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Erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence, is the inability to achieve an erection. Erection occurs when the blood flow to the penis increases when a man becomes sexually aroused. Blood vessels going to the penis dilate, and blood fills the penis causing it to become engorged. This occurs via the secretion of a chemical called nitric oxide (NO). This will typically last until arousal is diminished, or orgasm is achieved. Many conditions can affect erection, especially conditions that can compromise blood flow to the penis. These include physical conditions such as diabetes and vascular disease. Psychological conditions may also have a bearing on the initiation and maintenance of an erection.

Erectile dysfunction is more prevalent than it may seem. It occurs to some degree in up to 40% of men 40 years old, and up to 67% in those age 70. It is a significant area of research for the pharmaceutical industry, with potential sales in the billions of dollars.  
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The first aids for ED were mechanical devices: vacuum pumps that draw blood into the penis and implantable balloons or rods. Viagra was the first prescription drug for ED, but it has significant side effects, and should not be used in people with heart disease. It is also exorbitantly expensive. Recently, more attention has been focused on natural and herbal remedies, which seem to be effective yet have fewer side effects. These will be discussed below.

Supplements Useful in the treatment of Erectile Dysfunction:

DHEA: A study looked at levels of DHEA in men over the age of 60. It was found that those with ED had lower levels of DHEA then in those without ED. Supplementation with DHEA at a dose of 50 mg daily improved symptoms of ED in a small group of patients with this disorder.

L-Arginine: This amino acid is a precursor to nitric oxide (NO). High dose arginine (5 grams per day given for 6 weeks) has been shown to improve erection in men with ED. It is generally safe and well tolerated. Doses of 3 grams per day also seem to be beneficial. Arginine at doses of up to 3 grams three times daily has beneficial effects on cardiac blood vessel reactivity. It also may improve cardiac function in those with congestive heart failure. Therefore, it is much safer than Viagra for treating ED, especially in patients with a history of heart disease.

Horny Goat Weed (Yin Yang Huo): This herbal agent derived its name from the observation that when goats were grazing on this weed, they became sexually aroused. It has several uses in Traditional Chinese Medicine, including impotence, involuntary ejaculation, fatigue, cardiac disease polio and hepatitis. It contains a number of active constituents, and some of those appear to have both hormonal and blood vessel dilating properties. There have been no human trials done published in English. The four available human studies have been published in Chinese. Three of these were done in people with kidney failure. The studies showed improvement in men with Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in 76% of cases in the study done on people with normal kidney function. The usual recommended dosage is 0.5 to 1.5 mg per day of a formulation standardized to 5% icariin flavonoid. Animal studies have shown it to be basically safe. TCM manuals indicate some side effects including dizziness, nausea, dry mouth and nosebleed.

Ginkgo Biloba: Ginkgo appears to help increase arterial blood flow, and may have a beneficial effect on sexual function in men with impotence. One study in men with ED secondary to medication revealed a 76% improvement in sexual function. The dosage used in this study was 200 mg per day in divided doses.

Muira Pauma Root: This is a shrub native to Brazil, and has a long history of use as an aphrodisiac. It reportedly improves libido as well as potency. An unpublished study from France reports that at a daily dose of 1 to 1.5 grams of the extract, 62 percent of patients with loss of libido had significant improvement while 51 percent of patients with ED felt that Muira pauma was of benefit.

Other herbs: Damiana and
ginseng have also been traditionally used for male erectile dysfunction, however this is based on traditional use, and no scientific studies have been performed. Yohimbe has been shown to marginally improve erectile dysfunction compared to placebo, however it is associated with significant side effects in people with hypertension and coronary artery disease, and it not be used in people with these medical problems.

                                                                                           (This article provided by VitaCost.com)


Wellness Plans for Sexual Health

  • Depending on the cause, conventional therapy may include psychological and behavioral counseling for impotence.
  • Avoid certain medications such as cimetidine, antihypertensives, and MAO inhibitors.
  • Avoid smoking and moderate alcohol intake.
  • Certain nutritional supplement and herbs may be helpful.

Recommended Supplements for Sexual Health (Click links above to purchase individual supplements from online stores)

(Essential in bold)

  Nutritional Supplements
  ? DHEA   ? L-Arginine
  Natural Food and Herbal Supplements
  ? Damiana   ? Gingko Biloba
  ? Ginseng   ? Horny Goat Weed
  ? Muira Pauma Root   ? Yohimbe


Read Related Links on Sexual Health

  1. Sexual Health (General) - a great resource links related to sexual health provided by the American Library of Medicine

  2. Reproductive Health (General) - a great resource links related to reproductive health provided by the American Library of Medicine

  3. Sexual Health: Common Questions for Couples - provided by Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

  4. Impotence: Learning the Causes and What You Can Do - provided by American Academy of family Physicians

  5. STDs: Common Symptoms & Tips on Prevention - provided by American Academy of family Physicians

  6. Genital Problems in Men: Self-Care Flowcharts - provided by American Academy of family Physicians

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Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical profession. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.  Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  Please review the Terms of Use before using this site.  Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use.



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