This IKEA-cafeteria staple can actually help you put things together in the bedroom. In addition to packing four times your daily requirement of Vitamin B12 in one average-sized filet, herring is also rich in magnesium, which boosts testosterone and keeps sperm healthy and viable. On top of that, oily fish like herring are sky-high in vitamin D, which can help you get and keep it up. In a recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, Italian researchers examined 143 men with ED; 80% had suboptimal levels of the nutrient, and the men with severe ED had a 24% lower level of D than those with a mild form of the condition. The theory is that low levels of D promote dysfunctional blood vessels and a shortage of nitric oxide.

While Western medicine emphases the link between cardiovascular function and ED, TCM places importance on liver and kidney ailments as causative factor for development of ED. Western medicine involves a step-wise approach by targeting the relevant organ systems to treat various clinical symptoms; but TCM focuses on restoring the balance between various organs to achieve harmony and holistic approach to inner sense (4). 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 (see Table 1).

To understand the physiology of erectile dysfunction, we need to know erection first. An erection occurs when impulses from the brain and genital nerves cause blood to fill the two chambers known as the corpora cavernosa in the male penis. This causes the penis to expand and stiffen. Anything that blocks these impulses or restricts blood flow to the penis can result in ED. This block may be caused by psychological, neurologic, hormonal, arterial, or cavernosal impairment or even from a combination of all these factors.3


While the rationale behind why it would work is airtight, the research on arginine’s actual effect on erectile dysfunction is slim, points out Charles Walker, M.D., assistant professor of urology and cofounder of the Cardiovascular and Sexual Health clinic at Yale University. But given its solid safety profile, minimal side effects, and potential benefit on heart disease, it’s worth a try, he adds, especially when taken in conjunction with other herbs on this list, which studies have shown can be more effective.


According to legend, Casanova — the Tinder master of his time — regularly ate a breakfast of 50 oysters. Turns out he could’ve doubled as a nutritionist if he’d been able to get out of the sack. In addition to being high in B12, oysters contain more zinc than any other food source ( almost five times your daily DV). This nutrient is essential for testosterone production, and when your T levels droop, so does your business. Like other bivalves, oysters are high in D-aspartic acid, an amino acid that has been shown to temporarily boost low testosterone levels and improve sperm quality in infertile men.
Selenium is a trace mineral found in Brazil nuts that plays an important role in hormone health. You only need a tiny bit for healthy sperm, but a tiny deficiency can be catastrophic for reproductive health. In one study, men who had lower testosterone and were infertile also had significantly lower selenium levels than the fertile group. Supplementing with the mineral improved chances of successful conception by 56 percent. And a second study that included 69 infertile men with low levels of the mineral, found selenium supplementation could significantly improve sub-par sperm motility associated with testosterone deficiency. Moreover, 11 percent of the men successfully impregnated their partners during the trial!
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.
Get your vitamins from whole foods and not through artificial supplements! Vibrantly colorful fruits such as berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries) contain abundant anthocyanins. Tomatoes and tomato products are rich in lycopenes. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kale and cabbage) and dark green leafy vegetables are fiber-rich and contain lutein and numerous healthy phytochemicals. A healthy diet should include protein sources incorporating fish, lean poultry and plant-based proteins such as legumes, nuts, and seeds. Include fish that have anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, sardines, and trout. Healthy fats (preferably of vegetable origins like olives, avocados, seeds and nuts) are preferred. An ideal diet that is both heart-healthy and prostate-healthy is the Mediterranean diet. Follow, "Let food be your medicine” by Socrates.
When considering vitamin supplementation for erectile dysfunction, one of the first vitamins that you may come across in literature would be Vitamin D. This is a vitamin that can be easily obtained through many types of dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt and is also in abundance if you live in a tropical climate. Sunlight is able to give us a natural dose of vitamin D daily. [6] Although vitamin D is usually associated with improving bone strength and prevention osteoporosis, another valuable feat of vitamin D is the fact that it helps reduce atherosclerosis. Studies confirm that there is a similar underlying mechanism that occurs between conditions like cardiovascular disease and erectile dysfunction. As blood vessels are damaged and filled with plaques, the diameter for blood to flow through is gradually reduced. After a few years, the amount of blood may be reduced substantially. Vitamin D is able to help activate cells that remove some of these dangerous plaques and delay the onset of ED. [7]

Get your vitamins from whole foods and not through artificial supplements! Vibrantly colorful fruits such as berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries) contain abundant anthocyanins. Tomatoes and tomato products are rich in lycopenes. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kale and cabbage) and dark green leafy vegetables are fiber-rich and contain lutein and numerous healthy phytochemicals. A healthy diet should include protein sources incorporating fish, lean poultry and plant-based proteins such as legumes, nuts, and seeds. Include fish that have anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, sardines, and trout. Healthy fats (preferably of vegetable origins like olives, avocados, seeds and nuts) are preferred. An ideal diet that is both heart-healthy and prostate-healthy is the Mediterranean diet. Follow, "Let food be your medicine” by Socrates.
When lifestyle changes alone don’t work, drug therapy (Viagra®, Cialis®, Levitra®, etc.) is normally the next step. Most of these medications work similarly to enhance a natural chemical in your body that relaxes the muscles in your penis. The goal of this medication is to increase your response to sexual stimulation by increasing the blood flow in your penis allowing you to get an erection.22
Another natural treatment for erectile dysfunction to consider would be vitamin E. This is a vitamin that has been linked to chronic diseases in the past due to the antioxidant effects of this vitamin. Considering ED could be a manifestation of another chronic condition, it makes sense that vitamin E may have a role in reducing the symptoms of the disease. As a person ages, it is natural for the body to undergo more oxidative stress and damage as cells do not function as well as they once did. Rats who were given supplemental vitamin E were found to have reduced levels of oxidative damage to their tissues and had levels of NO and other factors that help induce an erection more similar to younger rats compared to rats without vitamin E supplementation. If patients incorporate vitamin E into their vitamins and dietary supplements for ED, their ED should improve. [9]

A combination of yohimbine and L-arginine is shown to significantly improve erectile function in people with ED. L-arginine is an amino acid that helps expand blood vessels. It’s regarded as safe and effective for ED but can cause side effects like nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Avoid taking L-arginine with Viagra, nitrates, or any high blood pressure medications.
Eating more fruit, vegetables, fish, and less red meat and refined grains can decrease the risk of ED. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important, since men who have a waist that is 42-inches or more are 50 percent more likely to get erectile dysfunction. Obesity increases the risk of vascular disease and diabetes, which are known to contribute to ED.
Selenium is a trace mineral found in Brazil nuts that plays an important role in hormone health. You only need a tiny bit for healthy sperm, but a tiny deficiency can be catastrophic for reproductive health. In one study, men who had lower testosterone and were infertile also had significantly lower selenium levels than the fertile group. Supplementing with the mineral improved chances of successful conception by 56 percent. And a second study that included 69 infertile men with low levels of the mineral, found selenium supplementation could significantly improve sub-par sperm motility associated with testosterone deficiency. Moreover, 11 percent of the men successfully impregnated their partners during the trial!

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.’”
Despite the name, horny goat weed actually helps improve your erection, not libido.  Botanically known as epimedium, this herb has been used by the Chinese for centuries to treat, among other things, low libido and erectile dysfunction. “A growing body of research shows that isolated icariin—the extract of epimedium—inhibits the enzyme phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) and significantly increases nitric oxide synthase, helping to improve erectile function,” says Fisch. In fact, this is the same mechanism that Viagra works through (but the herb comes with a way better name).
A 2011 study of 160 men with moderate or severe erectile dysfunction divided the group in two—80 men were given niacin supplements, and 80 a placebo. The group given niacin reported improved ability to “maintain an erection versus the control group.” It’s not exhaustive research, but still promising. The best part about niacin is that it’s naturally found in foods like turkey, avocado, and peanuts (yum). If you’re not a turkey sandwich fan, you can supplement with a vitamin B complex.
The role of the practitioner providing a naturopathic treatment plan is to first identify the cause of the individual's ED. If the cause is psychogenic (i.e. performance anxiety, depression, relationship problems), referral to a psychotherapist should be considered. Organic causes like metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, or diabetes type II can be properly treated with lifestyle medicine and other numerous nutritional prescriptions beyond the scope of this article to discuss.
Clinical practice in TCM has been an exemplary case of customized treatment with holism epitomizes the essence of TCM. TCM encompasses these aspects, taking a holistic approach to patient’s problem and these methods combine body, mind and spirit, and healings are achieved via the concept of energy rather than matter, as in modern medicine. Compared to the complexity of modern science, which is the basis of Western medicine, this concept is easily understood and comprehended, and is readily accepted because of its holistic approach.
There are so many potential reasons a man might develop erectile dysfunction (ED), it's nearly impossible to generalize the best ways to treat it. What works for one man may not work for another simply because they are having problems for different reasons. That said, it may encouraging to hear that there are a variety of options that may be considered, from psychological counseling to lifestyle changes, medications to treatments and devices.
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