Impotence, or erectile dysfunction (ED), is the inability for a man to sustain an erection long enough for normal, satisfying sexual intercourse.  To understand the underlying causes of impotence, it helps to know the basics about how an erection develops, along with potential problems that get in the way. Erections begin in the brain with a thought related to sexual desire. Then a chemical message travels from the brain to the penis. Blood flow to the penis increases as blood vessels leading to the reproductive system relax and allow for increased circulation.
If seafood isn’t your thing — or the Casanova Breakfast Plan doesn’t work with your budget — know that fortified breakfast cereals are also good sources of B12. According to the USDA, healthy cereals such as Kellogg’s All-Bran, Special K, Smart Start and Whole Grain Total provide a full day’s allowance. Check the nutrition facts and opt for whole grains, which can help lower cholesterol levels. Having high cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, or clogged and constricted arteries, which inhibits blood flow. That’s dangerous for your heart, but guess which artery-rich organ you’ll probably notice it in first?
For centuries, men have tried all sorts of natural remedies for erectile dysfunction (ED) -- the repeated inability to get or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. But do they really work? It is simply not scientifically known at this point. Furthermore, you take these remedies at your own risk, because their safety profiles have not been established. What follows are commentaries by experts and reviews in the field of alternative treatments that are available over the counter for erectile dysfunction and impotence.
In contrast to Chinese ginseng, Korean ginseng is divided into three types, depending on how it is processed. Red Ginseng is harvested at the sixth year of cultivation and is steamed and dried. In addition to the effects mentioned regarding the effects of ginsenoside, red ginseng has been repoted to improve erectile function in a rat model of metabolic syndrome and it was also found to inhibit fibrosis of the corpus cavernosum of the penis (39). As with most herbal medicines, the concentration of ginsenoside are distributed unevenly throughout the ginseng plant and the concentrations in individual supplements can vary. Common side effects include headaches, insomnia, gastric upset, rash and constipation.
As men age, their estrogen levels gradually rise, while testosterone levels fall. Anti-cancer coupounds called indoles can help strike a balance. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are rich in indoles, which boost testosterone production by breaking down and flushing the system of excess estrogen, which inhibits the production of male sex hormones. In one study, supplementing with indole-3-carbinol from cruciferous vegetables for just 7 days cut the estrogen hormone estradiol in half for men. Another study found indole supplementation significantly increased urinary excretion of estrogens.
I mentioned taking herbs and supplements to treat erectile dysfunction, so I want to add a note of caution about using so-called “natural male enhancement” pills. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalls dozens (if not hundreds) of these products each year for containing the active ingredient in medications used to treat ED. When you buy those products from the internet, or even from a retail store, you have no real way of knowing what you’re ingesting. The active ingredient in drugs like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra can negatively interact with other medications, so it’s essential that you take them with medical supervision.
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The diagnosis of erectile dysfunction requires a comprehensive sexual and medical history that include a validated questionnaire, the Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM), and asking if they experience a rigid erection at night, in the morning, or during masturbatory approaches. The presence of rigid morning or night erections, or rigid erections at any sexual thought suggests a mainly psychogenic cause. Conversely, erectile dysfunction with a gradual onset, progressive course, or long duration suggests a predominantly organic cause.
Tribulus terrestris is a dicotyledonous herbal plant of the Zygophyllaceae family, used to increase serum testosterone levels, which has only been shown in animal studies (40). A prospective, randomized, double blind study of 30 men showed that Tribulus terrestris was not more effective than placebo on improving IIEF scores or serum total testosterone (41). Two accounts of hepato-nephrotoxicity have been reported in young men who ingested high doses of this herbal medication (42,43).
It’s no secret that oily coldwater fish like wild salmon, sardines, and tuna are overflowing with omega-3 fatty acids, but here’s something you may not know: The nutrient not only benefits your heart but also raises dopamine levels in the brain. This spike in dopamine improves circulation and blood flow, triggering arousal. There’s more: “Dopamine will make you feel more relaxed and connected to your partner, which makes intercourse more fun,” says Tammy Nelson. Just make sure you’re ordering the right kind by reading this special report: 8 Mistakes You’re Making When Buying Salmon!
If you want to go long enough to help your date reach the big O, reach for some oatmeal. The popular breakfast cereal is a good source of l-arginine, an amino acid commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction. Plus, whole grains like oatmeal also help lower cholesterol levels. Having high cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, a condition that clogs and narrows arteries, impairing blood flow. This could eventually lead to heart problems, but you’ll likely notice issues below the belt first. The arteries surrounding the genital area are narrower than coronary blood vessels, so they’re more susceptible to clots. Simply put, the better your cholesterol levels are, the better your erection will be, too.

Cherries are rich in anthocyanins, plant chemicals which clean your arteries of plaque, keeping them open for business. That has a direct effect on blood flow below the belt. So make them a regular snack: One cup clocks in at fewer than 100 calories and boasts B vitamins, cancer-fighting flavonoids and three grams of fiber. For more essential fat-blasters for your kitchen, stock up on these 9 Best Flat-Belly Superfoods!
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.
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.
Recent University of Texas findings suggest that men who drink two to three cups of java a day—or 85 to 170 milligrams of caffeine from other beverages—are 42 percent less likely to have erectile dysfunction than those who consume up to seven milligrams of the stimulant daily. And those who throw back four to seven cups were 39 percent less likely to have the condition than their less jittery counterparts. The trend holds true among overweight, obese and hypertensive men, but not for those with diabetes, a condition that often causes the issue. So, how exactly does drinking coffee keep things going strong? The scientists say that the stimulant triggers a series of reactions in the body that ultimately increase blood flow south. And get the abs you want—quickly—and melt up to 10 pounds in one week with our new diet plan, The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse!
Penile implants - are generally used if physical damage (like an accident) makes the anatomical parts needed for an erection not work. These are inserted by surgery and can provide a permanent treatment choice if others fail to work. The implants can be semi-rigid or inflatable. They can be pretty expensive and are not usually available on the NHS.
Many products contain undocumented “fillers” that can cause allergic reactions.  In recent years, the FDA has found over 300 herbal products that contain hidden, deceptively labeled, or dangerous ingredients4. And since 2015, the FDA has released public warnings on more than 160 ED supplements and “male enhancement” products found to contain dangerous ingredients and contaminants5 .   An independent study of FDA data, conducted in 2018, found almost 800 herbal supplements that contained unlisted ingredients6.

I mentioned taking herbs and supplements to treat erectile dysfunction, so I want to add a note of caution about using so-called “natural male enhancement” pills. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalls dozens (if not hundreds) of these products each year for containing the active ingredient in medications used to treat ED. When you buy those products from the internet, or even from a retail store, you have no real way of knowing what you’re ingesting. The active ingredient in drugs like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra can negatively interact with other medications, so it’s essential that you take them with medical supervision.
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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the persistent inability to attain and maintain an erection that is sufficient to permit satisfactory sexual performance (1). The current pharmaco-therapeutic research in ED focuses on underlying endothelial dysfunction as the root cause for ED and introduction of phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors to potentiate nitric oxide (NO) action and cavernosal smooth muscle vasodilation, has revolutionized modern ED treatment over the past two decades (2). In contrast to Western Medicine, the traditional and complementary medicine (TCM) aims at restoration and better overall bodily regulation with medicine to invigorate qi (energy) in vital organs such as kidney, spleen and liver; to enhance physical fitness, increase sexual drive, stabilize the mind and improve the overall situation resulting in natural and harmonious sexual life (3).
Wu, Guoyao; Collins, Julie K; Perkins-Veazie, Penelope; Siddiq, Muhammad; Dolan, Kirk D; Kelly, Katherine A; Heaps, Cristine L; Meininger, Cynthia J. “Dietary Supplementation with Watermelon Pomace Juice Enhances Arginine Availability and Ameliorates the Metabolic Syndrome in Zucker Diabetic Fatty Rats.” The Journal of Nutrition. Dec 2007. Volume 137, Issue 12, Pages 2680–2685.
If you like your food like you like your lovers—sweet and spicy—you’re in luck. Ginger is another food that can improve your bedroom life by aiding blood flow and improving artery health. According to a study in the International Journal of Cardiology, consuming a mere teaspoon of the stuff a few times a week is all you need to reap the heart-healthy benefits. The spice has also been shown to boost levels of testosterone and sperm viability. So go ahead and place that second order of sushi this week—just don’t leave the ginger on your plate.
Impotence, also called erectile dysfunction (ED), can be a very frustrating problem. Some men are able to achieve an erection but are not able to maintain one. Others are not able to achieve one at all. Causes of impotence can be both physiological (affecting mostly the body and organs) or psychological (affecting the mind). Luckily, there are natural remedies for impotence you can try.

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. [10]
The herb is particularly effective for those whose willy woes are based on other medications: An older study from the University of California found ginkgo biloba is 76% effective in treating sexual dysfunction caused by antidepressants. “Gingko helps counteract sexual dysfunction caused by certain antidepressants called SSRIs by blocking serotonin activity in the erectile centers of the brain, ultimately leading to better synthesis and bioavailability of nitric oxide,” Walker explains.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, “because erectile dysfunction is caused by a complex set of psychosocial, neurologic, and vascular factors, a specific cause in a patient may remain ambiguous.” The root causes are often related to a blockage or dysfunction of blood vessels. For example, ED can be due to conditions like atherosclerosis or diabetes, hormonal imbalances or problems related to mental health. It’s been found that common causes typically include one or more of the following factors: (2)
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.
This African tree bark extract sends blood flow to the genitals, says herbalist Ed Smith, a founding member of the American Herbalists Guild, who adds a warning that yohimbe can cause nervousness and raise already-existing high blood pressure (so avoid taking it if you have heart or kidney disease), and can also negatively interact with antidepressants.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for intercourse. Because ED can have a strong psychological component, counseling with a psychotherapist or sex therapist often works. However, more often ED is a symptom of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, both of which can impair blood supply to the penis. In addition, many medications interfere with sexual functioning.
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Yohimbe A number of clinical trials have shown that the primary component of this bark from an African tree can improve sexual dysfunction associated with selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used to treat depression. This herb has been linked to a number of side effects, including increased blood pressure, fast or irregular heartbeat, and anxiety. Yohimbe shouldn't be used without a doctor's supervision.
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