Another common cause of ED for many men is stress. When the body is under stress—either mental or physical—the sympathetic nervous system kicks in, releasing a cascade of stress hormones. Chronic stress leads to elevated levels of these hormones, which can lead to weight gain around the middle, and remember, those excess fat cells convert testosterone to estrogen. Stress also reduces sexual drive and leaves very little physical energy for sex. If chronic stress is a problem, try these supplements:
27. Haahr MK, Jensen CH, Toyserkani NM, et al. Safety and Potential Effect of a Single Intracavernous Injection of Autologous Adipose-Derived Regenerative Cells in Patients with Erectile Dysfunction Following Radical Prostatectomy: An Open-Label Phase I Clinical Trial. EBioMedicine 2016;5:204-10. 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.01.024 [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef]
Long considered an aphrodisiac by the Chinese, ginseng may do more than just rev your engine. A 2013 South Korean study found that taking the herb for just a few weeks improved guys’ performance in the bedroom, including helping them last longer before finishing. Meanwhile, a study in Spermatogenesis found that ginseng can also help make for harder, longer-lasting erections and improve testosterone levels, which in turn boosts libido. “Ginseng is a promising herbal therapy for ED because it helps promote relaxation of smooth muscle in the penis, increase dopamine levels in the brain, and increase pressure in the cavernosal nerves of the penis which helps nitric oxide synthesis,” Walker explains.
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.
Another potential cause of ED is prediabetes and diabetes—35-50 percent of men with diabetes also have ED. Chronically elevated blood sugar damages the arteries (there’s the vascular connection again) and nerves, including those that stimulate the penis. Prediabetes and diabetes are also generally accompanied by excess weight, especially around the mid-section. These excess fat cells convert testosterone into estrogen, negatively altering the testosterone to estrogen ratio. This excess estrogen, independent of prediabetes and diabetes, interferes with the hormonal cascade necessary to produce and maintain an erection. Although many men may reach for a testosterone booster, a more effective means is to improve the body’s metabolism and elimination of estrogen and to lose excess weight around the middle. To support healthy blood sugar balance and estrogen metabolism try:
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:
Between 2001–2006, one-third of the US population had insufficient amounts of vitamin D, according to the Institute of Medicine. Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include obesity and high BMI, not enough sun exposure or outdoor activity, having darker skin and suffering from certain from inflammatory conditions like Crohn’s disease. You can get a blood test to find out if you’re vitamin D deficient.
Processed Foods tend to have fat, salt, and sugar added to them, as well as preservatives and other chemical additives that can be harmful to your health. Processed foods include frozen foods, canned foods, processed meats, and many snack foods. Some research links eating processed foods to depression, which is something that can cause erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction can occur as a side effect of medication taken for another health condition. Common culprits are high blood pressure meds, antidepressants, some diuretics, beta-blockers, heart medication, cholesterol meds, antipsychotic drugs, hormone drugs, corticosteroids, chemotherapy, and medication for male pattern baldness, among others.