Sun | Sep 23, 2018

The facts about erectile disorder

Published:Thursday | April 9, 2015 | 12:00 AM

"The penis does not obey the order of its master, who tries to erect or shrink it at will, whereas instead the penis erects freely while its master is asleep. The penis must be said to have its own mind, by any stretch of the imagination."

- Leonardo da Vinci

MEN WHO have difficulty in achieving and maintaining an erection adequate to allow sexual intercourse are described as having erectile dysfunction, or ED.

More than 20 million American men admit to some degree of ED. According to the US National Institute of Health, most men experience occasional failure to achieve erection for a variety of reasons such as stress, drinking too much alcohol, or from being extremely tired. Failure to achieve erection less than 20 per cent of the time is not considered abnormal and treatment is not indicated. It gets worse as men age. It affects about 40 per cent of men in their 40s and 70 per cent of men in their 70s.

However, ED may indicate a much larger problem than just 'performance' difficulties. It may be an early indication of serious diseases like diabetes, heart disease and various other circulatory disorders. Research demonstrates that ED was often present before these other medical conditions were diagnosed. Experts now consider ED to be a very significant indicator of a man's cardiovascular health, and doctors are now advised to question all adult male patients about ED.

Despite the huge popularity of the Viagra family of drugs and the massive advertising campaign they enjoy, men need to realise that merely taking such drugs is not the ideal solution to their sexual problems. They should also be concerned with the side effects of these medications: colour blindness, headaches, flushing, heart problems, stroke and infertility. If you struggle with ED, have a medical check-up and consider a safer and more holistic approach to your condition.

Bad circulation

ED is often a circulation problem. So, in this article, I will focus primarily on this aspect of ED. The penis becomes erect when its sponge-like tissues are filled and engorged with blood. Commonly, ED is a reflection of a disturbance in blood flow, and this is what we mean when we talk about a circulation problem.

Improve your circulation:

Improve your nutrition and correct obesity. Poor nutrition with excess fat around the waistline greatly contributes to poor circulation. Increasing your intake of fresh vegetables and less sweet fruit, plus an adequate intake of healthy forms of protein while restricting your consumption of starch and sugar is the basic nutritional solution. The Cellular Nutrition Programme I recommend makes this easy to do.

Exercise regularly: Thirty minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week has been shown to improve both the circulation and sexual performance.

Add fish oil and antioxidants: The omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil as well as the antioxidants vitamin A, C, E and selenium significantly improve blood flow.

Take L-Arginine: Nobel Prize winner Dr Lois Ignaro proved that supplementing with the amino acid arginine caused the cells lining the blood vessels to produce increased amounts of an important molecule called nitric oxide. This results in increased blood flow to the tissues, including the penis. Dr Ignaro actually developed a natural incredible nitric oxide, generating product called niteworks marketed by Herbalife International.

Check your testosterone levels. This hormone is extremely important for the circulation, for sexual function, as well as many other critical bodily functions. From our mid-20s, men begin to experience a gradual decline in testosterone levels. A simple blood test will tell if your free testosterone level is low. This can be readily corrected with bio-identical hormone replacement along with specific lifestyle strategies. The benefits of a healthy testosterone level can be life-changing.

Use herbs: Many herbal supplements have been shown to improve erectile function. I would divide them into two groups. The first I call the general tonic herbs that are useful not just for sexual enhancement. These include - Siberian ginseng, guarana, schizandra, sarsaparilla, green tea, Swiss (wild) oats and pycnogenol. The others are more specific sexual enhancers - yohimbe, tribulus terrestris, muira puama, other ginsengs, ginkgo biloba, saw palmetto, damiana, ginger, ashwagandha, St John's wort and kava. This list is incomplete as I have included only those herbs that have been well documented.

Consider chelation therapy: Perhaps the most powerful therapy I have used to improve blood flow is intravenous chelation therapy. This should only be administered by a specially trained physician and involves an intravenous drip of a chelating agent called EDTA with a mixture of vitamins and minerals. Despite the disapproval of mainstream medicine, chelation therapy effectively reverses atherosclerosis and hardening of the arteries, conditions that contribute to ED. Extensive research on chelation therapy conducted under the supervision of the National Institute of Health has finally confirmed in 2013 the usefulness and safety of intravenous chelation therapy.

Finally, avoid the long list of drugs that cause ED like the many anti-hypertensive and antidepressant medications. Excess caffeine, alcohol and other recreational drugs may also contribute to ED.

n You may email Dr Vendryes at or listen to An Ounce of Prevention on POWER106FM on Fridays at 8:15 p.m. His latest book An Ounce of Prevention - Mainly for Men is available at or at 876-927-8871.