Shape up. Because ED is often linked with restricted blood flow to the penis, keep your heart and arteries in good condition by maintaining a healthy weight, and following a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid saturated fats and trans fats. Regular aerobic exercise can improve blood flow to the genitals and reduce any stress that contributes to your ED.
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.
ED is often treated with psychotherapy, behavior modification techniques, oral medications, locally injected drugs, vacuum devices, and sometimes even surgically implanted devices. In rare cases, surgery of the blood vessels may be necessary. In most cases, even when a physical cause is identified, emotional or psychological factors play a role as well.
If you can't take one of these oral medications, your physician may have you try Caverject (alprostadil for injection), a hormone that you inject into your penis using a fine needle, or Muse (alprostadil urogenital), a tiny suppository that you insert into the tip of the penis. Both of these will bring on an erection within five to 15 minutes without sexual stimulation.
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)
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University last year looked at 3,400 healthy Americans and found that men who were vitamin D deficient were 32% more likely to have trouble getting it up than those with sufficient levels, even after adjusting for other ED risk factors. In fact, the connection is so common, Walker says D levels are something he always checks in ED patients. Why? The sunshine vitamin is crucial for keeping the endothelial cells that line blood vessels healthy. Without enough of the stuff, blood flow is inhibited, affecting everything from your heart to your hard-on.
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:
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!
The B vitamin folic acid is good for cardiovascular health. Keeping your blood flowing smoothly is a key to preventing and even treating erectile dysfunction (ED). After all, ED is often an early warning sign of heart problems. In particular, some men have high levels of homocysteine, which can contribute to heart problems. Findings show that eating foods high in folate and taking folic acid supplements may help lower high homocysteine levels. Lots of foods contain folic acid, including spinach, tomatoes, and orange juice. But most of us don’t get enough of these heart healthy foods in our daily diet. To boost folic acid, look for a supplement with about 525 milligrams (mg) of this vitamin. That’s good advice for everyone, and might help with your ED. Research suggests that for some men with ED and high homocysteine levels, taking folic acid may be a key to helping ED medications like Viagra perform well.
It can’t be stressed enough — a healthy diet and lifestyle has numerous benefits, including in the bedroom. ED is linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, so eating a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains can reduce your chance of developing heart problems and, in turn, can alleviate your ED.
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.
Dr. Niket Sonpal is the Associate Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn and an Associate Professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. He’s a practicing Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist with a focus on Men’s and Women’s Health, and a regular contributor to Women’s health, Shape and Prevention Magazine.
On any matter relating to your health or well-being, please check with an appropriate health professional. No statement herein is to be construed as a diagnosis, treatment, preventative, or cure for any disease, disorder or abnormal physical state. The statements herein have not been evaluated by the Foods and Drugs Administration or Health Canada. Dr. Marchione and the doctors on the Bel Marra Health Editorial Team are compensated by Bel Marra Health for their work in creating content, consulting along with formulating and endorsing products.
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.
Another age-old therapy for ED is acupuncture. This is an ancient Chinese treatment where thin needles are inserted into specific points of the body to relieve all kinds of illnesses. Acupuncture has been used to treat ED for years. Studies show that acupuncture improves erection as well as in the treatment of erectile dysfunction with psychological cause.18
In a prospective human phase 1 open-label and single-arm study reported by Haahr et al. (27), 17 men with refractory post radical prostatectomy ED were given a single intracavernosal injection of autologous adipose-derived regenerative cells (ADRCs) freshly isolated after a liposuction. The procedures were well-tolerated and over a 6-month follow-up period, 8 of 17 men showed improvement of their erectile function.
Turns out that good ol’ P.B. is an aphrodisiac in disguise. It’s rich in two nutrients that are key to good bedroom performance: Niacin (with a quarter of your recommended daily value in two tablespoons) and vitamin E (75% of your DV in that same serving). In a study printed in the Journal of Sexual Health, men suffering from impotence who took a niacin supplement reported a significant improvement in their bedroom prowess compared to men who took a placebo. Peanut butter is also a good source of folate, which improves sperm quality. Click here to see our top 16 Nut Butters for Muscle Building and Weight Loss!
A study published in May 2014 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that some men can reverse erectile dysfunction with healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercise, weight loss, a varied diet, and good sleep. The Australian researchers also showed that even if erectile dysfunction medication is required, it's likely to be more effective if you implement these healthy lifestyle changes.