How to Improve Your Sexual Health?
For almost 20 years I have been publishing medical articles and lecturing on what works and what is worthless from A to Z for multiple health conditions including male sexual health; and, let me tell you that this topic never seems to get old. It is completely practical to enhance your sex life through diet, lifestyle changes or supplements, as long as the supplements are verified as safe. But tread carefully as there is a lot of junk treatment out there too -- enough to get lost in. From fad diets to alternative medicines for male sexual health, we are going to sort out the facts from the fiction and provide you with an understanding of why it things do/donít work.
Backgrounder: Heart Healthy = Penis Healthy
There is no more direct way to state this fact -- Doctors like to say that the penis is the barometer of a manís health and this is very true. To understand this statement you only need to look as far as a coffee stirrer. Why? A coffee stirrer or small straw only has an opening of only a few millimeters and this is the exact size of the blood vessels that feed your sexual organs. The blood vessels that feed your heart are much larger than this and the blood vessels that go from your neck to your brain are even bigger. So, when heart disease develops early or someone is not adhering to a heart healthy lifestyle, then these effects tend to manifest in the sexual organs first because they have smaller and more vulnerable blood vessels. To illustrate with an example, it is easier to obstruct the flow of water through a coffee stirrer than a jumbo straw. This is why a young man with sexual dysfunction may also get referred to a cardiologist by their primary care doctor just to be sure all the pipes or vessels of the body are clean, and not plugged.
Remember, cardiovascular disease IS the number one killer of men. So, if you want to keep your penis healthy and your overall health at optimal levels, do everything possible to keep your cardiovascular risk to as close to zero as possible. This in turn will reduce your risk of male sexual dysfunction. Nearly everything that increases your risk of heart disease also hurts your sexual organs. High cholesterol? Yup! High blood pressure? Of course! Tobacco use? For sure! Lack of exercise? Yes! Weight gain? no surprise!...And the list goes on. Heart Healthy = Penis Healthy.
Several studies on men adopting Mediterranean diets have demonstrated a clear link that it can improve your sexual health. It is a general assumption that all types of heart healthy diets have this ability but most of the research has been on the olive oil and fish rich diets of individuals in the Mediterranean. Almost everything in these diets is heart healthy: moderate or no alcohol (sorry folks), healthy fats like olive oil and fish, fruits and veggies, lean meats, increased fiber intake and whole grains.
A study published in a prestigious medical journal in 2011 demonstrated that when men with sexual dysfunction were placed on a diet which included 100 grams of pistachio nuts (slightly less than 1 cup) for three weeks, their cholesterol levels were reduced and many aspects of their sexual health improved. This is likely because Pistachio nuts are high in monounsaturated fat (like olive oil), protein (20 grams per 100 grams), potassium and are generally low in sodium and have no cholesterol. Pistachio nuts also have phytosterols and a good deal of fiber (10 grams per 100 grams); they even have some arginine -- the compound that can be converted to nitric oxide (NO) in the body that can help open up some blood vessels. Men in this study also experienced a decrease in their blood thickness, which means there was an improvement in blood flow! Of course this does not mean that you should start eating 100 grams of pistachio nuts daily (that is over 500 calories), but it does suggest that increasing your consumption of nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachio, etc.) and using them regularly as a replacement for something more unhealthy in your diet (the high calorie chips and cookies for example) is a smart move.
Get enough sleep
In 2011, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), arguably one of the top five most notable medical journals in the world, published a study about men (from the University of Chicago) who regularly received adequate sleep and then had their sleep reduced to five hours a night for about one week. What they found was about a 10-15% reduction in testosterone levels after this small reduction in sleep. This is important to note because testosterone can help many men maintain adequate sexual health including sex drive and erectile function. This small reduction in testosterone after a slight reduction in sleep is significant and doctors have even started recommending a full 7-8 hours of sleep a night as a form of treatment for sexual dysfunction.
Purified Korean Red Ginseng or Panax Ginseng (KRG or PPG)
Iíve done a lot of work with Korean Red ginseng. Whatís exciting about this particular form of ginseng -- that might be lacking in other supplement categories -- is that there are more than 15 years of clinical trials behind it; more than any other compound in the history of male sexual health supplements. It seems that KPG/PPG increases sex drive and sexual function by exerting its influence in your brain in addition to your sexual organs, which is a good thing. And, there is recent evidence to suggest it can also improve energy levels and may improve cognition, brain health and perhaps memory. And best of all, it has a fabulous safety record. In fact, the only problem with buying KPG/PPG in the U.S. is that there is no real guarantee of quality control or adequate standardization of the active ingredients. This is comparable to taking the bark off a willow tree (where aspirin was first found) and chewing on it, hoping it might reduce your headache or risk of a heart attack Ė it would not be very effective. Many herbal products do have active ingredients that are of genuine help to people, but unfortunately herbal products do not isolate those active helpful ingredients.
High doses of Zinc and Yohimbe bark
There is a lot of public information available on the benefits of Zinc and public wisdom argues for regular, large doses. But this advice is misinformed. In fact, only moderate doses of Zinc (10-30 mg) are healthy for you and very large doses of Zinc can actually be unhealthy for your prostate and your sexual health. A study from Harvard found that when men took high doses of zinc supplements for many years, they significantly increased their risk for prostate complications which in turn had a profound impact on their sex life.
As for Yohimbe bark, in 1998, the Journal of Urology published a positive review of past studies done on Yohimbine HCL, a prescription drug isolated from Yohimbe bark, for erectile dysfunction. Since then, there has been an explosion of products featuring Yohimbe bark. This sounds like a great option but the main problem, however, is that most male sexual health products that advertise Yohimbe bark as a principal ingredient have been found to have little to no active ingredient. The reality is that you are better off taking prescription drugs than trying to get treatment from most products offering Yohimbe bark.
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