While there is no question that erectile dysfunction (ED) is a complex condition that is the subject of ongoing investigation in the medical literature, there is also no question that some significant strides have been made in recent years that have resulted in breakthroughs in medical treatment. It has been the increased understanding of the physiological role of nitric oxide that is responsible for the few pharmacological interventions available today.
In their paper titled “Neurophysiological basis of penile erection”, the authors Priviero FB et al state:
“Penile erection involves a complex interaction between the central nervous system and local factors. It is a neurovascular event modulated by psychological and hormonal factors. The discovery of nitric oxide (NO) as an intercellular messenger or neurotransmitter paved the way for identifying important mechanisms underlying physiological and pathophysiological events in the penis, in addition to providing the knowledge for the development of new therapeutics based on a novel concept of molecule and cell interaction.”
Dr. Arthur L. Burnett, II, MD is Professor, Department of Urology, at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and in his paper titled “The role of nitric oxide in erectile dysfunction: implications for medical therapy” he states:
“Nitric oxide (NO) is believed to be the main vasoactive neurotransmitter and chemical mediator of penile erection”
There are many articles published to this effect in the medical literature and it is quite clear that nitric oxide has a major role to play in the neurological and vascular interplay that results in erectile function in men. Consequently, the only remaining question relates to whether or not nutrient supplementation can positively affect nitric oxide production. There is a veritable mountain of literature in support of specific nutrient and phytonutrient supplementation to support healthy nitric oxide levels, but for the sake of brevity it would suffice to point out the two nutrients in particular have been proven to be extremely effective: L-citrulline and beet extract.
As recently as December 2013 researchers from Japan published a study titled “Oral l-citrulline supplementation improves erectile function and penile structure in castrated rats” in the International Journal of Urology. They came to the conclusion that “Oral l-citrulline can improve the erectile response to electric stimulation of cavernous nerve and penile structure in castrated rats”. This is very interesting since the testosterone levels in the castrated rats had declined significantly, which shows that nitric oxide supplements have a role to play that is as important as, if not more important than, testosterone.
The same Japanese researchers published another paper in October of 2013 titled “Oral L-citrulline supplementation improves erectile function in rats with acute arteriogenic erectile dysfunction” to assess whether or not supplementation with L-citrulline would be effective when the primary issue in the erectile dysfunction is poor blood perfusion.
They note: “Oral L-citrulline supplementation increases serum L-arginine levels more efficiently than L-arginine itself and increases nitric oxide (NO) production”. They concluded that supplementation was clinically effective in the treatment of this type of erectile dysfunction. Quoted from the article: “oral L-citrulline supplementation might be a useful novel therapy for acute arteriogenic ED.”
In the Journal of Nutrition Research, authors of an article titled “All-natural nitrite and nitrate containing dietary supplement promotes nitric oxide production and reduces triglycerides in humans” specifically tested a supplement combining beetroot, L-citrulline, and hawthorn extract. They found that “Patients taking the NO dietary supplement twice a day for 30 days led to a significant increase in systemic nitric oxide availability”.
It is quite obvious that adults over the age of forty would almost ubiquitously benefit from nitric oxide support in the form of adequate diet, aerobic exercise, and specific nitric oxide supplements. There are a great many reasons this statement is true and those reasons are all supported by the scientific literature. Nitric oxide is unquestionably one of the most important discoveries in the field of cardiovascular research in terms of the critical role it plays in the regulation of blood pressure and circulation. Since there seems to be no disgreement in the literature about the fact that cardiovascular health is closely tied to a significant percentage of erectile dysfunction cases, it would not seem to be inappropriate for individuals suffering with erectile dysfunction to take basic action and support nitric oxide production.