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Men’s Health

ED relief with natural substances

ED relief with natural substances

Of all the catastrophic conditions that a man can suffer from, few are more emotionally taxing than erectile dysfunction. ED can seriously affect a man’s confidence, ego, and overall mood, which has an enormous effect on his overall psyche.

The cold hard fact is that most men will experience some form of erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives. While most cases are due to temporary abnormalities, like overconsumption of alcohol or drugs, prescription medication being taken, or correctable health issues, sometimes erectile dysfunction can serve as a symptom of a much more serious health concern.

When erectile dysfunction becomes persistent, a more serious inquiry into possible causes must be made. Studies show that ED can even serve as a precursor to cardiac arrest, so paying close attention to your member is more than just a manhood issue, it can be a life or death issue for some.

Because ED is somewhat perceived by many as a normal part of being a guy and aging, affecting as much as 25 percent of men over 65, many are unlikely to address it as a serious health concern.

One of the most serious conditions that erectile dysfunction is a symptom for is cardiovascular disease (CVD). Research has found that ED and cardiovascular disease share a few of the same risk factors, coexisting frequently. As much as 70 percent of men who have cardiovascular disease also have erectile dysfunction, with the erectile dysfunction often preceding a major cardiovascular incident, like a serious heart attack, by 2 to 5 years.

Cardiovascular disease

The major reason that ED and CVD are so closely related is largely due to the lining of blood vessels, impacted by a perpetually unhealthy lifestyle. Without adequate blood flow, the penis cannot become erect, and cardiovascular disease often inhibits blood flow.

Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes that can be made to restore proper blood flow by restoring the inner lining of the body’s blood vessels, and it largely can be accomplished with diet changes, including adding foods high in restorative compounds like L-Arginine, pycnogenol, citrulline, Scutellaria, and cinnamon.

In order for an erection to occur, the cavernous smooth muscle must relax, an event triggered by the compound nitric oxide (NO). Thus, men with diminished amounts of nitric oxide may experience erectile dysfunction.

Researchers believe that nitric oxide is necessary for not only relaxing smooth muscle cells to dilate blood vessels, but also absorbs reactive oxygen species (ROS) to prevent permanent penile changes occurring as well as damaging collagen/glycosylated proteins forming.

Age related erectile dysfunction is usually associated with a reduction in smooth muscle cells and an increase in collagen within the corpora cavernosa, the main vessels forming the penis. This increase is associated with an increase in ROS.

Nitric oxide, or more specifically inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) that produces nitric oxide is the body’s natural way of preventing the overproduction of ROS, scavenging and eliminating it before it causes damage. Thus, age related erectile dysfunction is a result of underproduction of nitric oxide, and supplementation can help.

A study published back in 2003 confirmed that pycnogenol can stimulate nitric oxide production, and when coupled with another compound, L-arginine substantially increased the production of nitric oxide.

Pycnogenol-pine bark

However, when combined with pycnogenol, the treatments showed extremely promising results. When combined, the supplementation of L-arginine with pycnogenol restored the sexual ability of 80 percent of participants. After 3 months of treatments, an astounding 92.5 percent of participants experienced restored erections. Perhaps just as promising as its efficacy is this treatment’s safety. No side-effects were reported, making it perhaps the safest treatment for ED known to this point.

Part of a chemical building block called an amino acid, L-arginine is obtained from food consumed and essential for the body to make proteins. L-arginine is found in abundance in red meat, fish, nuts and seeds, and poultry. L-arginine is commonly used as a treatment for blood vessel conditions, which also makes it an intuitive treatment option for erectile dysfunction.

Citrulline is an interesting compound that is converted into L-arginine in the kidneys. So while L-arginine gets absorbed by the body, L-citrulline may be a better option for supplementation, allowing the body to create its own supply of L-arginine that doesn’t get depleted so quickly, as studies show that Supplemental L-arginine provides a spike of L-arginine in plasma, while supplemental L-citrulline increases arginine plasma levels over a longer period of time.

Not only great for blood sugar regulation among a host of other peripheral benefits, cinnamon is another great compound that has been found to help treat ED. Cinnamon is a popular spice in every kitchen, but it has also been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine in India for ages, sometimes as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.

Cinnamon

Studies show that when given an extract of Cinnamomum cassia has the ability to inhibit arginase, aiding the smooth muscles in the corpus cavernosum. Researchers have found that a cinnamon extract can “relaxed phenylephrine pre-contracted isolated rat CCSM up to 43% and significantly increased (P < 0.05) sexual function of young male rats. Treatment with the extract also increased smooth muscle level and decreased collagen level in rat penile tissue.” As mentioned above, increasing smooth muscle function and reducing the buildup of collagen in the penis is paramount for proper penis function.

It would take more concentrated, power-packed dosages of these natural medications for erectile dysfunction to restore a man’s erection, so eating more spiced up French toast isn’t going to necessarily restore function. The herb Scutellaria has been studied thoroughly to have similar results.

But these studies in a more natural approach to erectile dysfunction, as well as other problematic disorders, definitely represents a step in the right direction for western medicine. Natural remedies are prized for their reliability, efficacy, and perhaps above all, their lack of serious side effects, if any at all, so the future definitely looks bright for western medicine to make a shift to less impactful medications.

Your teeth, your heart, and erectile dysfunction

For those dealing with erectile dysfunction, their teeth are the last place they would think to look for the cause. However, as we’re discovering more and more each day the body is incredibly synergistic.

Studies have shown a link between chronic periodontitis, a disease of the mouth wherein the periodontal tissues are chronically inflamed, and erectile dysfunction.

Researchers conducting a meta-study of all erectile dysfunction studies uncovered a link between the two afflictions with relative ease, reporting that every study examined displayed a positive connection between the two.

The connection is so certain that researchers recommend that doctors treating patients for erectile dysfunction also refer their patients to a dentist for evaluation.

Further studies reveal that men with ED were as much as 79 percent more likely to have periodontal disease.

The cause is actually quite intuitive.

Chronic periodontal disease causes inflammation in the body, and chronic inflammation damages endothelial cells in the body. These are the cells that form the lining of every blood vessel in your body, including the penis.

Thus, chronic periodontal disease can lead to disrupted blood flow throughout the body, including the penis, and good blood flow is sort of a prerequisite for an erection.

The good news is that for most cases, and if caught early, periodontal disease is easily treatable, and unlike more severe causes of erectile dysfunction, can be reversed with a few good cleanings at the dentist’s office.

However, for those with more severe cases, surgery may be necessary in order to restore the gums to health and restore the effects, such as bone loss and pockets of bacteria.

Erectile dysfunction can be an indicator of a vast array of more serious ailments and can even reliably predict a cardiovascular episode like a heart attack, so don’t ignore the signs. If you see something, say something, and then head to the dentist and get those chompers looked at.

Finding out you’ve got erectile dysfunction is difficult enough, but finding out that this seemingly benign enough disorder can actually be a sign of worse things to come can be downright devastating news.

Well, unfortunately, this is exactly what some recent studies are discovering.

Researchers are finding that erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease (CVD) share some of the same risk factors, and frequently coexist. Studies show that 70 percent of men with cardiovascular disease also have erectile dysfunction.

While this information is somewhat disturbing, the real bombshell is that studies also show that “In addition, clinical studies have demonstrated that ED in men with no known CVD often precedes a CVD event by 2-5 years.”

This means that erectile dysfunction often comes before some sort of cardiovascular event like a heart attack. Cardiovascular disease is often related to plaque buildup in the arteries, and this same plaque buildup can cause erectile dysfunction. Thus, erectile dysfunction can “help provide a window of opportunity for CVD risk mitigation.”

Especially in men between the ages of 30 and 60, erectile dysfunction can alert doctors to the possible presence of CVD, and more importantly, provide an opportunity to prevent the impending CVD event.

While receiving the news that you’ve not only got erectile dysfunction and may also have cardiovascular disease is not pleasant, it can absolutely save your life, making the connections gleaned in these studies invaluable to millions of men across the globe.

Erectile dysfunction is not only harmful to your self-esteem, it can be an indication of a more serious issue, so it remains paramount that those suffering from erectile dysfunction closely monitor symptoms and duration, as it could lead to a cardiovascular episode.

Progesterone for Hair Loss

Progesterone for Hair Loss

Male pattern baldness

One of the last things a man wants to see as he gazes in the mirror is his hair falling out. But that is exactly the fate that awaits nearly every man on the planet at some point in life. Male pattern baldness (MPB), or androgenic alopecia as it’s scientifically referred to, is a fact of life for men, occurring as the body ages and the hair follicles begin to become ever less efficient.

While men are the primary sufferers of alopecia, women also experience hair loss, which can be particularly distressing them as it is not expected, but hair loss is difficult to deal with for either sex.

There are unfortunately many causes of hair loss, from poor diet to stress and even things like chronic disease and even medications you may take. However, the most prevalent and unavoidable type of baldness, male pattern baldness, is simply caused by genetics, and some men are predisposed to losing their hair at a younger age than others.

Just because male pattern baldness is genetic and inevitable in some cases, this doesn’t mean that scientists aren’t constantly working on ways to protect men’s hair longer and prevent early MPB. Among the treatments available, there are creams to rub on the hair, pills to ingest to help the hair follicle, shampoos, conditioners, and nearly every approach under the sun.

The problem with prescription hair loss medications, like other prescription medications, it is not without side-effects. Sometimes these side effects can turn out to be worse than the actual ailment. For instance, some of the side effects for a popular hair cream include severe irritation of the scalp, which can’t be great for hair follicles, unwanted growth of facial hair, which would be devastating for a woman using this medication.

Other side effects include chest pain and rapid heartbeat, swelling of the hands and feet, rapid weight gain, feeling lightheaded, headache, dizziness, confusion, flushing of the face, and many more effects that aren’t hair growth.

As we become more enlightened about what we put in and on our bodies, we’ve discovered that several natural treatments exist for hair loss that are as effective as the prescription medications, but much cheaper and without all of the intense unwelcomed side effects.

One such natural treatment for hair loss is rosemary oil. Studies show that rosemary oil works to regrow hair as well as the prescription medication Rogaine, with participants experiencing a significant increase in hair growth after 6 months of applying a rosemary oil to the scalp. And although applying oil to the scalp may not sound ideal to many due to the prospect of walking around with extremely oily hair, researchers also found that although it was an oil based product, rosemary oil applied to the scalp did not increase the instances of oily hair, dry hair, or dandruff.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil is a wonderful treatment for MPB, because it nourishes the hair follicle, and does so without generating any other unwanted effects in the body. The herbs Saw Palmetto and Singing Nettles should also be considered.

Another new, pseudo-holistic treatment for male pattern baldness being examined is the hormone progesterone. Yes, you read that correctly; the other half of the two most important female hormones may actually help men regrow hair.

Progesterone-Prometrium-chemical-structure

We tend to think of estrogen and progesterone as strictly female hormones, but the truth is that progesterone is not only found in men, but that men actually rely on it for their manliness, as it is a precursor to testosterone. Estrogen is also found in men, and steadily rises as men age and testosterone decreases.

Studies are underway and already showing great promise for progesterone as a safe, effective treatment for male pattern baldness. Researchers recently published a study on the effect of 11a-hydroxyprogesterone on the hair growth in men suffering from androgenetic alopecia.

Scientists tested 10 men suffering from androgenetic alopecia, each for the span of one calendar year, giving them a topical solution, in the form of a lotion, made of 1 percent 11a-hydroxyprogesterone. During the trial, researchers evaluated hair root status and health, hair shaft diameter of anagen hair roots, and the number of hairs with less than a 40 micron diameter.

Scientists

After the trial was complete, participants treated with the progesterone solution showed an increase in the number and mean hair shaft diameter of anagen hair roots. Hair growth occurs in three phases. Each follicle begins in what is called the anagen phase, a period lasting between 3 and 7 years in which the hair continually grows. This is followed by a 10 day period of transition called the catagen phase, during which time the hair does nothing. And finally, the last stage of hair growth is called the telogen phase, wherein the hair falls out.

The topical progesterone treatment was found to increase the number of hairs in their anagen phase, and decreased amounts of hair in their catagen phase, the transitional period between hair growth and hair release, i.e., falling out, which is the key to maintaining a full head of hair.

Your hair lives in a delicate balance between these different stages of growth. If it all hit each stage at once, it would eventually all fall out after a few years, at once, leaving you completely bald for a few days until it began to regrow.

The ideal state of hair growth is to have more follicles in the anagen phase than in the telogen phase, with more of it growing than falling out, and that is the promise that progesterone treatments seem to be making.

This study however concludes that the number of dysplastic/dystrophic hair roots –those which are dying or dead- remained unchanged, which isn’t all bad, because the amount of dysplastic/dystrophic hair roots in the control group –those who did not receive treatments- increased, signifying continuing progression into male pattern baldness.

Another study has upped the ante with a 2 to 5 percent progesterone concentration, with similar results. Researchers find that progesterone treatments are a reasonable approach to baldness, but there are limitations to any therapy.

The bottom line is that we live in a wonderful period in human history, and there are plenty of options to choose from when treating male pattern baldness and hair loss in general. Perhaps one day scientists will finally invent a device that heals the human body instantly, but until then, progesterone and other effective treatments for male pattern baldness exist and are effective.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction affects more than 30 million men in the United States alone. For those dealing with this depressing disorder, there are many more issues at hand than simply being unable to attain a suitable erection.

Most men suffering from erectile dysfunction will struggle with significantly reduced self-esteem, frustration, and in severe cases, serious depression. Research estimates that as many as one in five failed marriages is a result of ED.

Flavonoids, the compounds that give plants pigment, have long been identified as beneficial to health, with some sources declaring them the world’s healthiest foods. They are among the largest nutrient families known to man with over 6000 identified members. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants, helping prevent disease and providing anti-inflammatory benefits.

Adding to their long list of health benefits, this study concludes that “a higher intake of flavanones, anthocyanins, and flavones was significantly associated with a reduction in risk of ED only in men less than 70 years old and not older men.”

The data suggests that higher intake of flavonoid, which would be a diet high in fruits and vegetables can help prevent, and even reverse erectile dysfunction, as data suggests that “a higher habitual intake of specific flavonoid-rich foods is associated with reduced ED incidence.”

As with a surprisingly long list of ailments, diet and nutrition play an enormous role in health, and erectile dysfunction seems to be no different. A diet rich in fruits and veggies benefits much more than the penis, it leads to complete bodily health.

When it comes to getting well, we all want the latest and greatest treatments. But with some illnesses, sometimes the best overall treatment option is something that’s been tried and true.

Many doctors treat erectile dysfunction not by adding things, but by removing things from the patient’s life. Most often, lifestyle choices cause ED, so eliminating things like excessive drinking, smoking tobacco, and promoting techniques to lower blood pressure can help treat ED without medication.

Erectile dysfunction is one such type of disorder that doctors and researchers are looking to the past for new treatment options.

The proliferation of pharmaceutical designed treatment options for ED, including medications like phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors (Viagra, Cialis, Levitra), has led many to abandon traditional treatments; yet, traditional methods have been used with great success, especially in eastern medicine.

Certain plants and plant extracts, specifically those containing polyphenols, have displayed promising effects for ED. Among the useful polyphenols, a specific class called kraussianones have been found to be most effective for erectile dysfunction.

If you’re hesitant to try prescription medication for erectile dysfunction, certain ancient remedies, found in common foods, can be used as a first treatment option.

Saffron is one such food that has been found to help with ED. One study shows that treatments of 200mg of saffron can significantly increase “tip rigidity and tip tumescence as well as base rigidity and base tumescence” in as little as 10 days.

While there isn’t a lot of information on kraussianones, foods high in polyphenols are currently being used effectively to treat ED.

Remedies for Better Prostate Health

Remedies for Better Prostate Health

Calling all men…you have bodies which require maintenance too! In fact, men need to focus on their prostate health long before concerns arise due to healthy aging. Don’t take prostate health for granted! Most men will develop prostate concerns at some point in their lives, so good habits now serve as an investment to benefit your prostate in the long run.

Lifestyle recommendations for healthy prostate

  • Get moving. Being overweight increases your risk factors for developing prostate problems. Independent from weight, studies have shown that men who are physically active are less likely to develop prostate concerns. Even just two-to-three hours of walking each week helps.
  • Go red. Tomatoes are high in the antioxidant nutrient, lycopene, which supports prostate health. Cooking tomatoes with olive oil increases lycopene’s absorption and lycopene concentration is higher in canned tomato sauce and paste than whole tomatoes.
  • Go green. Drinking green tea daily and eating greens daily improve the health profile of your prostate. My favorite 5 greens are spinach, kale, watercress, Swiss chard, and arugula.
  • Get crunchy. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts support healthy hormone balance. Nuts and seeds pack a powerful prostate protecting punch due to their rich amounts of essential minerals and omega 3 fatty acids. Just a handful of nuts and or seeds twice a day can go a long way.
  • Go meatless. Recent studies have shown vegan diets to cut BPH and prostate cancer risk by 1/3, while pescatarian diets (adding in eggs, dairy, fish and shellfish) can cut risk by 1/4.
  • Get sun. Men with adequate Vitamin D levels maintain better prostate health. Expose your face, arms, hands, and legs to the sun for about 20-30 minutes several times each week to help ensure adequate vitamin D levels or take supplements.
Leafy Greens and Vegetables

The following supplements can also be useful to support prostate health:

  • Beta-sitosterol: Taking this plant-derived compound may support healthy urinary flow. The dose is 50-200mg per day.
  • Pumpkin seed oil: 1000 mg/day supports prostate health and urinary flow.
  • Nettle Root: may support healthy urinary volume and flow rate. A good dose would be between 100-500mg daily.
  • Saw palmetto extract: Helps limit the amount of testosterone that can bind in the prostate, thereby supporting prostate and urinary health.  A good dose would be between 320mg-640mg daily.
  • Pygeum africanum extract: Helps limit the amount of testosterone that can bind in the prostate, thereby supporting prostate and urinary health. A good dose would be between 100mg-250mg daily.

Prostate Tea Formula

Tea

First, let me explain why there are not many prostate teas on the market. Most of the herbs found helpful for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate symptoms are not easy to make teas due to where in the herbs the active ingredients are found. For instance, if the active ingredients are found in roots, seeds, or bark of a plant the tea requires a decoction in order to extract the herb’s beneficial compounds. On the other hand, if the active ingredients are found in the leaves, stems, flowers, or fruits then an infusion more typical of a tea preparation works well. For the most part, herbs helpful for prostate are found in roots, seeds, and bark.

Definitions

Decoction: The boiling of bark, roots, or seeds in water for 10-15 minutes to extract active ingredients.

Infusion: Soaking leaves, stems, fruits, or flowers in hot water for 10-15 minutes to extract active ingredients.

You CAN make a tea from the herbs, however it is a two step process. First, you boil any roots, bark, or seeds to make the decoction. You filter away the liquid and then make an infusion with the remaining liquid with any leaves, stem, fruits, and flowers.

All of this being said, the following herbs have all been researched for improving BPH symptoms and I have found them to be remarkably effective in treating BPH in my own male patients:

  • Pygeum africanum (Pygeum) –Bark
  • Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto) –Fruit
  • Panax ginseng (Red Ginseng) – Root
  • Urtica dioica (Stinging nettles) –Root or seed
  • Grifola frodosa (Maitake) – Mushroom
  • Uva ursi (uva ursi) – leaves and stems
  • Fouquieria splendens (ocotillo) – cactus
  • Seidlitza rosmarinus (type of rosemary) – leaves and stems
  • Epilobium parviflorum (small flowered willow) – flowers

The herbs can be mixed together in equal parts for decoction and the second combination in equal parts as well for the infusion. One tablespoon of mixed herb for the decoction per cup of water and one tablespoon of mixed herb for the infusion per cup of water. Obviously, you can make larger batches than just one cup at a time, just increase the amount of herbs to coincide with the increase in water. Store in the refrigerator and drink within 48 hours.

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