Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors are often the first-line treatment option for erectile dysfunction. Aside from several medications for ED, natural PDE5 inhibitors are also present in some foods.
ED Treatments: Natural PDE5 Inhibitors
PDE5 Inhibitors: Uses and How They Work
Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors are a type of vasodilating drug for erectile dysfunction treatment. Vasolidating drugs work by expanding the blood vessels due to the relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls. Researchers accidentally discovered PDE5 as a side effect of potential use for hypertension and angina.
During an erection, the parasympathetic nervous system becomes activated. This mechanism prompts the brain to release nitric oxide and cyclic GMP. Nitrous oxide and cGMP help relax the muscles and increase blood flow in the penis. However, an enzyme called PDE5 breaks down the cGMP and restrains erection.
PDE5 inhibitors work by blocking the degradative action of cGMP-specific PDE5 on cyclic GMP in the smooth muscle cells lining the blood vessels supplying various tissues.
Some of the common types of PDE5 inhibitors for ED include Sildenafil (Viagra), Tadalafil (Cialis), and Vardenafil (Levitra or Staxyn). Research also suggests that PDE5 inhibitors may help treat diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and potentially cognitive disorders.
What Are The Natural PDE5 Inhibitors for ED?
PDE5 inhibitors are present in the following foods and herbs:
1. Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium)
Horny goat weed is an herb traditionally used in alternative Chinese medicine for nerve pain, fatigue, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, hay fever, and ED.
A study in rats has found that horny goat weed extract may be a potential treatment for ED and nerve injuries in humans. Horny goat weed contains the chemical compound icariin, an active component effective as a PDE5 inhibitor.
2. Thai Ginseng (Kaempferia Parviflora Rootstalk)
Thai ginger, also known as black ginger, contains PDE5 inhibitors. Scientific evidence suggests that Thai ginger may significantly increase handgrip strength and enhance sexual erotic stimuli.
Other frequent uses of Thai ginger include:
- Improved physical performance
- Improved mitochondrial biogenesis
- Weight management support
- SIRT-1 upregulation
- Aphrodisiac; male sexual dysfunction
- Insulin signaling; blood glucose support
- Cognitive support
- Antiviral/effective vs. influenzas
If you are taking drugs for erectile dysfunction (ED) such as Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis, it is best not to take Thai ginseng without talking to a doctor or pharmacist first.
Pomegranate juice may help with the management of erectile dysfunction.
In a study published by the International Journal of Impotence Research, Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice was beneficial to men with mild to moderate ED. Although 47% of the subjects reported improved erections, the researchers believe that more patients and trials are needed to reach statistical significance.
An evergreen tree native to central and western Africa, Yohimbe contains a compound called yohimbine in its bark, said to be one of many natural PDE5 inhibitors. The bark has been used traditionally as an aphrodisiac and to enhance sexual performance and promoted as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. It lacks adequate testing however, in some studies it did appear to have a modest therapeutic benefit over the placebo, particularly in psychogenic erectile disorder.
Ashwagandha is a root that has been used in Ayurveda medicine for over 3000 years and is commonly referred to as “Indian ginseng”. Ashwagandha is widely claimed to have potent aphrodisiac, rejuvenative, sedative, and life-prolonging properties with vague claims that it can help overall wellness. In studies, some associations with increased levels of testosterone have been found.
Other Potential Natural Treatments
Other alternative therapies thought to help ED include Panax ginseng, Rhodiola Rosea, the herb ashwagandha, and ginkgo Biloba, but more studies are needed to know their safety and efficacy.
Natural PDE5 inhibitors are present in some food and herbs. Although the results of studies relating to the consumption of these herbs and ED are promising, it is best to consult your doctor before starting any supplementation. Some of these herbs may have side effects, especially when taken with ED pills or other synthetic PDE5 inhibitors.
For a more personalized treatment for ED, feel free to consult us.
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