Persons with metabolic syndrome can be identified by a distinct pattern of abdominal obesity (waist circumference >40 inches in men), atherogenic dyslipidemia (triglycerides ≥150 mg per 100 ml, HDL <40 mg per 100 ml, small LDL particles and normal or slightly elevated LDL), hypertension (≥130/85 mm Hg), insulin resistance (fasting blood glucose ≥10 0 mg per 100 ml), and elevated levels of prothrombotic and proinflammatory markers. Metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance are closely linked to ED. In one recently conducted study of 120 men with ED and no evidence of diabetes, 40% of patients fulfilled strict criteria for metabolic syndrome, and 73% were insulin resistant.12
"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.
It’s the truth: You reach a certain age where having sex isn’t as easy or satisfying as it used to be. Many factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction (ED) — anything from smoking to cardiovascular disease to general stress — and you shouldn’t be shy about discussing any erectile problems with your doctor. If there’s an underlying health condition causing your troubles, treating the cause may get you back to top form in no time.
Diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, obesity, multiple sclerosis, and depression, and activities like bicycling, smoking, alcohol or drug abuse can impair blood flow or nerve impulses throughout the body. Surgery, as well as certain medications, can also result in ED. However, this may be a temporary problem.4
Dan practices a unique blend of conventional and holistic medicine, drawing on his extensive experience with integrative techniques like healing touch, guided imagery and yoga. By fostering an understanding of the deep connections between body, mind and spirit, Dan seeks to help every patient unlock his or her own innate healing ability. He received his MD from the Hahnemann College of Medicine and completed his residency in family practice through UCSF. Dan is a fellow of the Wilderness Medical Society, is a clinical instructor at UCSF, and is certified with both the American Board of Family Medicine and the American Board of Holistic Medicine. Dan is a One Medical Group provider and sees patients in our San Francisco offices.
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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).
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.
Men looking to boost their sperm quality should head to the fish counter, research suggests. Sperm size and shape — one marker used to evaluate male infertility — was better in men who ate the most white meat fish as compared to men who ate the least, a study published in The Journal of Nutrition showed. And total sperm count was about 34 percent higher among men who ate the most dark meat fish, like salmon and tuna, than men who ate the least amount of fish. Meanwhile, men who reported eating one to three servings of processed meat had worse sperm morphology (shape) than men who ate the fewest servings. Click here to discover How Tilapia is Worse Than Bacon!!!
According to Daneshgari, "Your best bet is to eat a healthy diet that is good for your heart and your circulation." Other foods that are good for your circulation include cranberries, apples, peanuts, onions, tea, and red wine. Chances are, if you take good care of your vascular health, you will avoid many of the common causes of erectile dysfunction.
Dietary supplements are another avenue that patients can explore when it comes to treating their ED. Many products exist on the market but be warned that they may not have the scientific proof that can support claims of better erections. In one study done on multiple supplements that were proven to not work, it was found that patients found improvement in their ED 25 percent of the time. This suggests that supplements that do not work have a "placebo effect." This means that if a patient believes the medication truly works, he will notice improvements in his symptoms. This is a psychological phenomenon and can also be considered a root of why ED can occur. Depression or anxiety are two common reasons for ED and if patients take supplements that they believe will help them, they may have more confidence in sustaining an erection. 
Like garlic, onions too help treat ED. In a study conducted on male rats, fresh onion juice was found to have improved copulatory behavior and cured medicine-induced sexual dysfunction.8 They are also believed to help treat involuntary loss of semen during sleep or other times. Studies also show that like garlic, onions too offer some protection against testicular oxidative damage and spermiotoxicity.9
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).
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.