I don't think anything strikes a man harder than the inability to have sex. Sadly, unless you take action now to prevent it, the odds are that it will happen to you – especially after age 50. A research team recently questioned 31,742 men about their sexual performance. The study found that erectile dysfunction (ED) was reported by less than 2% of men under 40 and 4% of men between 40 and 50.
But after that, the numbers skyrocket. Nearly 40% of men between the ages of 50-69 reported ED. Worse still, 61% of men over 70 reported suffering from ED. The good news is you don’t need Viagra or Cialis to enjoy great sex into your 70s and beyond.
It should come as no surprise that smoking and obesity are strongly associated with ED. But the biggest warning is for those who watch a lot of TV. Men who watch more than 20 hours per week significantly increase their risk of ED. So that means the first cure for ED isn’t very exciting – but it works. And I’ve got a way to make it more fun.
Men who remain physically active report ED problems 30% less often than men who don't exercise at all.
If this doesn't convince you to turn off the tube and get active, I don't know what will!
The study defined being physically active as the equivalent of running three or more hours or playing five hours of tennis each week.
But there's an even better way to use exercise to banish erectile dysfunction – and it’s more fun. Ride a bike!
That's right. That old wives' tale about bike seats making men impotent is bunk. And the science proves it.
A group of researchers at the Lancisi Heart Institute in Italy assessed the impact of regular cycling on the sexual activity of men who suffered from impotence.
They divided the men into two groups. One group rode stationary bikes for 40 minutes, three times a week. The other group didn't exercise at all.
The researchers followed sexual improvement using questionnaires completed by patients and their partners. After eight weeks, the scores were tallied. Participants reported a 76.8% increase in their sexual activity. Even better, their partners reported a whopping 97.2% increase. The wives reported better scores than the men! How's that for evidence?
The researchers noted that there were no side effects “whatsoever.” You can't say that about Viagra.
Listen, my male patients who exercise consistently report the most satisfying sex lives. Viagra definitely takes a back seat to free exercise. But there’s more to bike riding.
It appears that biking may even be more specific to help men with impotence. By exercising the upper leg and pelvic muscles, you can achieve better blood flow to the penis, enabling more functional erections.
What’s more, you don't need an expensive mountain bike and you don’t even need to go outside. You can pick up a used stationary bike at a yard sale and ride it for 30-40 minutes a day (or however much you can safely tolerate). You'll not only improve your sex life, but all of your circulation as well. Go for it!
Herbal Combination Improves Erectile Dysfunction and Low Libido
The second cure for ED is an herbal combination that can work miracles for some men. It worked so well in this study that it didn’t just improve ED, it also improved their overall sexual experience. The results of this study could change your life.
The study looked at the effect of a special mixture of extracts of the plant tribulus terrestris. The mixture is sold as Tribestan®. To do the study, researchers enlisted the help of 180 men between the ages of 18 and 65 years with mild or moderate erectile dysfunction, and with or without complaints of low libido. Some of the men also had high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. For three months, they gave half of the men three capsules of Tribestan twice a day. They gave the other men a placebo.
At the end of each month, the researchers measured sexual function using the International Index of Erectile Function questionnaire (IIEF) and the Global Efficacy Question (GEQ). The IIEF score improved significantly in the Tribestan group. In fact, the scores in the men taking the Tribestan were almost three times better than the men taking the placebo. Not surprisingly, the placebo group showed no improvement.
The Tribestan group also fared better statistically in their GEQ scores and reported greater intercourse satisfaction, orgasmic function, libido, and overall satisfaction. And, there were no side effects. According to the authors, “Following the 12-week treatment period, significant improvement in sexual function was observed with Tribestan compared with placebo in men with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.”
Tribulus terrestris is an herb that has been touted for years as an aphrodisiac. Whether or not this particular extract performs any better than some of the other extracts is unknown. But it sure doesn't sound like a bad way to start. You can buy Tribestan online and in some health food stores.
A Small Dose of This Hormone Goes a Long Way
When most people think of ED, they instantly think of testosterone. I’ve written a lot about testosterone and it can work wonders. But there’s another hormone that men with ED need to consider. Let me explain.
As you may know, low levels of nitric oxide can cause ED. In fact, most cases (about 80%) of ED are the result of poor circulation. That’s why Viagra works so well. It boosts circulation to the penis. And it’s also why I’ve cured many cases of ED without drugs simply by using ozone therapy, chelation therapy, and exercise. But sometimes, the cure is even easier.
While low levels of nitric oxide and the resulting poor circulation cause 80% of cases, that still leaves 20% of cases with other causes. One of those causes is hormonal. And a study published way back in 1999 backs up what I’ve already found to be true in many men with this problem. A little dose of this common over-the-counter hormone will correct many of these cases.
Doctors at the Department of Urology at the University of Vienna in Austria looked at 40 men with erectile dysfunction. These doctors conducted the gold standard of medical research: a prospective, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.
Here’s what they did.
First of all, they made sure that the men did not have a neurological cause for their problem by using a prostaglandin E1 test. This involves inserting a suppository of prostaglandin E1 sold as alprostadil, into the urethra. This will cause an immediate erection in men who have adequate nerve function. All 40 men passed the test, so none of them had a neurological cause.
Then the researchers made sure that the men had normal blood levels of testosterone. And lastly, they made sure that they all had levels of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) in the low range. In this study, all of the men had DHEA-s levels below 1.5 micromols/L.
The researchers then divided the men into two groups. For the next six months, one group took 50 mg of DHEA every day. The other group took a placebo. They used the IIEF questionnaire to rate the success of the therapy. The men who received the DHEA supplements had higher mean scores for all five parts of the questionnaire.
This means that in each case, the DHEA improved their ED. Additionally, the DHEA treatment did not result in any prostatic problems, nor did it raise their testosterone levels.
In 1994, the Massachusetts Male Aging Study showed that as men get older, the chance of developing impotence increases as the levels of DHEA decrease. So the results of this study make perfect sense.
Second, the levels of DHEA in these men were extremely low. I like to see all of my patients (men and women) have DHEA levels at least five times higher than the 1.5 micromols/L used in this study. (By the way, most laboratories report DHEA levels in micrograms/dl, not in micromols/L. A rough conversion is to divide microgram/dl by 27 to get micromols/L.)
One last reminder. If you’re a man and you take more than 10 mg of DHEA, make sure that your doctor checks your estradiol and PSA levels three to four months after you start, just to make sure your body isn’t converting the DHEA into estrogen. This happens in some men, particularly those over 50.
Elevated estradiol levels are not good for men. They can cause blood clots, prostate enlargement, and, yes, impotence!
But if your DHEA levels are low, it could be causing your ED – and taking DHEA could solve your problem quickly and easily.
"Prevalence of Erectile Dysfunction Increases With Age," Release from the Harvard School of Public Health, August 5, 2003; Annals of Internal Medicine, August 5, 2003
American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2001 Conference, November 14, 2001.
Kamenov Z, Fileva S, et al. Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of Tribulus terrestris in male sexual dysfunction-A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Maturitas. 2017 May;99:20-26.
Reiter, W.J., A. Pycha, G. Schatzl, A. Pokorny, D.M. Gruber, J.C. Huber, and M. Marberger. “Dehydroepiandrosterone in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: a prospective, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.” Urology. 1999 March;53(3):590-4; discussion 594-5.