Erectile dysfunction comes at a high cost.
This sexual dysfunction comes at great expense to one’s physical, emotional, and psychosocial well-being when untreated. Despite these implications, studies show that up to 75% of men with erectile dysfunction (ED) do not seek treatment due to social stigma and the high cost of medications; the latter being a bigger deterrent for pursuing treatment.
According to Dr. Ajay Nangia of the University of Kansas Medical Center, while social stigma around erectile dysfunction has lessened, the price tag of most oral medication for the condition remains an issue. This, coupled with the reality that the drugs may not work for some men, has pushed many erectile dysfunction patients to search for alternative solutions.
Of these alternatives, one remains the most cost-effective. That is, to change the way one eats and exercises. This in turn has led to popular programs like ED Conqueror by Michael Steel that focuses on diet and nutrition as a way to control and eliminate ED. For more information on exactly how this program works, watch this video presentation.
But the question remains, can diet and exercise reverse erectile dysfunction?
On This Page You'll Find
- The Link Between Erectile Dysfunction, Diet, And Exercise
- Can Diet And Exercise Reverse Erectile Dysfunction?
- Lifestyle Changes Needed To Reverse Erectile Dysfunction
There are a number of causes for erectile dysfunction (i.e. stress, depression, hormonal imbalances, etc). However, atherosclerosis, the hardening and narrowing of arteries due to blockages caused by cholesterol deposits, is the most common cause.
How exactly does atherosclerosis affect erectile functioning? An erection occurs when the blood vessels that supply the penis dilate and allow a rush of blood into the area. High pressure then traps the blood and causes the penis to expand and sustain an erection. When a person has atherosclerosis, the ability of blood vessels to dilate is severely diminished. This condition affects the heart and all the blood vessels in the body, including those in the penis.
In fact, the relationship between atherosclerosis and erectile dysfunction is so intertwined that obesity, high alcohol intake, smoking, and lack of physical activity, have all been identified as major risk factors for both conditions. These findings are consistent with those published by the University of Adelaide in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, where researchers found that the conditions that make a person more likely to develop erectile dysfunction are more physical rather than psychological.
Aside from the inherent health problems posed by the condition’s risk factors, a Harvard Medical School Special Report on Erectile Dysfunction also found that ED is linked to more debilitating medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
Interestingly enough, according to both the Harvard report and the Journal of Sexual Medicine, barring pre-existing related medical conditions, these risk factors for erectile dysfunction can be controlled through a balanced diet and regular exercise.
Can Diet And Exercise Reverse Erectile Dysfunction?
Several studies show that the answer to this question is a resounding, “Yes!” That is, if these two lifestyle changes are done together.
An unhealthy diet high in saturated fat, omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (such as those found in vegetable oil), and added sugar is often faulted for obesity and the subsequent health problems it brings. While some studies suggest that doing high intensity interval exercise while on this diet can stave off erectile dysfunction, the same studies are doubtful as to whether exercise alone can reverse the condition. In the University of Adelaide study, the observed high remission rate for erectile dysfunction suggests it is indeed possible to reverse the condition when subjects commit to a healthier lifestyle through diet and exercise.
A study that involved collecting data from more than 800 randomly selected men aged 30-85 years old found that sexual function greatly improved when the subjects adopted healthy habits and an active lifestyle. Conversely, impotence was more prevalent among those whose health habits worsened during the 5-year study period.
Says lead author, Dr. Sean Martin, even when taking oral medication for erectile dysfunction, the effectiveness of the drugs is stronger when individuals eat a balanced diet, exercise more, drink less alcohol, smoke less, and sleep better.
Lifestyle Changes Needed To Reverse Erectile Dysfunction
While erectile dysfunction is more common in older men, it is not unheard of for this to happen to younger men who live very unhealthy lifestyles. Here are 5 lifestyle changes individuals can make whether they’re currently suffering from erectile dysfunction or are looking to avoid it:
1. Start Exercising
One Harvard study suggests that just half an hour of walking everyday can reduce the risk for erectile dysfunction by almost 40%. However, to effectively reverse erectile dysfunction, patients must engage in regular cardiovascular and strength training exercises that improve blood flow and burn unwanted body fat while retaining muscle mass. An active lifestyle is a key component in reducing obesity and reversing erectile dysfunction.
2. Eat A Balanced Diet
Food directly impacts erectile dysfunction. According to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, a diet high in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and fish can decrease the risk of erectile dysfunction. With the likelihood for erectile dysfunction being 50% higher in men with a 42-inch waist, a balanced diet along with an active lifestyle can help stave off or reverse erectile dysfunction.
3. Maintain A Regular Sleeping Schedule
Studies confirm a correlation between irregular sleeping patterns and decreased testosterone levels in men, which in turn is associated with sexual dysfunction. Irregular sleeping patterns negatively impact the release of signals for hormone secretion. To ensure the regular release of these signals, maintaining a consistent sleeping schedule is key.
4. Stop Smoking And Limit Drinking
To reverse erectile dysfunction, a cessation of smoking and limiting of alcohol consumption is necessary. As a major risk factor for atherosclerosis, smoking contributes to the narrowing and blockage of the blood vessels that supply the penis. On the other hand, consuming alcohol, a substance that suppresses the release of chemicals that are necessary for an erection, can lead to either temporary or long-term erectile dysfunction.
5. Keep Your Heart In Check
Considering the impact that poor heart health has on erectile functioning, it is important to address this issue to reverse the effects of erectile dysfunction. High levels of bad cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure all lead to poor heart and brain health. As discussed, these factors contribute greatly to diminished sexual functioning. To help reverse erectile dysfunction, individuals must consult with their physicians about making lifestyle changes or taking medications that improve cardiovascular health.
On the whole, research suggests that diet and exercise reduces the onset of factors that cause erectile dysfunction. When done alone or alongside an oral medication program, these two lifestyle choices have been found to greatly increase the chances for reversing the condition. While simple natural remedies will always garner opposition and foster debate, adopting these two habits poses great health benefits that go beyond just reversing erectile dysfunction.
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