In western medicine, we often look for a simple cure to anything that ails us. We get sick, we take a pill. We have pain, we take a pill. We have ED, we take a pill. The problem is, real health care is often far more entangled and involved than that. The factors that can cause us health problems may pose no threat on their own, but when piled up on each other, in combination, this multiplied effect can reach the tipping point and cause some frustrating medical issues.
Dealing with ED is no different. The little stresses of life we subject our bodies to, all take their toll on our penis and its ability to function. After too much abuse, our body signals that it is giving up the fight. An holistic, lifestyle approach to treating ED can help the recovery and maintenance of a functioning penis.
The chemistry of an erection is amazing. It begins with the fragile molecule, Nitric Oxide (NO), which signals the muscles lining the blood vessels of the penis to relax and let blood engorge the penis. NO is a molecule with unbalanced electrons – that means that it will breakdown instantly with certain other molecules. The production and stability of NO relies on antioxidants to protect it so that it has time to deliver its effect before it breaks down (in less than a few seconds). Amazingly, almost every aspect of our lifestyle affects the production and function of NO as well as the presence of antioxidants to protect it.
When it comes to penises, size does not matter. When it comes to waist lines, size really does matter. Being overweight or obese is one of the worst things you can do to your penis. First of all, men tend to accumulate fat in their lower abdomen and in the pubic area at the base of the penis. As this pad of fat increases, available square footage of penis decreases. For every 15 pounds of extra fat, you lose ½ inch of penis. That’s just the beginning.
One of the byproducts of being overweight is insulin resistance. Even if not diabetic, the overweight man has created an environment where his body is not able to respond to insulin as it should. Insulin is a primary stimulator of NO production. Lower insulin response equals lower NO! Higher sugar levels of overweight men also impair NO production.
Point 1: Lose Weight!
According to a recent study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research, the most important lifestyle factor influencing ED is exercise – both whole body exercise and penile exercise. It has been shown that a sedentary lifestyle increases ED by 2-10 fold, whereas moderate activity has been reported to reduce ED by 60% and high activity by over 80%. Physical exercise causes increased NO production throughout the whole body. Exercise also increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin (seeing a pattern here?).
Sadly, systemic bodily exercise does not increase blood flow to the penis. Gladly, the penis must be exercised as well. Regular stimulation that induces erections will increase the presence of NO in the penis as well as improve the penile response to it.
Point 2: Exercise helps create healthy erections.
Most of us tend to think of stress as feeling as if there’s too much to do and too little time to do it – too much on our plate! But stress is actually a very complex combination of physical and psychological interactions. At its most basic level, stress is the body anticipating the need for extra energy. This means everything from the highest level (panic, fury), the middle level (frustration, deadlines) to the lowest level (lack of sleep, not eating, worry). Your body’s response to every level is to pump adrenaline into your system as well as pump sugar into your blood stream for extra energy (remember insulin resistance?). This is the fight-or-flight response you hear about.
The major sexual aspect of stress is that adrenaline is what keeps your penis flaccid on a daily basis. So, even the smallest amount of worry or stress is going to pump adrenaline into your system, which will instantly kill an erection.
Point 3: Managing stress is key to your sexual health.
Reduce Fat Intake
Fat causes blood vessels to become inflamed. This inflammation greatly reduces the effect of NO. Fat in the blood stream increases oxidation – which breaks down NO. Fat reduces the effects of insulin. A high fat meal can also render the effects of Viagra completely useless. Fat increases cholesterol which can clog the tiny arteries of the penis.
Fat makes you fat! (remember the weight control issue?)
So, how is all this sounding? Those French fries may taste great going down, but are they worth making sex more difficult?
Point 4: Cut out fat in your diet.
Reduce Sugar Intake
Sugar levels in your blood are directly related to Insulin levels and creating insulin resistance. Higher sugar levels also raise oxidation levels which break down nitric oxide.
Sugar makes you fat. Can you really justify that candy bar if it’s going to ruin an erection?
Point 5: Reduce sugar in your diet.
Ready for the next 5 lifestyle changes. Read 10 Lifestyle Changes That Help Erase Erectile Dysfunction – Part 2