Europe's Leading Men's Health Shockwave Clinic
On the left of the illustration above you see a cross section of the penis and the different parts within it. In order to have an erection the Corpus Cavernosum has to fill with blood. Nitric Oxide (NO) enters the penis in the middle illustration allowing it to relax and allow the inflow of blood. Finally in the illustration on the left the penis is shown filled with blood as it becomes erect.
Erectile Dysfunction and Nitric Oxide
Nitric Oxide has been called the miracle molecule, in the medical profession it’s what’s termed as a biological regulator as it regulates and protects our cardiovascular system against damage and aging.
The cells in our arteries and veins produce them to sustain the health of your heart and blood vessels which they do by preserving good arterial elasticity.
Lack of arterial elasticity makes it difficult for blood to flow into the penis to allow a rigid erection and to maintain it if the blood cannot stay there.
Nitric Oxide was discovered over 30-years ago by Dr. Louis Ignarro who became a Nobel Prize Winner in 1998 for his work on the importance of nitric oxide to enable a healthy lifestyle. It was named The Molecule of the Year in the December 1992 issue of the journal Science.
Nitric Oxide in Erections
Not to be confused with laughing gas or nitrous oxide (N2O), nitric oxide is the smallest, lightest molecule and the first gas known to act as a carrier of important information in the nervous system. In males, it is the messenger that translates sexual excitement into an erect penis. Key pelvic nerves receive a message from the brain and make nitric oxide in response. NO then dilates blood vessels throughout the important parts of the penis, blood rushes in and the penis becomes erect.
It was as a result of this research that pharmaceutical companies began exploring the opportunity to create drugs that would imitate the action of NO and as a result ‘little blue pills’ were created that enabled men to have erections boosted by NO. Unfortunately, as many men discover the effect of these pills, wanes over time and in any case, intercourse needs to be planned to take advantage of them rather than a man being able to enjoy spontaneous erections when sexually aroused.
NO production is natural when younger and depletes as you grow older, the American Heart Association has detailed the association between aging and reduced nitric oxide production. At the age of 55-years, your body produces just 30% of the nitric oxide that it produced when you were 21. NO is also involved in various illnesses, for example a quarter of all Type 2 diabetics have NO problems.
Nitric Oxide and erectile dysfunction are inextricably linked so when you visit MansMatters, we test for Nitric Oxide using saliva test strips. These change colour depending on your level of NO and we have found that most patients with Erectile Dysfunction have low NO.
4 Natural Ways To Boost and Support Nitric Oxide Levels
Rather than take ‘little blue pills’ to achieve erections, you should look at lifestyle and diet changes to help with your problems.
Eat High-quality Protein
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and these promote the production of nitric oxide. The best sources of amino acids are obtained from animal proteins such as poultry, beef, fish, and eggs. These animal proteins are the most easily absorbed by your body.
Eat Vegetables High in Nitrates
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, fennel, radishes, Chinese cabbage, parsley, and celery, contain high levels of nitrates. When consumed, nitrates are converted into nitric oxide. Beetroot is also high in delivering NO and we talk about this later.
Take Regular Exercise
The production of NO significantly increases when you take physical exercise. Just going for a walk or climbing stairs will help or you can try more energetic exercise such as running, cycling, or swimming.
Use Nitric Oxide Supplements
Nitric Oxide supplements don’t contain NO but rather the ingredients that help form nitric oxide naturally in your body. Two of the most common of these are amino acids such as L-arginine, naturally found in red meat, poultry fish and dairy and, L-citrulline. Watermelon is one of the best food sources for L-citrulline, so you may prefer to eat this rather than take it as a supplement.
Vitamins C and E, as well as alpha lipoic acid, also help to boost nitric oxide production.
Food Sources that Support the Production of Nitric Oxide
This is probably the most important. Studies have shown that drinking 100 ml of beetroot juice significantly increases nitric oxide levels. It is a popular supplement for all types of athletes, for example, it improved times by 2.8% in trained cyclists conducting cycle ergometry tests over 4-kilometers. Trained runners ran 5% faster in the later part of a 5000-meter race having consumed beetroot juice 90-minutes prior before the race.
While no studies have been undertaken for it, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that Borscht Soup helps in maintaining a healthy heart and increasing NO levels.
Garlic can boost NO levels, it does this by activating nitric oxide synthase. This is the enzyme that aids in the conversion of nitric oxide from the amino acid L-arginine
Dark chocolate is rich in flavanols. These Cocoa Flavanols can stimulate widening of the blood vessels by improving NO production. Additionally, dark chocolate has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Just eating 30 grams of dark chocolate each day has been found to increase in nitric oxide levels in the blood.
Vitamin C & Citrus Fruits
Vitamin C can enhance levels of nitric oxide by increasing its absorption in the body. Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit are also excellent sources of vitamin C.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in L-arginine (see above).
Managing Your Nitric Oxide Levels
Increased stress such as anxiety and depression lower NO levels, while lower NO levels increase stress. Nitric Oxide assists in reducing anxiety and depression partly because it reduces both inflammation and oxidative stress.
The way you breathe makes a big difference in NO Production. Breathing through the nose enables NO production in the nasal cavity. Breathing through your mouth provides no NO production benefit.
Avoid Anti-bacterial Mouth Wash
Anti-bacterial mouthwash reduces nitrate levels and in turn NO levels. Switch to a natural mouthwash instead. Some research has shown that using mouthwash for only one week caused a more than 25 mmHg increase in blood pressure.
You need nitrate reducing bacteria in your mouth to benefit from the nitrates we receive from eating green leafy vegetables. Without supplements, at least 50% of your daily nitric oxide production will come from what you eat and the action of oral bacteria.
Change Your Toothpaste
Studies have shown that fluoride in toothpaste suppresses nitric oxide synthesis. Most toothpastes now contain fluoride and if you are worried about your NO production perhaps you should experiment with non-fluoride toothpastes.
To find out more about what Science wrote about the Molecule of the Year click on the link.
As mentioned earlier, when you visit MansMatters we will measure your Nitric Oxide levels as part of our treatment protocol. The combination of therapies that we will then undertake will boost your immediate NO levels and we will discuss with you what steps as outlined above you should adhere to after your course of treatment has finished.
To find out more about Erectile Dysfunction and Nitric Oxide call us today or please take a moment to complete the contact form below and we will get back to you quickly.