Energy-boosting goji berries have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to help increase energy and enhance the release of hormones. Goji increases the body’s ability to handle stress and support healthy mood, mind and memory—all while giving you the get-up-and-go energy needed to get your workout to the next level,” says Dr. Lindsey Duncan, celebrity nutritionist (he’s worked with Tony Dorsett and Reggie Bush). “Goji is also beneficial for increasing blood flow, which helps to oxygenate all of the cells and tissues of the body, which increases your drive—that’s why they call goji the ‘Viagra of China.’”
During sexual stimulation, sexual thoughts, or nocturnal erections, the neurotransmitter nitric oxide (NO) is released from the endothelial cells and the parasympathetic nerve terminal causing relaxation of two cylinder-like muscles called the corpora carvenosum. Nitric oxide influences an increase in concentrations of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), which after numerous pathways triggers smooth muscle relaxation, and simultaneous closing of small veins traps blood in the cavernosal muscles, keeping blood in the cavernosal tissues that cause and maintain an erection.
On any matter relating to your health or well-being, please check with an appropriate health professional. No statement herein is to be construed as a diagnosis, treatment, preventative, or cure for any disease, disorder or abnormal physical state. The statements herein have not been evaluated by the Foods and Drugs Administration or Health Canada. Dr. Marchione and the doctors on the Bel Marra Health Editorial Team are compensated by Bel Marra Health for their work in creating content, consulting along with formulating and endorsing products.
Yohimbe. Before Viagra and the other prescription erectile dysfunction drugs became available, doctors sometimes prescribed a derivative of the herb yohimbe (yohimbine hydrochloride) to their patients suffering from ED. But experts say the medication is not particularly effective, and it can cause jitteriness and other problems. "It's not a great drug," says McCullough. "And I suspect the herb is not as potent as the pharmaceutical version." What's more, evidence shows that yohimbe is associated with high blood pressure, anxiety, headache, and other health problems. Experts discourage its use.
A variety of personal habits and lifestyle choices have been linked to ED. In some ways, this is a good thing, since habits can be broken and choices reconsidered. What's more, many of the lifestyle factors that contribute to sexual problems are ones that affect overall health and well-being, both physical and mental. Addressing these factors, therefore, can have benefits beyond improving erectile dysfunction.
Pomegranate juice. Drinking antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including a reduced risk for heart disease and high blood pressure. Does pomegranate juice also protect against ED? No proof exists, but results of a study published in 2007 were promising. The authors of this small-scale pilot study called for additional research, saying that larger-scale studies might prove pomegranate juice's effectiveness against erectile dysfunction. "I tell my patients to drink it," says Espinosa. "It could help ED, and even if it doesn't, it has other health benefits."
The polyphenol- and antioxidant-rich pomegranate is said to aid blood circulation, help reduce stress, reduce oxidative stress in diabetics, is anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and much more. It is also believed to effectively protect men against erectile dysfunction and even male infertility. A study using a rabbit model of ED measured the effect of pomegranate juice concentrate on intracavernous blood flow and penile erection. The study found that consuming 3.87 mL pomegranate juice concentrate daily for eight weeks significantly increased intracavernous blood flow and smooth muscle relaxation, probably because of its antioxidant effect. No wonder then that pomegranate juice is yet another popular natural remedy for ED.11
Before taking any medication for erectile dysfunction, including over-the-counter supplements and herbal remedies, get your doctor's OK. Medications for erectile dysfunction do not work in all men and might be less effective in certain conditions, such as after prostate surgery or if you have diabetes. Some medications might also be dangerous if you:
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University last year looked at 3,400 healthy Americans and found that men who were vitamin D deficient were 32% more likely to have trouble getting it up than those with sufficient levels, even after adjusting for other ED risk factors. In fact, the connection is so common, Walker says D levels are something he always checks in ED patients. Why? The sunshine vitamin is crucial for keeping the endothelial cells that line blood vessels healthy. Without enough of the stuff, blood flow is inhibited, affecting everything from your heart to your hard-on.
If you search the Internet, you’ll find lists of specific foods that are supposed to be good for erectile dysfunction. We’ve researched this topic extensively, searching databases of clinical studies, and found no evidence that these foods provide significant benefits from men with ED. (We suspect that most of the sites on the web are simply copying lists from one another.)
Some natural viagra supplements have been shown to increase nitric oxide levels and increase blood flow to the penis. But there are no true natural alternatives to prescription ED medication, like Viagra. But healthy food and (some) vitamins and supplements can improve your overall health and blood flow. And anything that improves blood flow can treat some of the causes of erectile dysfunction (as well as making you healthier).
"The problem with alternative treatments for any medical problem, including erectile dysfunction, is that until you have about 20 well-controlled studies over several years, you really don't know what you are working with," cautions Richard Harris, MD, a urologist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of the Loyola University Health System in Chicago.
How alpha are you? Well, how many shakes of hot sauce can you handle? A recent study from France found men who have a taste for spicy foods tend to have higher testosterone levels than those who can’t handle the heat. Of the 114 male participants surveyed, researchers saw a clear correlation between frequent hot-sauce usage and higher T-levels. Study authors suggest the findings may be due in part to capsaicin—the fiery compound in chili pepper that previous studies have associated with increased testosterone levels. In animal studies, capsaicin has also shown to increase the size of certain organs, while simultaneously decreasing belly fat. Speaking of getting hot, don’t miss the 8 Foods For Her Better Than Female Viagra!
If ED continues to be a problem even after making certain lifestyle changes, talk with your doctor. ED is an uncomfortable subject for many men to discuss, but it’s treatable in most cases, so there’s no reason to avoid getting help. Doctors see patients every day about ED, so you’re simply one of millions of men dealing with this common condition.
Need a snack? Choose nuts, researchers from Turkey suggest. After 17 men with ED ate 100 grams of pistachios for three weeks, they all reported a significant improvement in their erectile function, ability to orgasm, libido, sexual satisfaction, and overall happiness in life. As a bonus, they all had higher HDL, or “good,” cholesterol and lower LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, too.
While these side effects mainly create discomfort, some individuals are at risk for more serious, even life-threatening reactions to these drugs. Some men have reported fainting after taking impotence medications, and priapism (a painful condition involving an erection that does not subside after more than four hours) has also occurred as an effect of impotence drugs. This condition can lead to permanent nerve damage; injectable drugs may also cause irreversible damage to the penis if used incorrectly.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common sexual problem affecting many men irrespective of cultures, beliefs and nationalities. While medical therapy for ED has been revolutionized by the advent of oral phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors and intracavernosal injection of vasoactive agents, recent technological advances such stem cell therapy, low intensity shock wave and newer generation of penile prosthesis implant offer hope to men who do not respond to conventional medical therapy. In contrast, traditional and complementary medicine (TCM) focuses on the restoration and better overall bodily regulation with the use of various herbal and animal products as well as exercises to invigorate qi (energy) in vital organs. Western medicine involves an analysis of ED symptom and underlying causes that contribute to ED, while TCM emphases the concept of holism and harmonization of body organs to achieve natural sexual life. The following article reviews our current understanding regarding the philosophical approach, and evaluates the evidence surrounding various ED therapies between mainstream Western Medicine and TCM.
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.
The fowl most associated with belt-loosening feasts is lean, high in protein and the single best food source of arginine, the amino acid. Researchers at the NYU School of Medicine gave L-arginine to a group of impotent men, and found that six out of 15 men receiving the amino acid claimed an improved ability to achieve erections, while none of the 15 men in the placebo group reported any benefit. Additionally, the bird is rich in DHA omega-3 acids, which have been shown to boost brain function, improve your mood and turn off fat genes, actually preventing fat cells from growing! Just make sure you buy white meat only, as dark contains too much fat. And steer clear of prepackaged, sliced lunchmeat—those turkeys are strictly jive.
Just because a product claims to be natural doesn't mean it's safe. Many herbal remedies and dietary supplements can cause side effects and dangerous interactions when taken with certain medications. Talk to your doctor before you try an alternative treatment for erectile dysfunction — especially if you're taking medications or you have a chronic health problem such as heart disease or diabetes.