Erectile dysfunction pills don’t exactly have a stellar reputation and we can blame years of bad marketing for that. Flintstones vitamins, good marketing, easy to buy for your kids. V8 and Gatorade—not exactly great for you, but still with enough good publicity to fool millions of people into thinking it’s semi-healthy.
Now when you think about erectile dysfunction pills, what comes to mind? Of course, negativity, fear and ugly images of someone else’s hard penis. “This could be you!”
Yikes. Bad marketing, along with some well circulated horror stories of men fatally overdosing on Viagra, have contributed to the bad rap of E.D. drugs.
But you might be surprised to know that there ARE some drugs, both prescription strength and natural, that can actually help you and that come with the blessings of your doctor.
Then again, there are some scam products out there as well, as well as some really dangerous stuff that you might want to avoid. The first thing we usually think about is whether the product is FDA approved.
While generally that’s a good idea, you’d be wiser to consider doing the research and figuring out for yourself what the ingredients of each product includes and how these health products are designed to help you.
Table of contents
- 1 A Review of Erectile Dysfunction Pills Based on Nitric Oxide Enhancement
- 2 The Most Natural Treatment
- 3 What About Low Testosterone?
- 4 Erectile Dysfunction Pills and a New Challenger
- 5 Cost and Caution
A Review of Erectile Dysfunction Pills Based on Nitric Oxide Enhancement
Let’s start with the most well known product, and perhaps the one with the most effective marketing (besides that terrible Bob Dole ad) Viagra. Viagra, also known as Sildenafil, is a drug that treats erectile dysfunction by way of enhancing effects of nitric oxide. According to the Mayo Clinic, nitric oxide is a natural chemical that increases the strength of your erection by way of vasodilation, which means widening of the blood vessels. Viagra works by inhibiting an enzyme called PDE-5, and so enhances signaling through nitric oxide pathways in the penis. Other medications that work on the same principle are Cialis, Levitra, and Stendra.
Does Viagra work? Yes and it’s the most scientifically-backed erectile dysfunction pill on the market, though that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best for you.
Viagra is so effective in helping to produce and keep an erection for a longer period of time, WebMD stated that Viagra usage shot up 312 percent for men ages 18 to 45, a much younger demographic. This indicates that even younger men are using Viagra for recreational sex as well as a sex enhancer, rather than treatment.
Viagra is not a “staying power” drug, but may help men become erect a second time more quickly, without a long refractory period. Another misconception is that Viagra instantly produces an erection. However, sexual arousal must come first. Therefore, Viagra amplifies signals that are already happening in your body. These pills do not cause excitement but help you to “finish what you started” without stubborn health issues slowing you down.
The biggest disadvantage to using Viagra is that it can cause scary and painful side effects in men suffering from heart disease, hypotension (low blood pressure), as well as angina (chest pain) or diabetes. Even a patient who has ideal health may experience heavier side effects like skin flush, headache, backache, nausea and upset stomach.
Yohimbe—Herbal Viagra with a Hard Bargain
Yohimbe of the Yohimbe Tree, may be the herbal Viagra but recent studies have shown a risk of side effects including higher blood pressure, a spike in heart palpitations, tremor, and change in mood. Though some studies have been cited, the herbal treatment still does not have the endorsement of any major institution, such as the American Urological Association. Because of the risk of heart problems, a doctor’s approval is strongly suggested before you go this route.
Panax Ginseng—an Alternative to Viagra and Viagra-Like Drugs
Over at Healthline, some herbal alternatives to Viagra are discussed and one of the most powerful has to be red or panax ginseng. Surprisingly, this is one of the first and few herbal treatments studied to have a scientifically observed effect on erectile dysfunction. Randomized clinical studies on red ginseng showed significant data, but not conclusive enough to be compared to the efficacy of a prescription drug like Viagra. The key component being studied is ginsenosides. In addition to E.D. treatment, ginsenosides also appears to result in anti-inflammatory effects, better lung function, and better blood flow.
L-Arginine—Erectile Dysfunction Pill That Helps with Sexual Function
L-arginine refers to an amino acid and supplementation can help in the production of nitric oxide, which directly affects E.D. Whereas previously mentioned drugs help with relaxing blood vessels, this herbal treatment helps generate more nitric oxide. Research has shown that daily intake of L-arginine has shown evidence of E.D. improvement, especially when combined with other ingredients like pycnogenol. Whereas Viagra and other drugs can provoke the heart, most studies report the extra production of nitric oxide to be relatively safe for cases in which the patient actually has erectile problems.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)—Hormones to the Rescue
The DHEA (not to be confused with the D.E.A. an organization that will deflate your erection fast if they show up at your door!) is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. The body converts DHEA supplement into both estrogen and testosterone. The science shows that most men who suffer from E.D. show low levels of DHEA, indicating that hormonal issues can be a major cause. A few studies have shown that six month treatment of DHEA supplementation can help men have stronger erections, especially men suffering from diabetes.
Rhodiola Rosea–Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Help?
Rhodiola Rosea or King’s Crown is a plan found in cold arctic regions, from Europe to America and Asia. It has been named as anxiety / depression relief by traditional Chinese medicine, as well as other effects, such as a boost for physical endurance. The most interesting claim for Rhodiola Rosea is that it can improve sexual function, as well as give a man an energy boost. While some sources claim the science is unverified, there IS a study coming from Saratikov AS, Krasnov EA, stating that the majority of subjects in an erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation study responded positively to R. Rosea after a three month 150-200 mg treatment. The specific effect was better sexual response, “normalization of prostatic fluid, and an increase in 17-ketosteroids in urine.”
Nevertheless, the clinical study was not unanimously positive and many organizations still dispute the science behind it. Some authorities state that most ingredients in R. Rosea are polyphenols, which have no physiological effect. One particular derivative contained in R. Rosea, Flavonoids, is also mentioned as a possible natural remedy in its own right, particularly when combined with zinc and Vitamin D.
The Most Natural Treatment
Healthline further reported that a ten year Flavonoids study concluded that men who ate a diet with Flavonoid-rich foods, were less likely to have erection problems. Other natural ingredients studied to indirectly affect erection control were zinc and Vitamin D. The reason being, men who had E.D. just so happened to have zinc deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency. Supplementation of these “missing” substances could help men with E.D., by restoring their health and sexual function to a normal level.
Speaking of “normal” it’s hard to define in the context of testosterone levels, because as most people know, as men age, they tend to battle with sexual problems more frequently. However, the science is undecided on whether this is because aging causes low testosterone, and low testosterone causes sexual issues, OR if poor health causes lower testosterone, which then causes all of these physical effects.
We do know that the worst medical problems for men (as well as the worst sex killers), like diabetes, obesity, heart problems and high blood pressure, are linked with a deficiency in testosterone. But a deficiency is not the same thing as a drop and the effects are not the same either, according to a WebMD article on lower testosterone.
What About Low Testosterone?
Statistically, lower testosterone is more likely to occur in men who already have medical issues. But a drop of testosterone IS natural for men who are aging. The point at which the sex drive is noticeably affected is beyond the age of 30. However, what is not commonly understood is that a drop in testosterone does not automatically become testosterone deficiency. Likewise, men losing interest in sex is not an indication of age, but a reflection of health. A gradual decline in testosterone should not have the same effect as testosterone deficiency.
This is why doctors will often tell patients that the best long-term solution for fighting erectile dysfunction is in improving one’s health—exercising more and sticking to a healthier diet, made of more vegetables, fruits and proteins. This boosts testosterone production, which may cause more lasting changes than supplementation therapy, which is at best, a short-term solution.
Erectile Dysfunction Pills and a New Challenger
One of the most interesting developments in E.D. treatment is the study of Horny Goat Weed, (Epimedium) a plant extract that uses a compound called “icariin” that inhibits enzymes that regulate genital blood flow – in a similar but slightly different way as Viagra. Another longtime staple of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Horny Goat Weed has been recommended by TCM doctors for both men and women. For men, the product has also assisted with waning libido and restoring a more youthful appetite.
Fox News ran an article interviewing TCM doctors who stated that Horny Goat Weed works partly because it’s “clean and pure” and not mixed with any artificial chemicals. A study was quoted, with a 45-day treatment period and showed 60 percent subject improvement.
Cost and Caution
Now that you know what substances to look for by name and the function of each one, you are better equipped to search for nutritional substances on the Internet, and stay clear of unscrupulous companies that advertise results but not any scientific research.
In general you should beware of products that aren’t FDA-approved, though it’s also prudent to keep in mind that FDA-approval in and of itself is no guarantee of safety—especially considering how many prescription pills have been linked with cancer and numerous lawsuits.
Your priority should be in researching both the components in the drug as well as the company that makes it. Before making a decision run the research by your doctor, who may know of your health and physical conditions which may interact in painful or deadly ways with certain substances.
Be very careful when ordering medication from outside the U.S. or dealing with companies that can’t offer any explanation as to who they are or what they do. Do not combine medications (and avoid products that combine several substances) and don’t exceed the recommended dosage.
The price of an erectile dysfunction pill may vary from store to store, as well as how much product you buy. If you buy a large amount (6 to 12 months of treatment) it would be a substantial price versus a sample or test bottle of 1-3 months.
Nevertheless, some medications simply cost more per pill than others. According to the top selling Pharmacy Mall Drugstore (started in 1997), Viagra sells for 27 cents a pill. Cialis is 68 cents per pill, while Levitra rounds out one dollar. There is also a much more potent Extra Super Viagra with Dapozetine selling for $2.86.
The price of herbal products tends to be less, though they are measured differently. For example, Horny Goat Weed sells at $9.90 at BodyBuilding.com, which is 90 tablets, making it 11 cents per serving. Wal-Mart sells Yohimbe at 450 mg, 100 capsules, $18.65. Google Shopping prices red ginseng at 34.99 for 180 capsules with 1000 mg per serving. L-arginine sells at 500 mg, 100 capsules, for $8.99. DHEA is priced at 100 mg for 90 capsules at $14.87. Rhodiola Rosea sells at 200mg, 60 capsules, at $15.16.
You can find better deals online at any time…but the real question is how these supplemental solutions will help you to make lifestyle changes that are health-conscious. Lifestyle changes can improve sexual function, not just problems with blood flow, but also prostate health, mental health (correcting serotonin issues) and other physiological problems.
The simple answer is, some erectile dysfunction pills offer a scientifically valid hypothesis, if not always a guaranteed and repeatable result. To some extent, all E.D. drugs are a slight risk…but some more than others, particularly if you are already erect, sexually vigorous and have a healthy heart rate. These E.D. drugs are not meant to be recreational, even though they are frequently used for such purposes.
A man in good health, who can control himself through perseverance and technique, should have no need of E.D. drugs, recreationally or otherwise. The ideal is returning to good health so that sex can continue naturally, lustfully, as the human instinct provides us.
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