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.
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.
The study was conducted on 40 men aged between 25 and 45 years old. For three months participants were treated with a solution containing the equivalent of 1.7g of L-arginine alone, with discouraging results.
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.
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.