ED can be caused by a handful of things, but one thing’s for sure: You need a healthy supply of the neurotransmitter nitric oxide (NO) to get and maintain an erection. NO is produced in nerve tissue and helps jolt your Johnson by relaxing the smooth muscle so blood can fill the penis. After the initial release of NO, your body releases a cascade of chemicals—including more of the neurotransmitter—to help keep you hard and happy, according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
I recently treated a young twenty-something man with a primary complaint of erectile dysfunction. When he started to notice this issue, he attempted to treat it by performing lots of kegels. (If you haven’t heard of kegel exercises, they’re done by repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor, as if you were trying to stop peeing mid-stream.) I found this man’s story interesting because, as we discovered, in his case the kegels actually did more harm than good. We found that once he stopped kegeling and allowed his pelvic muscles to relax, his erections became stronger and he was able to ejaculate without any issues.

Using the protocol of a clinical randomized placebo-controlled parallel-group trial, the study also took place at the University of Hong Kong. One hundred sixty male patients with ED and dyslipidemia were randomized into two groups receiving either up to 1,500 mg of oral niacin daily or placebo for 12 weeks. Using questions from the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF, particularly questions Q3 and Q4), the primary outcome was improvement in erectile function. Q3 ranked “frequency of penetration,” while Q4 ranked “frequency of maintained erections after penetration.” Other outcome measurements included the total IIEF score, IIEF-erectile function domain, and Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM) score.
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.
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.
Yohimbine hydrochloride is the principal alkaloid of the bark of the African yohimbe tree. It is primarily selective for the presynaptic alpha-2 receptor that enhances the central release of norepinephrine1,2 or even epinephrine,3 although the latter is controversial.4 This central action increases sexual arousal2,5 and appears similar to the central alpha-2 adrenergic mechanism that initiates hot flashes.6 Peripherally, yohimbine may partially antagonize norepinephrine-induced contraction of corporeal cavernosal smooth muscle.7,8 The action is that of an antagonist to postjunctional alpha-2 adrenergic receptors, but a direct effect on vascular smooth muscle is also possible.9
Despite the name, horny goat weed actually helps improve your erection, not libido.  Botanically known as epimedium, this herb has been used by the Chinese for centuries to treat, among other things, low libido and erectile dysfunction. “A growing body of research shows that isolated icariin—the extract of epimedium—inhibits the enzyme phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) and significantly increases nitric oxide synthase, helping to improve erectile function,” says Fisch. In fact, this is the same mechanism that Viagra works through (but the herb comes with a way better name).
Suggested intake: “The problem with yohimbine is that you can’t regulate the amount in a dosage,” says Fratellone. “It all depends on what part of the tree it comes from, how it’s cultivated, how it’s exported, and so on. The amount of extract you get will vary.” FDA researchers analyzed a number of over-the-counter yohimbe bark products. They found that the supplements contained only seven percent or less of the amount of yohimbine that would be found in actual yohimbe bark, which suggests that they contained little or no yohimbe. However, the prescription form of yohimbine is strictly regulated by the FDA. It is approved only for the treatment of impotence, and is available in tablets and capsules. For erectile dysfunction, 5.4 to 10 milligrams three times daily has been studied and regarded as generally safe.

Geraerts, I., van Poppel, H., Devoogdt, N., de Groef, A., Fieuws, S., & van Kampen, M. (2016, January–February). Pelvic floor muscle training for erectile dysfunction and climacturia 1 year after nerve sparing radical prostatectomy: A randomized controlled trial [Abstract]. International Journal of Impotence Research, 28(1), 9–13. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26538105


A physical exam checks your total health. Examination focusing on your genitals (penis and testicles) is often done to check for ED. Based on your age and risk factors, the exam may also focus on your heart and blood system: heart, peripheral pulses and blood pressure. Based on your age and family history your doctor may do a rectal exam to check the prostate. These tests are not painful. Most patients do not need a lot of testing before starting treatment.

The Enlightenment proved itself to be an intellectual movement in 18th Century Europe that mobilized the power of reason to advance knowledge and reform society. It promoted intellectual transaction and opposed intolerance and abuses by both Church and State. This constituted a challenge to and disparagement of the heavy-handedness of the State. Thus, society was lifted and enlightened.


The phrase “use it before you lose it” can be applied when it comes to helping men with ED regain normal erectile function. Pelvic exercises, more commonly known as kegel exercises, are used to promote urinary continence and sexual health. They help to strengthen the bulbocavernosus muscle, which does three things: allows the penis to engorge with blood during erection, it pumps during ejaculation, and it helps empty the urethra after urination, according to Healthline.
It’s important to note that high levels of zinc can reduce available copper in the body and affect iron levels. High levels of zinc can also interfere with different kinds of medications. Though it is estimated that 40 milligrams of zinc supplement are safe for men to take daily, there is no long-term research into the effects that this practice could yield.
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