Erectile Dysfunction, unlike other conditions of the body, is often treated as something of a joke. In fact, there can be nothing more serious to a man’s sense of self-esteem and his relationships. Studies have found that 21% of relationship break-ups are as a result of erectile dysfunction and although men might hide behind the silence of embarrassment and shame, they are likely finding the condition insufferable.
Modern lifestyles make the chances of suffering erectile dysfunction much more likely. Alcohol and smoking are significant contributors, as they directly impact on the blood flow to important vessels. Also, obesity and sedentary work/ life routines impact on erectile dysfunction. Men with 42-inch waists are 50% more likely to suffer ED than those with 32-inch waists. The consequences of obesity might be a result of poor blood flow or it might be a result of poor self-esteem. Psychological factors in erectile dysfunction are even more challenging to the men involved and stress only exacerbates the issue, as a release of cortisol will magnify the symptoms.
What is important to realise is that Erectile Dysfunction does not necessarily need a medical intervention. Viagra might give us the needed boost to performance but it does nothing to help with our sense of virility and vitality. We want to perform well under our own steam and understand how we can complement our body’s processes. So, what can we do to improve our performance, naturally?
Remedy 1: Exercise, using protein supplements and BCAA amino acids to boost your gym performance.
Exercising more will help us lose weight, which in turn will reduce our chances of ED. Any form of exercise is better than none and will improve blood flow through the body. Blood flow to vessels is important to ensure a healthy erection. It will also help reduce the chance of heart disease and diabetes, both of which are contributory conditions to ED.
There are kegel exercises, which exercise the muscles in and around the urinary tract and the anal passage. These exercise directly work on the bulbo-cavernosus muscles that aids the erection.
Weight-bearing exercises are most effective because they boost the bodies excretion of testosterone, much needed for an effective erection. We can improve our performance in the gym by supplementing our work with whey-protein shakes and BCAA amino acids, which help the important recovery of muscles, which means you can train more.
A major lifestyle change is always more difficult than taking a single tablet. However, long term virility is only really ever guaranteed when we maintain a healthy body. Consider not only exercise but diet too; consider not only food but also your intake of vitamins and minerals. An audit of our life is an important first step and looking to a good multivitamin will certainly not hurt our overall health and therefore our ED by default.
Remedy 2: Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep deprivation is considered by 40% of men interviewed as the major contributor to ED. This is not surprising, as fatigue and poor concentration will do nothing to inspire a healthy sex drive. It could also be a result of an underlying depression or other psychological factors. In such cases it is important we talk to medical professionals to help us get to the core of the problem.
If insomnia is a problem in itself, then adhering to a natural sleep schedule could be a major step forward in solving our ED problems. Sleep hygiene is an important step in improving our mental health and in extension our performance in the bed. It can be as simple as setting an evening deadline on screen work: whether it is on a phone, a tablet or a laptop. It could be removing the TV from the bedroom.
However, there are natural sleep remedies you can take that will help. Magnesium, for instance, when taken at night can help you into a deeper, more refreshing sleep. You could also take Valerian, which is a sedative and will help you sleep more deeply. Insomnia is not the lack of sleep but the lack of quality sleep. Valerian will help you to get this sleep and therefore help your sense of general well-being.
Remedy 3: Look carefully at the side effects of your meds
In no way should you immediately stop taking important meds just to improve your ED. This would be irresponsible and potentially counter-productive, as the impact of heart disease, depression and diabetes are far more likely to cause you problems with your sex drive and performance. All meds should be reviewed by a professional and you often have to come off medication gradually.
Saying this, it is important to know that these meds have been linked to side effects that include ED:
- High blood pressure meds
- Some diuretics
- Beta blockers
- Heart meds
- Cholesterol meds
- Anti-psychotic drugs
- Hormone drugs
- Meds taken for pattern baldness
- And, more.
It may be worth doing some research into natural supplements and remedies that could replace some of these more caustic chemicals. However, this should be done in consultation with your doctor and with an understanding of the amount of the active ingredient in a supplement and its bioavailability – in other words – how much of the supplement will actually get to work to help with your health condition, whilst still help you fight the effects of ED.
Some of the more natural remedies for ED in particular are listed in the remaining remedies. These are natural occurring substances, with less chemical and more nature, which can help improve blood flow and therefore performance of the penis.
Remedy 4: Red Ginseng
Chinese herbal medicine might not be widely trialled or fully proven clinically, but it has been used by men through the centuries – time really is the best evidence of the success of a treatment – and it is known as the male remedy in China. Ginseng is believed to rid the body of unwanted cortisol and adrenalin, which are the unpleasant bi-products of a stressful life.
Known as the “herbal Viagra”, the root is steamed and dried and should be taken in 600 – 1000mg doses, three times a day. Yet, Ginseng comes in many forms and under many names. Some ginseng comes as a cream and can aid those of us with premature ejaculation. However, this has also been linked with insomnia, so you may need to counter this with Valerian, to help aid sleep.
One thing to be aware of is that the root is only effective if taken from a plant that has grown for more than five years. Check the label and do your research and make sure you get a product with the right amount of active ingredient: this is generally good advice with any health supplement. Be aware that the upper limit will be much higher than the RDA (recommended daily allowance), so you can take more if you feel you need to.
Remedy 5: L-arginine
L-arginine is an amino acid that is naturally present in the body and helps the body to make nitric oxide, which helps support an effective erection by stimulating the blood vessels. A study in 1999 showed how a high dose of 5 grams a day taken orally helped 31% of ED sufferers enjoy a significant improvement in sexual performance.
It is important that you do not mix L-arginine with Viagra, so it is best to consult a medical professional before taking this supplement. Also, the side effects can include nausea, cramps and diarrhoea: not the best ingredients for a romantic evening with a loved one. So, important relationship advice is to make sure the supplement is effective for you, before a vital moment.
Remedy 6: L-citrulline
L-citrulline is an amino acid that naturally occurs in watermelon and is found to improve blood flow to the penis. You can commit to eating a lot of watermelon, which might become a superb way of hinting to your significant other that you are hopeful of a good night, or you can buy this in supplement form and get the required dose more directly and effectively. Check the label for the active ingredient and the dosage.
Remedy 7: Yohimbe
Yohimbe is the bark from a west African evergreen tree. The active ingredient is an alkaloid with proven impact on blood flow, so medical experts see it as an obvious tool in the treatment of ED. It dilates the blood vessels and in turn lowers blood pressure. Yohimbe Hydrochloride is a prescription drug available in the US for treatment of impotence, but it is very closely regulated by the FDA.
We can purchase Yohimbe as a supplement. This might be useful for more than a direct treatment of ED. The supplement has been positively linked to weight loss for those who struggle with obesity and there have been studies to suggest that it helps with heart disease and depression. As stated, these health conditions can in themselves contribute to erectile dysfunction.
It is best to get your Yohimbe supplement from a trusted supplier. Some studies have shown that supplements can have as little as 7% active ingredient. It is unlikely that supplements with such low doses will work. Therefore, be sure that you get as much of the active ingredient as is possible from a supplement.
Remedy 8: Ginkgo Bilboa
This is again a remedy that comes from Chinese herbalism. It is derived from the maiden hair tree and helps with circulatory problems, low energy levels and fatigue. There has been research in Sweden that shows that the flavonoids in the leaves improves a sluggish circulation. Good blood flow is excellent for general health, as well as for your ED.
There was a clinical trial in 2014 showing that Ginkgo Bilboa was effective for 84% of whose suffering ED due to depression. The trial recommended a dose of 40 – 80mg three times a day.
You need to be careful with this supplement if you suffer blood disorders. As the aim of the supplement is to increase blood flow it can also increase bleeding. It might be worth seeking advice from a professional before taking the supplement.
Remedy 9: Hot, spicy food with a healthy twist
Cinnamon, ginger and cloves are all thought to literally warm up the blood. There is a reason why we flush whilst eating our favourite madras. Although there is no clinical trial to say that eating spicy food will help with ED, these spices have been an aphrodisiac for centuries.
There is a caveat to this open invitation to Chinese and Indian takeaway for the rest of your life! You knew life couldn’t be this kind, didn’t you? Many scientists claim that a healthy balanced diet, filled with vegetables, fruit, fish and whole grains – with fewer portions of red meat and processed grains – is one of the most powerful treatments to erectile dysfunction. So, go for the spicy option, but possibly in wholesome home-cooked food where the amount of natural ingredients massively outweighs the processed food you use in preparation.
Remedy 10: Horny Goat Weed
So, I included this just for the comedy value of its name! So, what? I know I said ED wasn’t a laughing matter but I didn’t say we had to let humour die. In actual fact, Epimedium (the official name of the weed) is said to be very effective in getting animals performance rates up, particularly goats, I guess. There is a substance in the leaves that improves the natural drive of animals. There have been no human trials of the supplement and therefore a lack of data on the possible side-effects. So, maybe this needs a little more research before we try to be more goat.
The FDA have removed a lot of herbal Viagra treatments from the market because of fears that they are harmful to our health. Some troublesome supplements do still make it to the market and because of this the FDA rightly urge caution when taking any supplement that works on your blood flow or might work in contradiction to other meds that you take. As always, the best advice is a healthy balanced diet with a good exercise regimen. The next best advice is to always buy any supplements from a reputable supplier and seek help from a medic, just to be sure. Or, maybe the best advice is really to do a little of all of these things to make progress towards a healthier sex life.