A 2000 study conducted at the Institute of Sexology in Paris found that muira puama, a Brazilian shrub traditionally used in South African folk medicine as an aphrodisiac, increased libido and erection strength in a majority of men who complained of impotence and a lack of sexual desire. Other studies show this happy-making herb also counteracts chronic stress, depression and nervous exhaustion.
Size matters, so get slim and stay slim. A trim waistline is one good defense — a man with a 42-inch waist is 50% more likely to have ED than one with a 32-inch waist. Losing weight can help fight erectile dysfunction, so getting to a healthy weight and staying there is another good strategy for avoiding or fixing ED. Obesity raises risks for vascular disease and diabetes, two major causes of ED. And excess fat interferes with several hormones that may be part of the problem as well.
But, first for those of you who do not know anything on this topic, let’s define erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is a condition which characterizes itself with the inability to maintain an erection during sexual intercourse. Luckily, although erectile dysfunction is a common condition, this condition seems to be easily treated. You can choose from the variety of natural remedies, including supplements, which claim to increase your stamina, sexual ability, and muscle mass. This article is dedicated to the importance of exercise as a way to treat erectile dysfunction and highlight the best exercises you could use as a part of the treatment. 
The group treated with the lower concentration of zinc (1 mg/day) did not show an alteration in any of the observed parameters. However, supplementation with a dose of 5 mg/day per rat caused substantial prolonged ejaculatory latency and increased in number of penile thrusting. The other parameters studied remained unchanged indicating uninterrupted libido, sex vigor and performance. Majority of male rats (75 %) showed the prominent actions of sexual behaviour (mount, intromission and penile thrusting) and did not ejaculate within the 15-minute observation period.
Though higher doses of zinc reduce libido, supplementation with a medium dose (5 mg/day) has some beneficial effect on the sexual competence of adult male rats. The major significant effects of this dose of zinc are prolongation of ejaculatory latency without disturbing sexual arousability, motivation, penile erection and sex vigor. Also, the partner preference index of the 5 mg/day group was positive and comparable to the controls. A positive partner preference index is indicative of unchanged sexual interest of males.[16] These results confirmed that libido and sexual interest are not affected by zinc supplementation with a 5 mg/day dose. However, mild reduction in percentage of intromission was observed in this group and it is postulated that this may be situational rather than an effect of supplemented zinc. This is based on our observation where mild rejection by the females at the initial phase of the behavior led some males to refrain from sexual activity.

A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that a large percentage of men with ED also have low levels of vitamin D. If you’re experiencing ED, you may want to have your level of vitamin D checked. Other symptoms of a low vitamin D level may be too subtle to notice. However, if you have serious vitamin D deficiency, you may have bone pain or muscle weakness. Vitamin D levels can be checked with a simple blood test and for most people corrected with a supplement.

The art of acupuncture has become the new treatment for everything from back pain, depression, and even ED. Impotence could be more of a state of mind, and acupuncture may help. Through this alternative therapy, fine needles are placed in various parts of the body to relieve pain or stress. Although there are many mixed studies for acupuncture and ED, many tend to confirm positive results. A 1999 study found acupuncture improved the quality of erection and even restored sexual activity in 39 percent of participants.
All hormone determinations were performed by radioimmunoassay using kits provided by commercial suppliers. All blood samples were drawn between 8 am and 1 pm, quickly spun down, frozen, and then stored. All determinations were performed at the same time after the end of the study. The serum LH kit was obtained from Nichols Institute (now Quest; Tarzana, CA, USA) (normal male range, 1.4–11.1 mIU/ml). The serum free testosterone kit was obtained from Diagnostic Products Corporation (DPC, Los Angeles, USA) (normal male range, 15–40 pg/ml). The serum cortisol kit was bought from DPC (normal morning range, 10–24 mcg/dl; normal afternoon range, 5–12 mcg/dl). The serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate kit was obtained from DPC (normal range, 150–350 mcg/dl from adolescence to the peak at age 50 y, with a progressive decrease with advancing years).
Some people experience symptoms of sexual dysfunction, including ED or loss of interest in sex, when taking medications for depression or anxiety disorders called selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). (9) Yohimbine-containing medications are not intended to treat these symptoms. However, some doctors use yohimbine to offset negative effects of treating mental illnesses. It can also decrease lethargy or low pressure since it acts as a mild stimulant. Additionally it may help to prevent complications in diabetic patients including diabetic neuropathy.
The final study we will be examining in this article took a novel approach to by dosing 16 healthy male subjects with 7.7 milligrams of yohimbine tartrate and 6 grams of L-arginine glutamate and comparing it to a placebo. Depending on their group each subject was randomly assigned to consume the placebo one week and the novel compound the other week.
In conclusion, aerobic training can successfully treat ED in selected patients with arterogenic ED. However, there are very few high-quality randomized trials regarding aerobic training and ED. Practitioners should bear in mind that aerobic training and other risk factors modification is associated with higher rates of ED management success.Since these results are based on small studies, the evidence would be stronger if confirmed by large trials. Effectiveness data were limited; however, the effectiveness of ED is largely determined by the patient health status and associated condition. In addition, work is needed in the standardization of follow-up protocols, evaluation of ED management success and failure, patient selection, and statistical analysis. More randomized studies that compare various exercise techniques are warranted. These studies should evaluate efficacy, complications, quality of life, cost implications, and long-term outcomes of ED management compare to other therapeutic modalities available. Also more database search is also warranted to further broaden the data search on the topic.
Male erectile dysfunction (ED) has been defined as the persistent inability to attain and/or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual performance (1). ED is very common, and its prevalence as well as severity increases with age (2). It has been recognized that the major cause of ED is atherosclerosis affecting the pelvic vasculature (3). The presence of ED has been known to predict future cardiovascular disease, and early detection may allow timely modification of remediable risk factors, or lead to the diagnosis of occult cardiovascular disease (4, 5).
After two hours of zinc treatment, male rats were individually caged and kept for 15 minutes for adaptation. One estrous (receptive) and one diestrous (nonreceptive) female were introduced to each cage and the duration of physical contact with each female was recorded for 15 minutes. Partner preference index (PPI) was calculated as the difference between the time spent with estrous female and diestrous female. Positive indices indicate their positive sexual interest.[12]
They found that men who exercised the most were also the most likely to have higher scores in sexual function. Specifically, those who expended 18 METS, or metabolic equivalents, per week were most likely to enjoy sex. METS is a physiological measurement that denotes the amount of energy a person spends on a specific activity, as well as the intensity of it. According to the researchers, 18 METS was equal to about two hours of strenuous exercise like running or swimming, 3.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise, or six hours of light exercise.   
A 2011 study of 160 men with moderate or severe erectile dysfunction divided the group in two—80 men were given niacin supplements, and 80 a placebo. The group given niacin reported improved ability to “maintain an erection versus the control group.” It’s not exhaustive research, but still promising. The best part about niacin is that it’s naturally found in foods like turkey, avocado, and peanuts (yum). If you’re not a turkey sandwich fan, you can supplement with a vitamin B complex.
"The good news is, our study also found that a large proportion of men were naturally overcoming erectile dysfunction issues. The remission rate of those with erectile dysfunction was 29%, which is very high. This shows that many of these factors affecting men are modifiable, offering them an opportunity to do something about their condition," Professor Wittert says.
We studied the involvement of zinc in the sexual behavioral response of male rats. The study design employed a rat model to predict the human sexual response to elemental zinc supplementation. Rats were used because they are very social and copulate under a variety of circumstances, regardless of the presence of a human experimenter. They are practical (small and easy to handle) and certain tissues and neuroendocrine systems are strikingly similar to humans.[13]
Controlling stress, having a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep to create a good foundation for sexual satisfaction. But sometimes the basics aren’t quite enough. Millions of men experience erectile dysfunction (ED), but ED can usually be successfully treated with prescription medications like Viagra, Levitra, Staxyn, and Cialis. These drugs have helped men understand that ED isn’t all in their mind, have opened up the topic to a more honest discussion, and have transformed many men’s sex lives.

This African tree bark extract sends blood flow to the genitals, said 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.
• Eliminate your bad habits: Bad lifestyle habits may take a toll on your body, making it harder for you to maintain your athletic performance, regulate your weight or treat sexual dysfunction. To keep your body in its best condition, quit your bad habits immediately — eliminate smoking, avoid excessive alcohol intake and cut down your late-night meals.
There is no evidence that mild or even moderate alcohol consumption is bad for erectile function, says Ira Sharlip, MD, a urology professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. But chronic heavy drinking can cause liver damage, nerve damage, and other conditions -- such as interfering with the normal balance of male sex hormone levels -- that can lead to ED.
Most human studies completed thus-far examine the impact of oral yohimbine consumption on erectile dysfunction (ED) in males. A meta-analysis of seven randomized, placebo-controlled trials found that yohimbine is significantly more effective in treating ED compared to placebo. [11] These findings did not compare yohimbine to prescription medications like Viagra®, which are designed to treat ED.
Magnesium helps regulate levels of calcium, zinc, and other vitamins and minerals. It also helps the body produce energy and contributes to proper organ function. Most people don’t develop a genuine magnesium deficiency, even if they don’t get enough of the mineral in their diets, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A true magnesium deficiency, however, may increase the risk of erectile dysfunction.
We have presented objective evidence that yohimbine has a positive effect in men with organic erectile dysfunction. This is contrary to the blanket statement of the American Urological Association in their clinical guidelines for erectile dysfunction, which states: ‘Based on the data to date, yohimbine does not appear to be effective for erectile dysfunction and, thus, it should not be recommended as treatment for the standard patient.’17 Our data strongly suggest that yohimbine treatment should be revisited. Our study was observational with dose-escalation just to see if there was any rationale to expect any effect in men with organic erectile dysfunction, especially in men who do not have the risk factor of tobacco abuse. The next step would be a double-blind, placebo-controlled study using yohimbine in smokers vs non-smokers to verify the current observation. We believe that our data justify such a trial. Yohimbine will never be a first-line drug for erectile dysfunction, but may be useful in subsets of men with mild disease or few risk factors. Yohimbine might also be useful in combination therapy with other treatment modalities such as sildenafil and intraurethral alprostadil, when they do not produce adequate effects alone, as has already been shown with naloxone39 or trazedone.40
The mind and body are intricately connected, and exploring this connection can help you combat stress and fatigue, both of which can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Adding mind-body exercise to your life helps lower stress, improve breathing, and reduce general tension. Yoga can also be terrific for improving your sense of well-being, and it’s great for helping keep you limber so you reduce the risk of sports-related injuries. Partnered yoga classes and routines let men engage in relaxing and beneficial exercise with their partners, and there are even specific yoga postures designed to improve blood circulation to the pelvic region.
A double-blind, partial crossover study on the therapeutic effect of yohimbine hydrochloride on erectile dysfunction was done in 82 sexually impotent patients. All patients underwent a multifactorial evaluation, including determination of penile brachial blood pressure index, cavernosography, sacral evoked response, testosterone and prolactin determination, Derogatis sexual dysfunction inventory and daytime arousal test. After 1 month of treatment with a maximum of 42.0 mg. oral yohimbine hydrochloride daily 14 per cent of the patients experienced restoration of full and sustained erections, 20 per cent reported a partial response to the therapy and 65 per cent reported no improvement. Three patients reported a positive placebo effect. Maximum effect takes 2 to 3 weeks to manifest itself. Yohimbine was active in some patients with arterial insufficiency and a unilateral sacral reflex arc lesion, and in 1 with low serum testosterone levels. The 34 per cent response is encouraging, particularly in a Veterans Administration population presenting with a high incidence of diabetes and vascular pathological conditions not found in regular office patients. Only few and benign side effects were recorded, which makes this medication worth an attempt, often as a first line of treatment even at a dose of 8 tablets.
Ginseng, specifically “red ginseng,” is known as the “herbal Viagra” that helps puts to rest men’s bedroom woes. Red ginseng is when the root has been steamed and then dried. The ginseng root is the part of the plant that is mostly used as a natural remedy when in its supplement form. However, the plant must be grown for a minimum of five years before it can be used. In a 2008 review, seven studies on red ginseng and ED, ranging in dosages from 600 to 1,000 milligrams three times a day, were found to provide evidence for the effectiveness of the herb in ED treatment.

Magnesium helps regulate levels of calcium, zinc, and other vitamins and minerals. It also helps the body produce energy and contributes to proper organ function. Most people don’t develop a genuine magnesium deficiency, even if they don’t get enough of the mineral in their diets, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A true magnesium deficiency, however, may increase the risk of erectile dysfunction.
In the Hong Kong study, the researchers postulated that niacin might be as beneficial as statins on erectile function, and have other related benefits too. Niacin is known to produce a flushing effect (see “Toleration Despite Adversity,” above), which is related to prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) release in the skin. This can lead to vasodilation and concomitant flushing. The production of PGD2 can also occur in macrophages, a type of protective white blood cell. Consequently, when PGD2 production is induced by niacin, it may affect all body tissue, including the cavernosal tissue in the penis. Indeed, PGD2 is one of the potential agents causing the vasodilation and engorgement of cavernosal tissue, thereby leading to erection. Thus, niacin improves erectile function by stimulating the production of PGD2.
These medications don’t work for everyone but they are easy to use and work for around 60% of people who try them. They work by making it easier to get an erection by reducing the effect of (inhibiting) the chemical PDE-5. This chemical is used in the body to make sure there isn’t too much blood in the penis during an erection, but if you have erectile dysfunction then this chemical ends up over-compensating.
Vitamin C has been associated with higher sperm counts. You can get it naturally from strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, which are anthocyanins, colorful plant chemicals which help keep your arteries unclogged, boosting circulation and erection quality. In supplement stores, you’ll find all manner of megadoses — steer clear of those; they might do more harm than good.

You may know horny goat weed from its omnipresence behind the counter at your local convenience store, but this traditional Chinese formula is less sketchy than it sounds. Used for centuries to treat low libido and erectile dysfunction, the herb’s potential efficacy was show in a 2010 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Researchers who fed the supplement to rats found they had improved erectile function; another study showed that the supplement can block a natural chemical that wilts erections. (Just be warned: Viagra was found to be 80 times more powerful.)

As an alpha-2 antagonist, yohimbine promotes sympathetic activity. According to a number of studies, yohimbe can increase blood pressure. This is why it’s useful for things like erectile dysfunction or diabetic nerve problems. Yohimbine is sometimes used to treat low blood pressure and symptoms like dizziness when standing up. It works by dilating blood vessels and acting on the sympathetic nervous system. However, it’s important to point out that increased blood pressure can also be a problem for some people, especially those with existing cardiovascular problems, people taking blood pressure medications, or those who already have high blood pressure.
Important Caution: Before choosing Yohimbe be sure to let your doctor know you are interested in using this herb. Yohimbe should not be use in those people with low blood pressure or who are on blood pressure medications. Never exceed the dosage of this herb. Not to be taken at the same time you eat cheese, liver or red wine, all of which contain the amino acid tyramine. In addition, there have been many reports that French and American Yohimbine products did not actually contain any yohimbe, but caffeine instead. Before choosing to purchase any Yohimbe product, be sure that it is from a reputable, high-quality source. Never exceed suggested dosage of Yohimbe, as it may be toxic in high doses. Always follow the guidelines on the label of the product you have purchased.
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.
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