“You are old Father William”, the young man said, “And your hair has become very white; And yet you incessantly stand on your head – Do you think that at your age it is right?”
According to this quote from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Father William was obviously very vigorous man for his age.
If I knew his secret and published a book about it no doubt I would make a fortune.
There probably isn’t a man on the planet that doesn’t know what Viagra is. It’s up there with Nike, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Microsoft as one of the world’s most instantly recognizable brands.
The anti-impotence drugs first became available in 1998 and since then has helped more than 16 million men around the world, who suffer from varying degrees of erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence, to enjoy a healthy and satisfying sex life.
Erectile dysfunction or impotence is what we call the inability of the body to achieve and maintain an erection. What can be a distressing condition is surprisingly common among men of all ages at some time in their lives. If this sounds like something that happens to you, the first thing you must do is to take comfort in is the fact that you are not alone. Impotence is more common than you think.
Most men will have a problem getting an erection at some time in their lives. Studies in the United States show that roughly half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 experienced ED to a greater or lesser degree. That’s nearly 30 million men in America alone.
Worldwide the figure could be hundreds of millions. Whilst for some it is just an occasional inconvenience, for others, the problem can be more persistent. Under normal circumstances, when a man becomes sexually aroused or ‘gets turned on’, a substance called nitric oxide (NO) is released in an area of the penis called the corpus cavernosum.
NO in turn activates an enzyme called guanylate cyclase that itself triggers levels of guanosine monophosphate to increase. This allows the muscles in the corpus cavernosum to relax and allow blood to flow into the penis.
As the arteries in the penis expand and harden, the veins that normally carry blood away from the area become compressed, restricting the blood flow out of the shaft. With more blood flowing in and less flowing out, the penis enlarges, resulting in an erection.
When the man has finished having sex, the blood flows back into the body and the penis once again becomes limp. However, certain physical or psychological factors can interfere with this natural process and, for whatever reason, men at any time of their lives can find it hard to gain and/or maintain a firm erection.
This, in turn, can have a knock-on effect psychologically as the man gets dispirited or depressed at his inability to perform which can further exacerbates the problem.
The good news is that ED can be treated and is not something you have to learn to live with.
There are many herbal products on the market that have been proven over the years to both stimulate sexual desire and/or improve your ability to get an erection.
Let’s take a look at some of the more common causes of impotence and some possible remedies that could treat the various conditions that can lead to impotence. Very often it’s another medical condition, possibly one you don’t even know you have, that is causing ED. If you can identify the cause, this condition can be successfully treated, so allowing the normal sexual function to return of its own accord.
We all like to indulge in the odd sweet treat every now and again and when you do, you can justify your indulgence by knowing that your body requires sugar, in the form of glucose, as a vital form of energy. When you eat that candy your blood sugar level goes up and the hormone insulin is excreted by the pancreas to control the level of sugar in your blood.
If the pancreas fails to excrete enough insulin to control your blood sugar level, health problems can begin to occur and this is known as Diabetes.
There are two types of diabetes. Type One is treated with regular injections of insulin whilst Type Two sufferers can usually control their insulin levels through a carefully controlled diet.
There is no known conventional cure for this condition and it is one of the more common causes of ED but there are things you can do with your diet to help alleviate the effect diabetes has on your sex life.
The following advice whilst vital for diagnosed diabetics is also relevant to anyone wishing to improve their health because both conventional doctors and followers of complimentary medicine agree that these dietary changes can contribute to overall health and the avoidance of disease.
Switch to a high fiber diet that includes wholemeal bread, bran cereals, beans, fruit, vegetables, and spinach as these are believed to reduce the body’s need for insulin.
Weight reduction is also a good idea as those who are overweight increase their chances of contracting this disease. As a basic requirement, cut down or cut out saturated meat and dairy fats, high sugar foods, and convenience meals.
Reducing your intake of alcohol will help because wines, beers, and lagers can also be high in ‘hidden sugars.’ Alcoholic drinks such as wine, beer, and lager can also be high in ‘hidden’ sugars; therefore these types of beverages should be avoided or replaced by their low sugar equivalents.
The following vitamins and minerals are believed to combat health complications associated with having diabetes.
Chromium is found in eggs, wholemeal bread, and cereals and plays an important part in the manufacture of what is called the glucose tolerance factor. This in turn plays a major role in controlling blood glucose levels by encouraging the uptake of glucose by muscles, organs, and so-called insulin receptors. It also stimulates the burning up of glucose for energy.
A good, all-around multi-vitamin can ‘cover the bases’ but for specific ailments, a higher dose of a specific nutrient may be required. When taking high doses of minerals or vitamins, always read the label and do not exceed recommended doses. If you are diabetic or have any other ailment mentioned in this book and are on medications for it, consult your physician before embarking on any dietary modification.
Zinc is a mineral found in significant quantities in semen and is known to play a part in insulin activity. Men who ejaculate frequently may be deficient in this mineral and supplementation may be required.
Eating zinc-rich foods is always good but as we only absorb around 20 percent of that available, taking zinc pills may be a good idea.
Garlic is believed to curb the increase of blood sugar levels and other herbs such as burdock help the kidneys to work normally and gentian stimulates the pancreas.
Heart Disease and High Cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol that circulate throughout the bloodstream. The first type is HDL and is manufactured naturally by the liver and is essential for our health. The other type of cholesterol is known as LDL or low-density lipoprotein and the amount you have in your bloodstream depends on genetics and diet.
It is common knowledge that overconsumption of foods high in saturated fat contributes to the ‘clogging up’ of arteries which in turn reduces the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart and increases the chance of future heart problems.
Reducing high cholesterol foods such as hard margarine and cooking fats, fatty meats and meat products such as lamb chops, mince, hamburgers, bacon, frankfurters, salamis, pâté and pies, biscuits, cakes, chocolates, pastries, and full-fat dairy products will reduce LDL levels. Replace these with wholemeal grains, fruits, vegetables, cereals containing bran, and other foods high in soluble fiber, which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol.
Higher consumption of antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C, A, E, and selenium have been shown to prevent blood fats from oxidization. It is only oxidized fats that are thought to enter blood vessel walls and cause health problems. We will look at how anti-oxidants can contribute to overall health and slow down the aging process in the body later on in this volume.
Garlic once again has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by as much as 11 percent and also reduce and even reverse the furring up of the arteries.
To increase levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in your body, try upping your intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids found in fish, flaxseed oils, and soy products.
Regular aerobic exercise enhances blood flow and strengthens the heart and we show you how you can do this later on.
Heart disease is a major contributor to erectile dysfunction because circulation to the penis may be compromised. Your risk of suffering from impotence rises to 80 percent of your diet is high in foods containing saturated fats and LDL cholesterol.
High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is taken by measuring two different readings – systolic pressure when your heart is pumping blood through your veins and diastolic pressure when your heart is at rest. A healthy young adult’s pressure is usually around 120 over 80 whilst a 50-year-old man’s maybe slightly higher at 150 over 90 but this is considered normal as blood pressure tends to rise slightly with age. A consistent blood pressure reading of 160 over 95 is generally considered to be high.
Symptoms of high blood pressure can include headaches, dizziness, or ringing in the ears. Although blood pressure fluctuation is fairly normal, the wrong kind of diet is widely accepted as being a contributor to abnormally high blood pressure. Drinking and smoking too much, being overweight, too much salt and too little exercise are all contributing factors as is anxiety, stress, and hereditary.
A high fiber diet that is low in salt, caffeine, saturated fat, and too much alcohol is recommended Giving up smoking and taking up gentle aerobic exercise is also suggested.
A daily dose of around 100mg of co-enzyme Q10 has been found to reduce blood pressure significantly and our old friend garlic has also proven effective in reducing blood pressure by as much as 8 percent in clinical trials.
Acupuncture has also been used successfully to treat high blood pressure and the regular practice of yoga or meditation to relieve stress can also be effective.
High Blood pressure and ED have a strong link. In the United States, roughly 40 percent of those men with ED also had high blood pressure and/or high blood cholesterol, rising to 70 percent of those aged 60 or over. This is because when you have high blood pressure your heart has to work harder to pump blood through abnormally narrow blood vessels that consequently can’t supply organs like the penis with a sufficient amount of blood to function normally.
We all have occasional bouts of sadness, sorrow, or grief but depression is a mental illness that includes feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, isolation, and despair which in turn affect the patient’s ability to carry on a normal life.
When feeling depressed you can experience loss of energy, dry mouth, digestive problems, loss of appetite, and weight loss due to not eating properly.
Psychiatrists agree that there are two types of depression. Exogenous depression as a result of external factors such as divorce, job loss, and financial problems. The Endogenous form of the illness is a result of internal factors such as a biochemical imbalance in the body.
Nutritionists and dieticians believe the intake of vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and potassium could all have a positive effect on brain chemistry.
A diet high in whole grains, pulses, fresh fruit, and vegetables is a way of providing these and other vital nutrients. An all-around multi-vitamin and mineral tablet may also help ensure the diet is not deficient.
It may be a good idea to stop drinking beverages high in caffeine such as tea, coffee, and some soft drinks due to their caffeine content which can contribute to sleeplessness and insomnia, both of which are often associated with depression. Also, cut back on alcohol which can also have an adverse effect on mood and sleep patterns.
A popular natural anti-depression herb is St. John’s wort. The extract of this herb found in shop-bought preparations contains active ingredients such as hypericin, antioxidants, and vitamin C and clinical trials have shown a dosage of 900 mg a day equally as effective as drug-based anti-depressants but without the possible side effects.
Take regular exercise to stimulate energy levels and talk to a partner or friend about your feelings. Positive thinking, creative visualization of peaceful images can also help and self-hypnosis can prove particularly helpful in this regard.
Please read the chapter on self-hypnosis to learn more. ED in men prone to depression can have a physical and emotional cause or be the cause of depression due to low self-esteem, poor self-image or problems with their partner. The taking of orthodox anti-depressants can further aggravate the problem because certain anti-depressant drugs can cause impotence as a side effect.
The prostate is a chestnut sized gland, involved in the production of semen, that lies at the neck of a man’s bladder. The urethra passes through this gland on its way to the bladder. Prostate problems are most common in mature men aged 50 or more when the gland enlarges and affects the flow of urine to an uncomfortable degree.
Increasing your intake of zinc has been shown to give relief from symptoms of an enlarged prostate because because enlargement is often caused by the build up of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone which itself is triggered by an inadequate amount of zinc in the diet. Cells in enlarged prostates are found to contain below normal levels of this mineral.
It is also recommended that you reduce your consumption of animal fats, alcohol, coffee, and tea. Studies have shown a link between ingesting these foods and the prevalence of prostate cancer.