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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common issue in men over 40 years of age. However, twenty-five percent of men seeking medical help for erectile dysfunction are under the age of 40. The number of young men suffering from ED may be much higher than previously thought.
Current conventional treatment options for erectile dysfunction are drugs such as Viagra®, Cialis®, and Levitra®. However, most patients receive no treatment.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, research at the University of Adelaide, Australia, showed that men can reverse erectile dysfunction by focusing on lifestyle factors and not solely relying on medication. The major risk factors are typically physical conditions rather than psychological ones, such as being overweight, overconsumption of alcohol, stress, age, insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea.
In this study, the incidence of erectile dysfunction among men aged 35-80 years over a five-year period was 31 percent.
The research found that most of the men were overcoming erectile dysfunction naturally. The remission rate of those with erectile dysfunction was 29%, which is high. This shows that many of these factors affecting men are actionable, providing them an opportunity to do something about their condition. “Even when medication to help with erectile function is required, it is likely to be considerably more effective if lifestyle factors are also addressed,” says Dr. Sean Martin, lead author of the research paper.
Simple changes to the diet can be a tremendous help. For example, a Mediterranean diet is associated with lower cardiovascular events and could be a way to help erectile dysfunction patients lower their risk.
Nutritional support for erectile dysfunction
Arginine is a critical substrate for the synthesis of nitric oxide, which relaxes endothelial cells throughout the cardiovascular system. It has been shown to reverse the endothelial dysfunction associated with common cardiovascular risk factors and also ameliorates symptoms of certain cardiovascular disorders, such as erectile dysfunction.
Citrulline raises plasma arginine levels significantly higher than arginine itself and is not metabolized in the intestines or liver. In a placebo-controlled trial, one month of oral L-citrulline improved erectile function to normal in 50% of the patients with mild erectile dysfunction.
Grape and Apple Polyphenols have both potent antioxidant and vasodilating properties.
These polyphenols enhance vasodilation by increasing the activation of the eNOS enzyme. Grape-derived polyphenols have been demonstrated to be effective in increasing NO synthesis by enhancing eNOS activity.
Ginkgo Biloba increased nitric oxide in one study by nearly 13% and decreased endothelin-1, a potent vasoconstricting peptide produced by endothelial cells, by almost 6%, increasing the NO/ET-1 ratio by approximately 20%. These three factors: increasing nitric oxide, decreasing ET-1, and increasing in the NO/ET-1 ratio had a synergistic effect with increased vasodilation.
Erectile dysfunction can be a very serious issue, as it is a marker of underlying cardiovascular disease, and many times occurs before heart conditions manifest. Men should maintain a healthy weight, adhere to good nutrition habits, exercise, drink alcohol in moderation (if at all), and get quality sleep. It is also important to address risk factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Not only will this improve their sexual ability, but it will also support their cardiovascular health and help reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
By Dr. Michael Jurgelewicz
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Sean A. Martin, Evan Atlantis, Kylie Lange, Anne W. Taylor, Peter O’Loughlin, Gary A. Wittert. Predictors of Sexual Dysfunction Incidence and Remission in Men. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/jsm.12483
Tags: Erectile Dysfunction