. I’m stressin’ quite a bit. I imagine my cortisol is at a constantly ‘uncomfortable’ level. Thanks for the observation; I hadn’t thought about overtraining being a libido-killer.