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The definition of erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to obtain or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. Historically, admitting to having ED was considered taboo and downright embarrassing until the advent of sildenafil citrate (Viagra) in 1998. Sildenafil liberated men from the stigma of having ED, and it opened a conversation about a problem that has existed for centuries. Up to 10% of men younger than forty suffer from ED and upwards of 60% by age 69.1
Much of the evidence shows high rates of vitamin D deficiency in patients with erectile dysfunction. In fact, one study of 3,400 participants found that men with vitamin D deficiency were 32% more likely to have trouble with erections when all other risk factors were controlled for. It’s a little on the nose that you need vitamin D for your “D,” but hey—science can be funny too.
B-vitamin complex helps to support normal energy production and is also essential for supporting the normal functioning of the body during times of stress. Stress quickly depletes the body’s reserves of the B vitamins. Look for a B-complex containing 20-50 mg of vitamins B1, B2, and B3. The other B vitamins should be included in their relative proportions.
Another potential cause of ED is prediabetes and diabetes—35-50 percent of men with diabetes also have ED. Chronically elevated blood sugar damages the arteries (there’s the vascular connection again) and nerves, including those that stimulate the penis. Prediabetes and diabetes are also generally accompanied by excess weight, especially around the mid-section. These excess fat cells convert testosterone into estrogen, negatively altering the testosterone to estrogen ratio. This excess estrogen, independent of prediabetes and diabetes, interferes with the hormonal cascade necessary to produce and maintain an erection. Although many men may reach for a testosterone booster, a more effective means is to improve the body’s metabolism and elimination of estrogen and to lose excess weight around the middle. To support healthy blood sugar balance and estrogen metabolism try:
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition characterized by difficulty in getting or maintaining an erection. While the likelihood that a man will experience this problem increases with age, it often occurs alongside and as a result of other conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or prostate disease. As with other health problems, however, the pharmaceutical drugs prescribed by conventional medicine to treat ED can cause serious side effects. Fortunately, therefore, use of the Cellular Medicine approach can help resolve ED safely and naturally.
With drug therapy, there’s a risk of side effects such as headaches, back pain or an upset stomach. Before taking any medication for erectile dysfunction it is important to ensure your doctor is ok with that decision. Medication may not work for all men, for instance, if you have diabetes or have previously had prostate surgery. ED medication might also have serious risks if you’re currently taking nitrates (commonly prescribed for chest pain), have heart disease or have low blood pressure.22
It can’t be stressed enough — a healthy diet and lifestyle has numerous benefits, including in the bedroom. ED is linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, so eating a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains can reduce your chance of developing heart problems and, in turn, can alleviate your ED.
"Just because there is evidence doesn't mean it's good evidence," says Andrew McCullough, MD, associate professor of clinical urology at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, and one of the original clinical investigators for the ED drug Viagra (sildenafil). "And before men with ED start down the naturopathic route, it's smart to make sure that there isn't some underlying medical condition that needs to be corrected." Moreover, it is estimated that 30 million American men have erectile dysfunction, and 70% of cases are a result of a potentially deadly condition like atherosclerosis, kidney disease, vascular disease, neurological disease, or diabetes. Additionally, ED can also be caused by certain medications, surgical injury, and psychological problems.
Contrary to popular belief, the penis does not have a mind of its own. To make it a fine and upstanding specimen, your neurons must be co-ordinated with military precision. You need thiamine, aka vitamin B1, for a healthy nervous system, so eat pork to help fire your swimmers in the right direction. Can’t or don’t eat pig? Get your B from beans and wholemeal bread.
A daily dose of niacin improves erectile function, particularly in men with high cholesterol, according to a 2011 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. The vitamin helps increase blood flow and reduce inflammation—one of the underlying causes of both high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction. “Vitamin B3 is also used to make sex hormones and other important chemical-signal molecules,” says Fisch. Like many of the others on our list, this tablet is most powerful when taken in conjunction with others: A cocktail of propionyl, L-carnitine, L-arginine, and niacin taken for three months improved 40% of erections in a study from researchers at Sapienza University of Rome in Italy.
Research is mixed on the effectiveness of acupuncture as an erectile dysfunction cure, but one study published in November 2013 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that acupuncture can be beneficial for men experiencing erectile dysfunction as a side effect of antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).