Nitric Oxide and Its Relation to Erectile Dysfunction
There is no shortage of remedies out there for erectile dysfunction. After all, not only is it one of the most common concerns an aging man may experience, but it is also one of the most concerning and embarrassing. Fortunately, today, there are more safe and effective treatments for erectile dysfunction, mild and severe, than ever before. However, many false claims must be dispelled in favor of the tried-and-true options that a urologist and men’s specialist like Dr. Natale can provide. While we discuss other ED treatment options at length elsewhere on the website, it is important also to address nitric oxide, a gaseous molecule produced by virtually every cell in the body.
Nitric oxide is a vasodilator that loosens the muscles in your blood vessels and allows them to widen. This is a result of the activation of soluble Guanylate Cyclase (sGC), an enzyme contained in the smooth muscle of the blood vessels in the body. How this would improve erectile dysfunction is very clear. For many middle-aged and older patients, erectile dysfunction is both a urologic and vascular problem. We believe that the narrowing of the artery supplying the penis with blood is a primary cause of ED. Known as atherosclerosis, this occlusion of arteries is typically a result of aging, combined with poor diet and exercise habits. Therefore, dilating these blood vessels can only help.
Natural Ways to Increase Nitric Oxide Production
Exercise is a key component in nitric oxide production throughout the body. Thirty minutes or so of daily cardiovascular exercise is a quick and surefire way to improve its production.
Diet is also an important part of nitric oxide production. Certain foods provide the building blocks for nitric oxide, including high protein, lean foods like beef, chicken, and fish. Legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and beets, among other foods, can also help.
Exposure to UV rays from the sun not only increases the production of nitric oxide but can also provide important nutrients, like vitamin D, that are critical to your body’s function. Speak to your doctor about safe sun exposure to minimize the risk of developing skin cancer.
Do Nitric Oxide Supplements Work?
Unlike vitamin and mineral supplements which introduce those compounds into the body, there is no supplement that provides usable nitric oxide. Rather, you are taking supplements containing compounds like L-arginine and L-citrulline that the body needs to create nitric oxide. Whether the supplements work in every patient has yet to be proven, however, we have seen some improvement in patients who have not optimized their diet and exercise habits.
Most importantly, unlike prescription medication, supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so we encourage our patients to research quality supplements that have data to back up their purity and ingredients. Under the supervision of a men’s health specialist or urologist, however, nitric oxide supplementation is relatively safe and well tolerated.
Are Nitric Oxide Supplements the Answer?
Nitric oxide supplements can be an essential part of the overall treatment process. If patients experience relief with these supplements, they are usually well tolerated and safe under the supervision of a qualified urologist. However, they do not address or resolve the underlying issues associated with ED. If a blood flow issue is to blame, patients will most certainly need to improve their diet and exercise if they are overweight or obese. Other interventions, such as medication or injections, may also be necessary to restore normal erectile function. For patients with severe impotence, a penile implant may be considered. This is a very successful, discreet, and durable option when other interventions have failed.
Most importantly, visiting a qualified urologist and men’s health specialist like Dr.Natale is the first step to understanding the root causes of your erectile issues. It is worth remembering that erectile dysfunction can be a multifaceted problem that requires the knowledge and understanding of a qualified specialist. Relying on online services or singular-focus men’s health clinics may not offer the full treatment needed to ensure continued health.