For many men, personal health issues are, well, personal…and they avoid sharing information with their doctors. In fact, in 2019 Cleveland Clinic conducted an online survey and found that 72% of men would rather do household chores, like cleaning the bathroom, than go to the doctor. And even men who take their health more seriously, according to the survey, aren’t totally forthcoming: 20% admitted that they have not been completely honest with their doctor.
Of course, customers should always be advised to visit their healthcare practitioner for health advice, and for those men who are looking for alternatives to help boost sexual health and performance, here are some of the often-recommended natural options that, when combined with a healthy lifestyle and regular consultation with a physician, have been shown to offer benefits.
Ginkgo Biloba can help improve blood flow, and is particularly effective in helping cases of erectile dysfunction due to side effects from certain medications, such as antidepressants, according to the Men’s Journal article “The Best Supplements for Your Erection Issues,” which points to a University of California study in which Ginkgo was found to be 84% effective in treating antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction predominantly caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Ginseng is a “promising herbal therapy for ED,” says Charles Walker, M.D., in “5 Ways To Get Stronger Erections That Aren’t Erectile Dysfunction Drugs.” He explains that ginseng “helps promote relaxation of smooth muscle in the penis, increase dopamine levels in the brain, and increase pressure in the cavernosal nerves of the penis which helps nitric oxide synthesis.”
Another benefit: Korean red ginseng, eleuthero root, and American ginseng are also linked to reducing stress—and easing stress may help improve sexual performance. As WholeFoods Magazine previously reported, a summary of research provided by Korea Ginseng Corporation (KGC) showed that men with erectile dysfunction who took 300mg of Korean red ginseng daily for two months experienced improvements in sexual desire, frequency of intercourse and satisfaction.
L-Arginine is an essential amino acid that can be beneficial for heart health and lowering high blood pressure, according to Jamin Brahmbhatt, M.D., in Men’s Health article “3 Surprising Supplements That Might Actually Boost Your Sex Life.” According to Dr. Brahmbhatt, if a supplement is helping with heart health it can also improve erectile dysfunction. What’s more, a study from the journal Andrology showed that patients with severe erectile dysfunction had lower levels of L-Arginine than men with milder cases of erectile dysfunction.
Pycnogenol, an extract from French maritime pine bark, has been shown to improve erectile function, particularly in those with diabetes mellitus, according to a study published in Bratislava Medical Journal. The three-month-long randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled study involved 53 patients with ED; 32 had diabetes mellitus (DM). The finding: Pycnogenol improved erectile function in the DM group by 45%; in the group without DM, erectile function was improved 22%; in the placebo group, it wasn’t improved at all.
Tribulus terrestris is an herb used in Chinese medicine for centuries to treat libido and ED. Jeffrey Burke, ND, MH, CNC, CHS, notes that it is commonly used either singularly, or in blended male enhancement formulations, and is available in capsules, powders and teas, and dosages vary from 200 mg upward to 1500 mg. In formulations, he says, it is included with other supportive herbal nutrients for even more beneficial results. “A 12-week study in men showed significant improvement in sexual function using Tribulus terrestris, compared with the placebo,” Dr. Burke explained in his Herb of the Month column. “It was well tolerated for the treatment of erectile function.” WF