Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common—and disheartening—problem for a number of older men. But it’s important you know this condition is not a reflection of your “manhood.” In fact, as I’ll explain today, many health and lifestyle issues can cause ED.
And one of the most common offenders? Prescription drugs.
These drugs include:
- Antiarrhythmic drugs
- Heartburn and acid reflux drugs
- High blood pressure drugs
- Muscle relaxants
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Prostate cancer drugs
Millions of men over the age of 50 are taking one or more of these drugs. So, if you’re among them and you’re experiencing ED issues, talk to your doctor about finding a different prescription, reducing your dosage, or discontinuing a drug altogether.
But prescription drugs aren’t the only factor that plays into ED. As I just mentioned, many lifestyle habits can increase your risk as well, including:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
Dr. Marc Micozzi generally recommends enjoying a drink or two with dinner to help support prostate health. But he adds, “If you indulge in an excessive amount, it can hurt your ability to get an erection. As Shakespeare wrote, it increases the desire, but takes away the performance.”
- Calcium supplementation
Mainstream medicine promotes calcium supplementation to men and women as a measure to support bone health—but Dr. Micozzi doesn’t agree with that approach. He notes that emerging science has linked calcium supplementation to hardening of the arteries, which is a primary cause of ED. That’s why Dr. Micozzi recommends passing on calcium supplements and instead get your calcium from foods like spinach, kale (and other green leafy vegetables), dairy products, and sardines.
- Heavy smoking
Too much smoking also contributes to hardening of the arteries, but unlike many doctors, Dr. Micozzi approves of a mild to moderate level of smoking. In his view, 1/2 pack of cigarettes per day or more than two cigars per day qualify as heavy smoking. Cutting back to a level below that will favorably impact your overall health and may help resolve ED issues.
- Inactive lifestyle
“Again,” Dr. Micozzi says, “this risk factor probably relates to blood flow. It’s important to get some regular, light-to-moderate exercise during the week to keep up good circulation—including circulation to your penis.”
And in addition to making small changes to your lifestyle, Dr. Micozzi also recommends a few supplements that have been shown by research to help combat ED…
Ditch the ED drugs and try these instead
Dr. Micozzi is not a fan of erectile dysfunction drugs. They can trigger harmful side effects such as headaches, brain fog, blurred vision, muscle or back pain, and even flu-like symptoms. And some studies show that ED drug use might increase risk of recurrent prostate cancer.
Instead, Dr. Micozzi recommends trying these natural alternatives:
- Dandelion and South African rooibos
Dr. Micozzi cites a study where a combination of dandelion and South African rooibos significantly improved physical performance and stamina in men. And he notes that these two supplements also promote cellular hydration, reduced blood sugar, and less fat call accumulation. His recommendation: 400 mg of dandelion and 400 mg of rooibos daily.
This carotenoid pigment gives tomatoes, pink grapefruit, and other fruits and vegetables their red color—so eat lots of them. Research shows that men with the highest blood levels of lycopene tend to have healthier circulation. In fact, Dr. Micozzi says, “Lycopene is the single most important nutrient when it comes to your overall prostate health.” He recommends taking a lycopene supplement of 20 mg, twice each day.
Dr. Micozzi understands that popping a “little blue pill” may seem like the easiest solution for ED, but the dangers just aren’t worth it.