Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.
Men typically have higher zinc needs than women, which can make them more vulnerable to zinc deficiencies. In men, zinc is also needed to support healthy prostate and penile function. Keep in mind that excessive amounts of zinc can be harmful so it is best to follow package directions on the supplement you choose, should you decide to supplement with the mineral.

Niacin -- with or without the addition of drugs to treat impotence -- poses serious health risks, including stomach ulcers and liver damage. If you have Type 2 diabetes, taking niacin could cause drastic elevations in your blood sugar levels. Less serious side effects include stomach upset and skin flushes -- your face and chest turn red and your skin itches, tingles or burns. You can purchase niacin without a prescription, but some over-the-counter formulas -- no-flush varieties that contain niacinamide -- will unlikely help lower your cholesterol.
In the 1700s, pellagra was an endemic disease in northern Italy—which had not been known until maize (corn) was introduced from America. Italy gave the disease the name, “pelle agra” (pelle means skin; agra means rough). Casal had observed that patients with pellagra were all poor, subsisted mainly on maize, and rarely ate fresh meat. Because pellagra outbreaks occurred in regions of Europe where maize was a dominant food crop, the belief was that maize either carried a toxic substance or was a carrier of disease. When it was later noted that there were few pellagra outbreaks in Mesoamerica, where maize is a major food crop (and is processed), it was considered that the causes of pellagra may be due to factors other than toxins.
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.

Studies of mixed organic causes for erectile dysfunction showed varied results;15,16 thus, certain guidelines recommended that it not be used to treat erectile dysfunction.17 Side effects occurred when a high dose was given.18 Patients with organic erectile dysfunction had mixed results, with positive effects in 26,19 33,20 3421 and 43%,22 respectively. The results were better when the dose was doubled.20,21 Several meta-analyses showed a slight positive effect of yohimbine compared with placebo.23,24
Over 18 million American men over 20 years old suffer from erectile dysfunction, a condition characterized by the inability to keep an erection. It’s a complex disorder brought on by a number of factors, but it’s almost always devastating for the man it affects — causing him to lose confidence in himself and different aspects of his life. The stress it causes can deteriorate relationships and lead to lost productivity at work. Health problems aren’t uncommon either. But there’s good news in all the bad; a new study finds exercise may be a simple way to get things going under the sheets again.
Alprostadil self-injection. With this method, you use a fine needle to inject alprostadil (Caverject Impulse, Edex) into the base or side of your penis. In some cases, medications generally used for other conditions are used for penile injections on their own or in combination. Examples include papaverine, alprostadil and phentolamine. Often these combination medications are known as bimix (if two medications are included) or trimix (if three are included).

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.


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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.

Alprostadil self-injection. With this method, you use a fine needle to inject alprostadil (Caverject Impulse, Edex) into the base or side of your penis. In some cases, medications generally used for other conditions are used for penile injections on their own or in combination. Examples include papaverine, alprostadil and phentolamine. Often these combination medications are known as bimix (if two medications are included) or trimix (if three are included).


Many people experience occasional erectile dysfunction when they're stressed or preoccupied. This is because stress increases levels of the hormone adrenaline, which actually causes blood vessels to contract. As having a firm erection depends upon a strong supply of blood to and within the penis, feeling chronically stressed can lead to repeated bouts of ED.
Overall, studies have been inconclusive about the aphrodisiac benefits of taking yohimbine supplements. However, most have found it works better than placebos. (7) According to a report published in the Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, a recent analysis of seven trials concluded that between 34–75 percent of men involved in studies experienced favorable results when taking between 5–10 milligrams. (8)
Even at the higher doses of yohimbine, no changes in blood pressure or pulse were noted. This agent would appear to be safe in men with medically controlled hypertension. There was an increase in the morning cortisol levels in all men; the value was higher but not significantly so in responders. Telöken et al18 reported a high percentage (80%) of adverse events, but these authors administered a large dose (100 mg) of yohimbine. A toxic overdose of 200 mg produced only tachycardia, elevated blood pressure and anxiety of brief duration.33 Even direct intravenous dosing of yohimbine raised the mean arterial blood pressure by 12%,34 Goldstein et al35 systematically administered yohimbine and noted large hemodynamic and norepinephrine responses in both normal and hypertensive men; only the men who had a history of anxiety, depression, or other psychopathologic factors had symptoms. Oral administration of yohimbine at standard doses or even four tablets (21.6 mg) at a time has had no effect on blood pressure.4 Elevated blood pressure and heart rate were recorded when eight tablets (43.2 mg) were given at one time.3
The lack of strong scientific proof that vitamin supplementation can improve erectile function doesn’t stop companies from selling vitamins, herbal supplements, and other products with the promise that they will do the job. ED is often treatable with prescription medications or medical procedures, so be careful not to get taken by a manufacturer’s empty promises.
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.
The endothelium is vital to the maintenance of vascular health. It is a critical determinant of vascular tone and patency, reactivity, inflammation, vascular remodeling, and blood fluidity. (9, 10). Nitric oxide (NO) is the most potent vasodilator and is secreted by the endothelium. It is synthesized from Larginine by the endothelial enzyme NO synthase (eNOS). NO released in response to sexual stimulation relaxes penile vascular smooth muscle by increasing intracellular cyclic 3′, 5′-guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) concentration. Vasodilatation of erectile tissues allows the sinusoidal spaces to fill with blood resulting in the attainment and maintenance of an erection (5).

In addition, when research has shown a nutrient such as zinc or niacin to improve sexual function, it's usually in people who are deficient in it. So, before you stock up on over-the-counter nutritional supplements for ED, speak with your doctor. He can test you for deficiencies and steer you toward the most effective and safest way to treat your erectile dysfunction. 
Science is always on the search for the magic bullet for our sexual health problems – that female Viagra. Most women, however, experience poor sexual desire alongside other issues like PMS and fatigue. The solution requires a holistic approach. I want women to start by feeling good every day, in everything they do, as it’s then that you will find you have the ability to feel great about sex.
Research is mixed on the effectiveness of acupuncture as an erectile dysfunction cure, but one study published in November 2013 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that acupuncture can be beneficial for men experiencing erectile dysfunction as a side effect of antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
Physical exercises are only one part of overcoming sexual dysfunctions. If you're serious about restoring full control sexually then you need to understand which of your current thoughts and actions are causing your failure. After you understand how your problem works, THEN you can apply the correct thought and action sequence to stay in control sexually!
The number of intromissions in the 5 mg/day group was comparable with controls. On the other hand number of penile thrusting was significantly increased with the same dose. These are indications of unimpaired erectile function due to supplemented zinc. Our observations also confirmed the lack of aberrant sexual behavior which is indicative of uninhibited penile tactile sensations.[15] Sexual behavior may also be changed with motor weaknesses and incoordination.[12] Supplementation with zinc did not impair muscle strength or coordination when tested with bar and bridge tests, indicating that prolongation of ejaculation was not mediated through these mechanisms.
Those consuming yohimbine lost nearly 30% more fat and experienced 31% greater reductions in body fat percentage compared to those in the placebo group. Neither group reported negative side effects from a twice-daily dosing of 10mg of Yohimbine HCL. These findings indicate that the powerful fat loss effects of yohimbine apply to even the most seasoned athletes with already low levels of body fat.
The search criteria identified 210 studies from 1972 to 2010; on inserting randomized controlled trials only 26 studies were identified out of which only 5 met the inclusion criteria and 21 studies did not meet the inclusion criteria, hence, were excluded. Five (18, 24–27) randomized controlled trials (RCTs) met the inclusion criteria; studies involved the use of aerobic exercise in the management of ED, the IIEF was the assessment tool for ED and also involved control groups. A total of 385 subjects were involved: Lamina et al (25), n=43; Lamina et al (26), n=43; Esposito et al (18), n= 110; Kalka et al (27), n= 129; Maio, Saraed and Marchiori (24), n= 60.

The endothelium is vital to the maintenance of vascular health. It is a critical determinant of vascular tone and patency, reactivity, inflammation, vascular remodeling, and blood fluidity. (9, 10). Nitric oxide (NO) is the most potent vasodilator and is secreted by the endothelium. It is synthesized from Larginine by the endothelial enzyme NO synthase (eNOS). NO released in response to sexual stimulation relaxes penile vascular smooth muscle by increasing intracellular cyclic 3′, 5′-guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) concentration. Vasodilatation of erectile tissues allows the sinusoidal spaces to fill with blood resulting in the attainment and maintenance of an erection (5).
The researchers noted that "when patients were stratified according to the baseline severity of ED, the patients with moderate and severe ED who received niacin showed a significant improvement in IIEF-Q3 scores (0.56 0.96 [P = 0.037] and 1.03 1.20 [P < 0.001], respectively) and IIEF-Q4 scores (0.56 1.03 [P = 0.048] and 0.84 1.05 [P < 0.001], respectively] compared with baseline values, but not for the placebo group...For patients not receiving statins treatment, there was a significant improvement in IIEF-Q3 scores (0.47 1.16 [P = 0.004]) for the niacin group, but not for the placebo group. Niacin alone can improve the erectile function in patients suffering from moderate to severe ED and dyslipidemia." [3]

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).

Instead of injecting a medicine, some men insert a suppository of alprostadil into the urethra. A suppository is a solid piece of medicine that you insert into your body where it dissolves. A health care professional will prescribe a prefilled applicator for you to insert the pellet about an inch into your urethra. An erection will begin within 8 to 10 minutes and may last 30 to 60 minutes.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ingesting levels of zinc in excess of the recommended dietary amount will result in diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps. The maximum amount of daily zinc consumption recommended is 40 milligrams per day. Symptoms of too much zinc intake include nausea and headaches. If you have reason to suspect you have ingested too much zinc, contact a medical professional.
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