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GRADUATE OF THE INSTITUTE
FOR FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE'S CERTIFICATION PROGRAM

 


Men's Health

Natural Approach for Erectile Disorder

Chronic stress, environmental pollutants, and countless of other burdens are eroding away health and sexuality. Due to the cumulative burdens generated by our modern existence, 1 in 4 men at the age of 30 now has low testosterone levels. This makes it difficult to survive, let alone thrive, when the very hormone that helps support inner health is decreasing.


Overt symptoms of low testosterone are affecting 50% of men with measurable low levels. The decrease in testosterone levels is gradual over a long period of time and most men do not notice the slow decrease in sex drive, diminished erectile strength, sleep disturbance, depressed mood, or lethargy. It is well known that testosterone levels decline with the passage of time, and most men passively accept the aging process and deterioration of performance.

 

Enhancing Male Performance
Erectile dysfunction affects 50% of men ages 40-70 in the United States. Many men in their late twenties and early 30s experience decreased erectile performance or overt inability to perform. These changes are symptoms of deeper health needs and serve as a barometer of one’s overall health status. It is important to acknowledge that maintaining healthy cardiovascular, neurological and mental wellness is also important for peak performance.

 

Natural Libido-Enhancing Treatment
Libido and pelvic responsiveness in both the male and female share many of the same biochemical pathways. Thus, much of what follows possesses relevance for both sexes. A number of natural ingredients have been shown to affect the pathways involved in enhancing libido and improving sexual performance. Epimedium brevicornum 1-2,Tribulus terrestris 3-5, Panax ginseng, Ashwaghanda, grape seed extract, Eurycoma longifolia, pomegranate and green tea extracts, which together have a synergistic role, helping men operate at peak performance.


Epimedium brevicornum — has been widely used for impotence, infertility, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, amnesia, and senile functional diseases.1 It supports nitric oxide levels (which are essential for arousal and erectile tissue engorgement), and  relaxes the smooth muscle.2  Epimedium can prove very helpful as part of a male wellness protocol, relative to enhanced sexual performance.


Tribulus terrestris — animal studies have shown that Tribulus extract seems to possess aphrodisiac activity probably due to its androgen increasing property.3-5 Tribulus also is known to decrease levels of prolactin in women, which is important since increased prolactin is associated with reduced libido.6


Panax ginseng — has long been used to support adrenal gland function and thus help cope with stress, which can affect sexual performance. Panax increases circulation as well as nitric oxide production, thus inducing muscle relaxation.7-9 In a human study, patients reported significant improvement in erectile parameters such as penile rigidity, girth, duration of erection, and improved libido.  The overall therapeutic efficacy for erectile dysfunction was 60% in the Panax ginseng group but only 30% for the trazodone and placebo groups.10-11


Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) — has been used to support adrenal health. Stressed patients routinely report noticing an increased sense of well-being with its use. Animal study demonstrated the positive effects of Withania somnifera and Panax ginseng combination on chronic stress signs and symptoms . Together, those two botanicals reduce stress-induced ulcers, reduced the inhibitory effects of stress on male sexual behavior, improved retention of learned tasks, reversed stress-induced immunosuppression.12


Grape Seed Extract — epidemiological studies suggest that the regular consumption of foods and beverages rich in flavonoids is associated with a reduction in the risk of several pathological conditions ranging from hypertension to coronary heart disease, stroke and dementia. Grape seed is one of the major polyphenols shown to support healthy blood pressure levels due to its ability to raise nitric oxide levels in humans.13 As stated before, nitric oxide is essential for arousal and erectile tissue engorgement.14-15


Eurycoma longifolia — in animal study, extracts from E. longifolia Jack were orally administered to rats twice daily for 10 days. Results showed that E. longifolia Jack produced a dose-dependent increase in sexual performance of the treated animals. The authors reported, “The present study therefore gives further evidence of the folk use of E. longifolia as an aphrodisiac.”16


Pomegranate Extract — used in a rabbit model study, Pomegranate juice, researchers demonstrated significantly increased intracavernous blood flow and smooth muscle relaxation.17 These findings are preliminary, yet the results are promising.  Also, pomegranate can block the conversion of testosterone to estrogen (60-80%), thus helping protect estrogen sensitive tissues including prostate and breast tissue.18


Green Tea Extract — is another nutrient important for male health, which was shown to inhibit the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in vitro and animal studies.19-20 This effect can play a role in libido enhancement and overall male health.


Antioxidant Protection — Antioxidant therapy is important for overall wellness and can prove useful prophylactic tool for preventing smooth muscle dysfunction and fibrosis in ED. Accumulation of unquenched oxidative products in erectile tissue induces and aggravates ED.21 Many of the ingredients mentioned above, such as grape seed and pomegranate, also act as potent antioxidants.

Optimum sexual functioning depends on a strong and well-nourished body that provides the ability to attain or maintain an erection. Together, all the ingredients mentioned above provide synergistic support for optimal male performance. If interested in a natural approach to erectile dysfunction, contact our office at 909-478-1100.

 

References

  1. Li HB, Chen F. Separation and purification of epimedin A, B, C, and icariin from the medicinal herb Epimedium brevicornum maxim by dual-mode HSCCC. J Chromatogr Sci. 2009; 47(5):337-40.
  2. Chiu JH, Chen KK, Chien TM, Chiou WF, Chen CC, Wang JY, Lui WY, Wu CW Epimedium brevicornum Maxim extract relaxes rabbit corpus cavernosum through multitargets on nitric oxide/cyclic guanosine monophosphate signaling pathway. Int J Impot Res. 2006 Jul-Aug;18(4):335-42.
  3. Gauthaman K, Adaikan PG, Prasad RN. Aphrodisiac properties of Tribulus Terrestris extract (Protodioscin) in normal and castrated rats. Life Sci. 2002 Aug 9;71(12):1385-96.
  4. Gauthaman K, Ganesan AP, Prasad RN. Sexual effects of puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris) extract (protodioscin): an evaluation using a rat model. J Altern Complement Med.. 2003 Apr;9(2):257-65.
  5. Gauthaman K, Ganesan AP. The hormonal effects of Tribulus terrestris and its role in the management of male erectile dysfunction—an evaluation using primates, rabbit and rat. Phytomedicine. 2008 Jan;15(1-2):44-54.
  6. Dean W. The Neuroendocrine Theory of Aging Chapter 5. The Female Reproductive Homeostat. Vitamin Research News. December 1, 2005; 19(11).
  7. Chen X, et al. Extracts of Ginkgo bilobaand ginsenoside exert cerebral vasodilation via a nitric oxide pathway. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 1997;24:958–959.
  8. Choi YD, Xin ZC, Choi HK. Effect of Korean red ginseng on the rabbit corpus cavernosal smooth muscle. Int J Impot Res. 1998;10:37-43.
  9. Kim HJ, Woo DS, Lee G, Kim JJ. The relaxation effects of ginseng saponin in rabbit corporal smooth muscle: is it a nitric oxide donor? Br J Urol. 1998;82:744-748.
  10. Choi HK, Seong DH, Rha KH. Clinical efficacy of Korean red ginseng for erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res. 1995;7:181-186.
  11. Hong B, Ji YH, Hong JH, et al. A double-blind crossover study evaluating the efficacy of Korean red ginseng in patients with erectile dysfunction: a preliminary report. J Urol. 2002;168:2070-2073.
  12. Bhattarcharya SK, Muruganandam AV. Adaptogenic activity of Withania somnifera: an experimental study using a rat model of chronic stress. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2003;75:547-53.
  13. Ghosh D, Scheepens A. Vascular action of polyphenols. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009 Mar;53(3):322-31.
  14. Edirisinghe I, Burton-Freeman B, Tissa Kappagoda C. Mechanism of the endothelium-dependent relaxation evoked by a grape seed extract. Clin Sci (Lond). 2008 Feb;114(4):331-7.
  15. Zhang TX, Niu CQ, Hu JM, Liu H, Jing HE. Vasorelaxational effects of procyanidins on rabbit aorta in vitro and decreasing arterial blood pressure in vivo. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2008 Jul;33(14):1720-3.
  16. Ang HH, Cheang HS, Yusof AP. Effects of Eurycoma longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali) on the initiation of sexual performance of inexperienced castrated male rats. Exp Anim. 2000 Jan;49(1):35-8.
  17. Azadzoi K, Schulman R, Aviram M, Siroky M. Oxidative Stress in Arteriogenic Erectile Dysfunction: Prophylatic Role of Antioxidants  The Journal of Urology, 2005(174) 1:386-393.
  18. Kim ND, Mehta R, Yu W, et al. Chemopreventive and adjuvant therapeutic potential of pomegranate (Punica granatum) for human breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat. Feb 2002;71(3):203-217.
  19. Monteiro R, Azevedo I, Calhau C. Modulation of aromatase activity by diet polyphenolic compounds. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 May 17;54(10):3535-40.
  20. Satoh K, Sakamoto Y, Ogata A, Nagai F, Mikuriya H, Numazawa M, Yamada K, Aoki N. Inhibition of aromatase activity by green tea extract catechins and their endocrinological effects of oral administration in rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2002 Jul;40(7):925-33.
  21. Azadzoi KM, Schulman RN, Aviram M, Siroky MB. Oxidative stress in arteriogenic erectile dysfunction: prophylactic role of antioxidants. J Urol 2005;174:386-393.