Other factors that “stress” the body can also increase your risk for ED. These include: substance abuse, using marijuana, smoking cigarettes, depression, anxiety and low self esteem. Cigarette smoking — or using nicotine — leads to constricted blood vessels, which has negative effects for sexual health. Other mental/emotional obstacles can cause less desire for sex and decrease testosterone. Several ways to help manage stress include:
Intensive lifestyle changes that include a Mediterranean type diet, circuit-type resistance training, with 15- to 60-second rest between sessions has shown to improve erectile score in a randomized trial. Men in the intervention group had a significant decrease in glucose, insulin, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, and a substantial increase in HDL cholesterol.15
Nettle root extracts are known for their ability to restore normal production of important sex hormones, such as testosterone. The primary action of nettle root is linked to its action on the glands that produce testosterone. Nettle root contains serotonin and acetylcholine, both of which directly stimulate testosterone production and boost the functioning of these vital glands.
If you’re looking for a way to simultaneously boost your libido and calm those pre-date jitters, pour yourself a glass of red wine. According to a study printed in Nutrition Journal, vino could elevate your testosterone levels. In lab tests, researchers found that quercetin, a compound in wine, blocks an enzyme that causes the body to excrete testosterone, thereby increasing the amount of T circulating in the blood. Wine’s rich antioxidant profile also triggers nitric oxide production, which relaxes artery walls. This increases blood flow down south, creating feelings of erotic excitement. For some great picks for your next tipple, check out our 16 best wines for weight loss.
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.
Jelqing is penile massage technique of ancient Arabic origin (52). Men who practise jelqing will stretch their penises while in a semi-erected state and repeatedly milk their penises from base to glans, with their thumb and index finger touching to form an “OK” hand sign around their penile shaft. This massage can be done daily with the aim to achieve greater penile length and harder erections. Unwanted side effects of bruising, pain and fibrosis had been reported. No studies have been done to evaluate the efficacy of jelqing objectively.
However, you might actually be better off going one step back in the chain reaction and taking an L-citrulline supplement. While your body converts L-arginine to nitric oxide, it also metabolizes it too fast when the amino acid is taken in an oral supplement, according to a 2011 study from the University of Foggia in Italy. L-citrulline, which the body converts to L-arginine, is actually a better option to follow the same metabolic pathway and serve as a treatment for ED, the same study found.
Sure, it’s good for your cholesterol, but did you know red wine can benefit your manhood? Red wine contains nitric oxide, which helps relax the arteries and increase blood flow in the genitals, and the compound quercetin, which helps block the enzyme that triggers your body to push away testosterone, allowing you to maintain high levels of testosterone—and a strong erection well past foreplay.
Experts don't yet know whether the vitamin folic acid (also known as folate) is an effective natural treatment for erectile dysfunction. Research has shown that for some men, taking sildenafil (Viagra) together with folic acid and vitamin B6 seemed to help with erectile dysfunction more than taking medicine alone. Some experts contend that folic acid improves the function of the blood vessels involved in erections. But scientists say they need more studies to know if folic acid helps erectile dysfunction, either alone or in combination with other treatments.
And what about L-citrulline? Watermelon has the highest concentration in nature (particularly the white rind), followed by onions and garlic. Just one standard serving of yellow watermelon provides enough L-citrulline to boost sexual performance. My advice is that you might want to stick to watermelon and not onions and garlic to boost your nitric oxide production before going on a date!
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.
Nitric oxide is made internally from L-arginine, which is an amino acid found in red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. In other words, L-arginine is the building block for nitric oxide, which is essential for erections. A lack of one can lead to a lack of the other. However, there’s a problem when it comes to treating L-arginine deficiency with supplements.
Some studies show that watermelon may have effects on erectile dysfunction that are similar to the ED drug Viagra and may also increase sexual desire. Watermelon is rich in beneficial ingredients known as phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are also antioxidants. One of their benefits is that they relax the blood vessels that supply an erection. Although watermelon is 92 percent water, the other 8 percent may work wonders for your heart and your sexual enjoyment.
These chilly-sounding mollusks have the ability to heat things up quick, with more than three times the recommended daily value of Vitamin B12. A 3-ounce serving also has 20 grams of muscle-boosting protein, with only 4 grams of fat and 150 calories. Like clams, they’re rich in iron, which helps ensure that your blood flows everywhere it needs to. They’re also high in magnesium, a natural enhancer; low levels of the mineral have been shown to contribute to ED. Boost your levels even further with these magnesium-rich foods.
A recent study in the journal Circulation found that flavonoids in dark chocolate improve circulation. That could be good for erection problems that are due to poor circulation. Flavonoids are naturally-occurring antioxidants that protect plants from toxins and help repair cell damage. Studies show that flavonoids and other antioxidants have similar effects on people. They may help lower blood pressure and decrease cholesterol, both of which are factors that contribute to erectile dysfunction.
The penile roots are enveloped by two pelvic floor muscles, the bulbocavernosus (BC) and the ischiocavernosus (IC). The IC muscle is the “erector muscle” and the BC muscle the “ejaculator muscle.” The BC and IC muscles are responsible for the ability to lift one’s erect penis up and down (wag the penis) as they are contracted and relaxed. Although not muscles of glamour, they are certainly muscles of “amour.” Although unseen and behind-the-scenes, hidden from view, these often unrecognized and misunderstood muscles have vital functions in addition to erection and ejaculation. When the pelvic floor muscles are not functioning optimally, one loses the potential for full erectile rigidity. Like other skeletal muscles, they can undergo “disuse atrophy,” becoming thinner, flabbier and less functional with aging, weight gain, sedentary lifestyles, poor posture, chronic straining and other forms of trauma, including pelvic surgery (e.g., prostatectomy). Exercising them can enhance sexual health; maintain sexual health; help prevent the occurrence of ED in the future; and help manage ED. Specifically, pelvic floor exercises can be beneficial with respect to the following spectrum of issues: ED; ejaculation issues including premature ejaculation; urinary incontinence; overactive bladder; post-void dribbling; and bowel urgency and incontinence. One of the challenges of pelvic floor training is that most men do not know where their pelvic muscles are located, what they do, how to exercise them, and what benefits exercising them may confer. In fact, many men don’t even know that they have pelvic floor muscles. Because they are out of sight, they are often out of mind and not considered when it comes to exercise and fitness. However, although concealed from view, they deserve serious respect as they are responsible for vital functions that can be enhanced when intensified by training. Pelvic floor muscle training before and after prostate cancer surgery can facilitate the resumption of urinary control and sexual function after surgery. Pelvic floor training is also useful for men who suffer with stress urinary incontinence following prostatectomy. This is a spurt-like urinary leakage that occurs at times of increased abdominal pressure, such as with sports and other high impact activities. Pelvic floor contractions on demand are a technique in which the pelvic muscles are braced and briskly engaged at the time or just before any activity that triggers the stress incontinence. When practiced diligently, this can ultimately become an automatic behavior and the incontinence improved, if not resolved.
Most importantly, herbal supplements are not well regulated in the United States. Studies have shown that 40-50% of herbal supplements do not even contain the supposed main ingredient, and many contain substances that are not listed which may have dangerous side effects2. Another study found that over two thirds of the products tested had substituted other plant species for the plants listed on the label, and a third of products also contained other fillers or contaminants3. A study by the New York State Attorney General of herbal products sold at GNC, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart found that four out of every five products didn’t contain the ingredient they claimed! Fourteen US states and territories have petitioned Congress to regulate the herbal supplements industry.
"This is the first study to look at the association between flavonoids and erectile dysfunction, which affects up to half of all middle-aged and older men," said lead researcher, Professor Aedin Cassidy. "Men who regularly consumed foods high in these flavonoids were less likely to suffer erectile dysfunction. In terms of quantities, we're talking just a few portions a week."
Opioids are used for chronic pain or for recreational use, and there is currently an epidemic of opioid addiction in the United States. Opioids induce ED by inhibiting gonado-tropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which leads to a decrease in the production of luteinizing hormone (LH). Decreased levels of LH, in turn, inhibit production of testosterone, which – in both men and women – can cause depression and sexual dysfunction.9
In TCM, the meridian system is thought to represent a path through which the life energy qi flows and as discussed in earlier section, the “Jing” (kidney) qi plays an important role in penile erection. Acupuncture helps to correct the imbalances to relieve physical symptoms by stimulating various meridian points. The Shensu (BL23), Zusanli (ST36) and Neiguan (PC6) points represents important acupoints for penis stimulation and thus has a positive homeostatic effect on the autonomic nervous system, and potentially modulate NO release (55,56). While some studies have showed up to a third of patients reported improvement in penile erection and sexual activity, systematic review showed insufficient data to conclude that acupuncture is an effective intervention for treating ED (56,57). Therefore, further scientific research is required to investigate whether there are specific benefits of acupuncture for men with ED before acupuncture can be accepted as evidence-based practice.
Older age. A man’s risk increases past the age of 40, as age is the variable most strongly associated with impotence. This is due to changing hormones, higher risk for heart problems and those affecting circulation, and decreased sexual desire that often occurs with increasing age. For example, based on findings from the National Health and Social Life Survey, it’s been found that “men between 50–60 years old are more than 3 times as likely to experience erection problems and to report low sexual desire compared to men aged 18 to 29 years.” (3)
Double down on the marinara to protect your manhood. Men who eat over 10 servings of tomatoes each week have an 18 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer — the result of lycopene, an antioxidant which fights off toxins that can cause DNA and cell damage — a study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention found. A previous study found the garden vegetable could also improve sperm morphology (shape); men with the highest tomato intake contributed to between 8 and 10 percent more ‘normal’ sperm.
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:
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.