Most men might not think of impotence, or erectile dysfunction, as a circulatory disease, but in most cases that is exactly what it is. The greatest risk factors for erectile dysfunction are age, atherosclerosis, smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol—and every single one of them is associated with impairments in blood flow and compromised artery health.
Erections occur when nitric oxide (NO), a messenger molecule in the endothelial cells lining the arteries, signals the smooth muscles of the penile arteries to dilate, which engorges the penis with blood. If blood flow is compromised, you’re obviously more likely to have problems.
Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and other drugs for treating erectile dysfunction work by increasing concentrations of NO. And while they work and are well tolerated by most men, there are equally effective, and far less expensive, natural alternatives available, including L-arginine and Pycnogenol.
Arginine Improves Erectile Function
L-arginine is one of my favorite natural therapies for erectile dysfunction. This essential amino acid serves as the building block of proteins, but it also acts as a direct precursor to NO. Supplemental arginine has been shown to improve erectile function in several clinical trials.
Plus, my patients who take arginine for cardiovascular conditions (it supports overall circulation as well) often report improvements in erectile function. Even those who don’t have problems note increased duration and firmness of erections. The suggested dose of arginine is 1–2 g three times a day, taken on an empty stomach. Caution: Do not take arginine with Viagra-like drugs, nitroglycerin, or if you have herpes or low blood pressure.
Pycnogenol and Arginine Work in Tandem
Pycnogenol®, which is extracted from French maritime pine bark, contains flavonoids, proanthocyanidins and other phytochemicals with powerful antioxidant activity that protect the artery walls and provide overall support for the cardiovascular system. Like arginine, Pycnogenol also aids in the production of NO, making it an equally effective supplement for erectile dysfunction.
Furthermore, studies have shown that when Pycnogenol and arginine are combined they have a synergistic effect on NO production. In one study, which examined the effects of Pycnogenol and arginine supplementation in men with erectile dysfunction, 80 percent of the participants experienced normal sexual function after taking 80 mg of Pycnogenol combined with 1.7 g of arginine for 30 days.
So, if you’re looking for a way to naturally improve erectile function, I encourage you to give arginine and Pycnogenol a try. You should also take steps to address the risk factors mentioned above.
Now it’s your turn: Have you ever used L-arginine, Pycnogenol, or other supplements for erectile dysfunction?