All gentlemen (myself included) are susceptible to a certain amount of what I like to call Samurai vanity. Put simply, it is a belief in one’s own competence with regards to our capabilities. As such, nothing is more of a blow to male self esteem than Erectile Dysfunction or ED. ED is described as the inability to maintain and achieve an erection of the penis. In western medicine, factors that contribute to ED include hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease (hardening of the arteries), smoking, prostatitis, hormonal imbalances, use of certain prescription medications such as anti-depressants and abuse of substances such as cocaine. Psychological factors can also play a role.
Although conventional allopathic treatment of ED involves phosphodiesterase inhibitors such as Viagra and Cialis, as well as testosterone and thyroid hormone replacement, Orthomolecular and Traditional Chinese Medicine also help.
Chinese Medicine classifies ED as part of a larger collection of symptoms that make up 2 main patterns of disharmony. Those patterns being either a deficiency of Kidney Yang or Kidney Essence. In addition to using the vasodilating effects of acupuncture around the groin creases and pelvis, the herbal prescription You Gui Wan is usually used either by itself, or modified with extra Ginseng or Ginkgo Biloba. For those taking anti-depressant medications, this approach works well.
Orthomolecular Medicine uses the amino acid L-Arginine in divided doses ranging from 2-5g/day in order to increase dilation of blood vessels in the pelvis and groin. In addition, a Zinc/ Copper combined supplement (15-30mg zinc to 1-4mg copper) helps with testosterone production. (See season 1, episode 27)
Kegel exercises have also proven to be beneficial to ED, as they increase the strength of the pelvic floor. When these muscles are strong, the prostate is less likely to be swollen, and due to the contractions, greater blood supply to the penis results. (See season 1, episode 22)
Both TCM and Orthomolecular medicine recommend cessation of smoking and alcohol as well as lowering carbohydrate consumption.
Tune in next episode when we’ll cover the amino acid l-Tyrosine.
Be Well and Be Zen
Gaby., Erectile Dysfunction., Nutritional Medicine (2011)., Ch. 211., pp. 783-85, ISBN13: 978-0-9828850-0-0. Fritz Perlberg Publishing, Concord, NH.
Ibid. Gaby., Zinc., Ch. 31, pp. 151-58.
Bensky, D., Barolet, R., Chinese Herbal Medicine, Formulas & Strategies (1990), pp. 278-80., Eastland Press Inc., Seattle, WA., ISBN: 0-939616-10-6.
Maciocia, G., The Practice of Chinese Medicine, (1994), pp. 269-70., Churchill Livingstone, London, UK. ISBN: 0-443-043051.
Atkins, R., (1999), Dr. Atkins’ Vita Nutrient Solution, Nature’s answer to drugs., p.350.