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Erectile dysfunction is a devastatingly common complex problem.

Posted by Jane Jansen on

An estimated 18-20 million American men, age 20 and older have some degree of it.

Erectile Dysfunction affects more than half of American men over age 50, and with each passing decade, the incidence of ED increases by another 10%, so it can affect men age 70 and older, up to 70 percent.

For men with diabetes it tends to occur on average 10 to 15 years earlier, because they are at greater risk of developing arterial disease called atherosclerosis. Given the fact that more than 12 million men have type 2 diabetes, it is amazing the complication of erectile dysfunction is rarely discussed by most physicians.

Atherosclerosis causes ED 60% of the time in men. It is caused by a buildup of plaque on the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrition to the heart and other small blood vessels in the body. The plaque buildup restricts blood flow and poor blood flow is the number one cause of erectile dysfunction.

Because the blood vessels that carry blood flow to cause an erection are very small, even the smallest amount of obstructing plaque will present itself as a loss of sexual potency and therefore can be a significant indicator of a potential future heart attack or stroke.

Dr. John P. Cooke, M.D., Ph.D., head of Stanford University’s vascular unit states “The lining of the vessel is very important for cardiac health. When the endothelium is healthy it’s like Teflon, and things don’t stick. When it’s unhealthy, it becomes more like Velcro, attracting blood-borne gunk like flies to flypaper and a damaged endothelium doesn’t make enough Nitric Oxide, which results in more damage in an increasingly dangerous spiral.”

Nitric Oxide is also produced by the nerve cells in the erectile tissue of the penis, and also by the nerves in the brain. In order for the penile nerves to work properly and stimulate an erection, the blood vessels and the nerves must have enough Nitric Oxide to keep them in good working order.

Smoking not only damages the blood vessel linings, but it also causes constriction of the blood vessels within minutes of smoking just one cigarette.

Medications are the cause of ED 25% of the time in men. Some types of blood pressure medications can also cause erectile dysfunction. In particular diuretics like hydrochlorothiazide and beta blockers like atenolol are known offenders.

Other medications like anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, anti-histamines, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like Naproxen to name a few. So if you have ED, perhaps you need to check out your medications first, either with your pharmacist or online. I doubt your doctor will tell you or he/she would have warned you in the first place.

Next you need to improve your nitric oxide levels.

L-arginine is an amino acid that the body uses to make nitric oxide.

One study involved 50 men who took L-arginine 5,000 milligrams a day. The men who originally had low levels of nitric oxide, after six weeks of taking L-arginine experienced an improvement in sexual function compared with men taking the placebo. Be aware that L-arginine lowers blood pressure by raising the nitric oxide levels and therefore if you are on blood pressure medication you need to monitor your blood pressure daily. Generally it is recommended to start with 1000 mg 1x day (keep 1 hour from food) and gradually increase dosage. If blood pressure starts to drop, talk to your doctor about lowering your BP medication.

Resveratrol, derived from grape skins is also a powerful antioxidant that increases Nitric Oxide in the arteries by turning on the enzyme that helps make it. 

Alpha lipoic acid is powerful antioxidant that protects the endothelium.

Boswellia and Curcumin are potent natural herbs that specifically protects arteries and the endothelium from inflammatory damage.

Tribulus: More than nine clinical studies performed by six universities and academic hospitals on this purified extract have confirmed the herb's beneficial effect. These studies showed that Tribulus helps ED caused by low testosterone levels or an imbalance in the body's level of sex hormones. The active ingredient of Tribulus acts as a natural precursor to these hormones and is converted into its final forms by the body's own natural enzymes. It does not work immediately and may show positive effects after two to three months.

Tongkat Ali (TA), also known as Eurycoma Longifolia Jack is a medicinal plant shown to increase testosterone along with other health benefits. Several studies on humans and animals have examined TA as beneficial for male sexual disorders. It’s also shown to help increase energy levels, improve aging, reduce anxiety, provide stress relief and reduce the risk of certain cancers. TA is said to help men and women with lowered testosterone levels. A twelve-week study on 109 men examined the aphrodisiac effects of Tongkat Ali (TA). The men ranged from 30 to 55 years of age, half given 300mg fluid extract TA and remaining participants a placebo. Those men taking TA experienced higher scores in erectile function, libido, seminal fluid analysis, and sperm motility, and semen volume. 

DHEA cream (Twist 25)  Data suggests that low hormones account for 5 percent of erectile difficulties. However, many men do not have trouble with erections, but have low sex drive and energy and reduced stamina and strength. Many men also have problems with depression, insomnia and poor mood that can be helped with DHEA.

There are many other components including emotional and libido aspects that affect ED. The best way to address these concerns is through an appointment with your Holistic Practitioner.

Appointments (in-office or telephone) are available at the Tree of Life Wellness Center 508-336-4242.

Jane Jansen Holistic Practitioner

Host Holistic Healthline Radio


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