Originally posted by Dr. Davis on 2015-02-21
on the Wheat Belly Blog,
sourced from and currently found at: Infinite Health Blog.
PCM forum Index
of WB Blog articles.
Who needs Viagra?
Yes, erectile dysfunction can reverse with the
Wheat Belly lifestyle. But why and how?
Erectile dysfunction, ED, and thereby erections,
are fairly complicated phenomena. But the capacity to mount an erection
parallels arterial health elsewhere in the body, particularly in
the heart, since penile erections are a blood flow regulation phenomenon.
In my cardiology practice, for instance, it was virtually the rule to see
ED coupled with coronary disease, since coronary disease is essentially
an expression of poor arterial function and health, also. If you have
coronary disease, you likely have ED; if you have ED, you likely have
coronary disease or at least prominent risk factors for coronary disease,
especially hypertension. This is true whether you are 30 years old,
50, or 70.
It means that many of the lifestyle changes
that benefit cardiovascular risk also improved erectile function.
If we remove wheat, grains, and sugars to reduce expression of small,
oxidation-prone LDL particles that cause coronary disease, it also
benefits erectile function. If we supplement omega-3 fatty acids from
fish oil (and fish oil ONLY, not krill oil or other sources!), it improves
arterial health and flexibility and likewise erectile capacity. If we
restore vitamin D blood levels to the truly healthy range, such as
60 ng/ml, arterial health is dramatically bolstered in the heart
and in the penile circulation.
The dramatic reduction in abdominal visceral fat
that develops with the Wheat Belly lifestyle also removes the sources of
excessive aromatase enzyme activity. Visceral fat aromatase takes
testosterone and converts it to estrogen, resulting in low testosterone
and high estrogen, both of which impair erectile capacity (and adds to
the man breasts effect, made worse by the prolactin stimulation of the
A5 pentapeptide that derives from partial digestion of the wheat
gliadin protein). Visceral fat also emits inflammatory proteins that
block the effects of testosterone and other hormones in various organs,
a form of endocrine disruption. Remove grains and sugars, visceral fat
shrinks (especially when coupled with increased dietary fat
intake), aromatase levels drop, testosterone increases and is better
able to exert its effects, estrogen levels drop, erections are improved.
I’ve seen it time and again: introduce
changes meant to reduce cardiovascular risk and improve arterial health,
and erectile capacity returns over time.
If you or your partner are struggling with ED but
do not want to suffer the 1) ridiculous expense of ED drugs,
2) get exposed to the risks, such as blindness (which I
believe to be worse than advertised), then here is a menu of healthy
changes to consider, all consistent with the Wheat Belly lifestyle:
- Eat NO grains and no added sugars
- Lose visceral fat–reflected as a shrinking waistline over time
- Supplement omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil–ideal dose is
3000-3600 mg per day of EPA and DHA (not fish oil, but of the
EPA + DHA content of fish oil), divided in two
- Supplement vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)–at a dose sufficient to
achieve a blood 25-hydroxy vitamin D level of 60-70 ng/ml,
typically 4000-8000 units per day, only as gelcap, never as tablet
(tablets are poorly absorbed or not absorbed at all).
Unlike acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome
bowel urgency, both of which can disappear within the first week of
starting the Wheat Belly lifestyle, recovery from the arterial dysfunction
of ED can require weeks to months, especially if substantial visceral
fat is present at the start.
There are a few other strategies that are worth
considering, as well, before you resort to the expense and hazard of ED
drugs and that can allow a natural recovery of erective function. These
include supplementing magnesium, e.g., magnesium malate, 1200 mg
twice per day (180 mg elemental magnesium twice per day), an arterial
relaxant (erections involve both vascular constriction and relaxation).
In the rush to regain erectile function, an upfront period of l-arginine
and ornithine supplementation can help (though I am skeptical that they
are useful in the long-term as other strategies, such as vitamin D,
make them superfluous); l-arginine 3000 mg twice per day, ornithine
1500 mg twice per day, both on an empty stomach, can sometimes provide
dramatic restoration. Lastly, add some strength training to your physical
activity/exercise regimen, as testosterone levels will increase modestly
with muscle growth. You don’t have to be a gym rat nor build 18-inch
biceps, but just restoring more youthful levels of muscle lost as you age
can add a bit of advantage.
As in so many other health conditions, your doctor
will prescribe Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, even testosterone, without making
any mention of the inexpensive, natural, and effective means of regaining
erectile capacity without drugs. Quick with the prescription pad, slow or
ignorant of any understanding of the power of nutrition, your doctor is
likely not a helpful resource in this issue. But that means that
you are in charge of your erectile health.