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WBB: Who needs Viagra?

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Posted: 2/21/2015 12:00:00 PM

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?

Unhappny woman & man facing away from each other

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:

  1. Eat NO grains and no added sugars
  2. Lose visceral fat–reflected as a shrinking waistline over time
  3. 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
  4. 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.

D.D. Infinite Health icon

Tags: ED