RISE TO THE OCCASION
Erectile dysfunction is a hidden menace to many men today. Many have turned to herbs, supplements and even Viagra on advice of unprofessional individuals and friends. Erectile dysfunction can be caused by improperly treated STD’s, weak pelvic muscles, deficiencies in some nutrients such as vitamin D among others. Some drugs like Viagra could help on the short term but they cause dependence on the long term. Dietary and lifestyle adjustment, appropriate exercise and herbal supplements help better and provide permanent solution to erectile dysfunction.
Let’s see some long term solutions.
Recent Discovery (Vitamin D):
The list of possible causes of erectile dysfunction is long, yet one option is often overlooked, until recently. The results of numerous studies have indicated that vitamin D deficiency is linked to erectile dysfunction. If that’s the case, men who are living with this sexual challenge can take immediate action to help remedy this problem by taking vitamin D supplements. First, however, you should determine your vitamin D status to see if you have a deficiency.
Could vitamin D deficiency be causing your erectile dysfunction?
Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are common around the world.Deficiency of vitamin D(levels of 20 ng/mL or lower) has been reported in more than 80 percent of some adult populations. TheVitamin D Councilrecommends a level of 40 to 80 ng/mL as healthy. If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, you should talk to your doctor about having a blood test to determine your vitamin D levels.
What do studies say about vitamin D deficiency and erectile dysfunction?
In one recent study, the investigators noted that endothelial dysfunction is a major player in erectile dysfunction. This is a condition in which the endothelium (the inner lining of blood vessels) is in a state of imbalance and can result from and/or contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes, septic shock, and high cholesterol, or it can result from smoking, exposure to air pollution, and other environmental factors.
Since it’s known that a deficiency of vitamin D promotes endothelial dysfunction, correcting the deficiency could be a positive step toward helping men who have erectile dysfunction (ED). Therefore, a team decided to evaluate the role of vitamin D in 143 men: 50 who had arteriogenic ED, 28 with borderline ED, and 65 with non-arteriogenic ED.
Arteriogenic ED is when the arteries do not supply enough blood to the penis to allow for an erection. This can be caused by various factors, such as narrowing of the arteries, diabetes, or injury to the penile artery.
What about vitamin D deficiency, ED, and diabetes?
We already know that diabetes is a risk factor for ED, since it involves a reduction in endothelial function. A 2016studylooked at the relationship between vitamin D levels, erectile dysfunction, and vascular disease in 2 men with type 2 diabetes. After extensive evaluation, the experts demonstrated a “significant association” between vitamin D deficiency and erectile dysfunction in men with type 2 diabetes, and they believe it may be due to the impact of the deficiency on testosterone levels, endothelial dysfunction, and cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglycerides).
If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, it’s important to ask your doctor for a simple blood test to determine your vitamin D levels. How much vitamin D should you take?That’s a question you should discuss with a knowledgeable health professional who considers your personal needs. Adequatevitamin D supplementationcould be the answer you are looking for.
Studies indicate that antioxidant compounds called flavonoids help improve cardiovascular health by increasing blood flow and the concentration of nitric oxide in the blood. Chocolate, particularly the dark variety, is rich in flavonoids. Milk chocolate is lower in flavonoids and contains higher amounts of sugar and fat.
Reach for Watermelon
This favorite picnic fruit may actually improve your sexual function. Research from Texas A&M University found a connection between watermelon and ED. A compound found in the fruit called citrulline helps to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow, much like ED medications do.
What About Herbal Supplements?
Using herbal supplements to treat any condition is controversial, as their efficacy and safety are not always rigorously investigated. There are a few herbs, however, that have shown promise in treating ED. According to the Mayo Clinic, the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) has been shown to improve libido in women and to help with ED in men. L-arginine, an amino acid, may help widen blood vessels to improve blood flow but side effects like nausea and diarrhea are associated with it. Ginseng also has been shown to help improve ED. Always speak with a professional before trying any supplement.
Leafy green vegetables, like bitter leaf, ugu, scent leaf and spinach, may increase circulation because of their high concentration of nitrates. Beet juice has been found to be high in nitrates. Nitrates are vasodilators, which means they open up blood vessels and increase blood flow. The ED drugs used today are based on the relaxing effects of nitrates on the blood vessels that supply the penis.
Pay attention to your vascular health. High blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides can all damage arteries in the heart (causing heart attack), in the brain (causing stroke), and leading to the penis (causing ED). Low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and obessity also contribute. Check with a doctor to find out if your vascular system — and thus your heart, brain, and penis — is in good shape or needs a tune-up through lifestyle changes and, if necessary, medications.
A strong pelvic floor enhances rigidity during erections and helps keep blood from leaving the penis by pressing on a key vein. A three months of twice-daily sets of Kegel exercises (which strengthen these muscles), combined with biofeedback and adjustment on lifestyle changes — quitting smoking, losing weight, limiting alcohol — works far better than just advice on lifestyle changes. But do not expect to see immediate improvement, these adjustments gently heal you, thereby making it more permanent. Continue for a period of two to three months and you won’t regret it!
Barassi A et al .Vitamin D and erectile dysfunction.Journal of Sexual Medicine2014 Nov; 11(11): 2709-800
Caretta N et al. Hypovitaminosis D is associated with erectile dysfunction in type 2 diabetes.Endocrine2016 Jan 12 Epub ahead of print