Impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction, is the inability to attain or maintain an erection sufficiently to allow satisfactory sexual intercourse. Some sufferers can’t get an erection at all; others get one but it isn’t firm enough to penetrate the partner; and others can manage penetration for a bit, but then lose it. Some men find that they wake with an erection but are unable to produce one when desired.

There are many causes of impotence, including diabetes, atherosclerosis, blood pressure drugs, alchohol and kidney failure. It is now clear that in a very high proportion of cases, the problem is due to deterioration in the blood vessels that carry blood into the penis. There may often be deterioration in the arteries of the brain or the heart. Therefore older men with erectile disfunctions should take care to protect themselves against strokes and heart attacks – for example by keeping their blood pressure and homocysteine levels down. The most common cause is stress and anxiety, particularly over the ability to get and maintain and erection. In middle aged men overwork, stress, guilt and bereavement, it often happens when a widowed man tries to form a new sexual relationship, are the most common causes.

An erection occurs when blood is pumped into the penis and stays there, making it hard. It generally happens because a man is thinking about sex, or because his penis is being stimulated – or both. The result is that signals go down the nerves that lead from his spinal cord to his genitals. They tell the blood vessels which supply the penis to open up.

Blood flows in and the penis becomes erect. A valve mechanism near the base of the penis keeps the blood from flowing out again – a least, until sex is over. Some men have found vacuum devices helpful to achieve and maintain an erection, and, in recent years viagra has been hailed as the answer to male impotence.

Until recently, impotence was seen as a psychological problem, but it is now recognised that there are medical causes as mentioned above. Provided that there are no underlying medical problems, there are some self-help measures which can be tried.

Supplement/Herb What it does Dosage
Gingko biloba Improves blood circulation and flow through the veins and arteries, helping blood vesels dilate. 60-180mg daily
Korean Ginseng To alleviate stress and improve circulation, may help increase sperm formation and testosterone levels. as directed
Garlic Thins the blood and helps improve circulation. as directed
Iron Good for blood and muscle oxygenation and energy production. as directed
CoQ10 Needed for energy production, providing the “spark” in the muscles. as directed
Vitamin B complex To support the nervous system and transmission of nerve signals as directed
Vitamin E Powerful anti-oxidant to combat any free radical damage to the arteries. as directed
Vitamin C Powerful anti-oxidant to combat any free radical damage to the arteries. as directed
L Arginine Help support erection. 500-4000mg daily
Rhodiola Supports the endocrine and reproductive function in both men and women, helps moderate the body’s reaction to stress. 250-750mg daily
Zinc Zinc is found in high concentrations in the semen and adequate amounts are needed to sustain the sex drive. 15-30mg daily

Diet and Lifestyle Factors

Keeping yourself fit and healthy is the objective to attain. This means reducing or preferably avoiding the following:

  • Saturated fats, Trans/hydrogenated fats, artificial additives/preservatives found in many refined/processed foods.
  • Avoid caffeine which stimulates the release of stress hormones.
  • Two glasses of red wine a day can improve circulation, which increases potency, but any more can have the opposite effect.

Increase your intake of:

  • High quality protein, preferably free range or organic meat and oily fish
  • Whole foods in their natural state
  • Fruit and Vegetables, 5 to 7 portions daily in a wide variety
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Oysters
  • Eat a healthy well balance diet to promote good circulatory health.
  • Use stress management techniques to help relaxation.

Homoeopathic Remedies which may help. (Refer to the individual remedy for guidance on the one that is most appropriate for you.)

  • Argentum nitricum
  • Lycopodium

Recommended further reading:

  • Impotence explained
  • Causes of impotence

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