The penis is a barometer of male health. Since erectile dysfunction (ED) is closely linked to various forms of heart disease, failure to keep an erection may be a sign of an incoming cardiac event.
According to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, conducted in 1994, erectile dysfunction is a common problem for aging men. More than half of men over 50 and more than two-thirds of men over 70 have ED.
A recent review article in the European Heart Journal showed that ED has a strong connection to heart disease.
In patients who had ED;
• Cardiovascular events were 44% more common
• Cardiovascular mortality rose by 19%
• Heart attack was 62% more likely in patients
• Cerebrovascular events (such as stroke) were 39% more likely
• All-cause mortality (death, period) was 25% more likely.
What connects the Heart to the Penis?
Poor arterial health, and an important compound called Nitric Oxide.
Nitric Oxide (NO) links Erectile Dysfunction with Cardiovascular Disease
NO is mainly responsible for widening the arteries during physical activity, but it also plays a role in sexual activity. It opens the arteries in the penis so that blood can flow in and cause an erection. Without NO, the arteries don’t expand as they usually would.
Plaque ends up forming in the walls of the arteries, and this leads to a variety of heart problems including heart attack and stroke.
This plaque doesn’t just form on the walls of arteries in the heart and around the brain. It collects on all of the arteries in the body, and the penis is no exception.
Plaque formation in the pelvic area blocks blood flow and is one contributing factor to ED
What’s different about the penis, though, is that you can easily see whether or not the organ working (It’s harder to look inside the arteries of your heart). And since erections depend on healthy arteries, an erect penis a significant marker of a robust cardiovascular system.
In Chinese Medicine, the Heart and Penis are Connected
In Chinese medicine, the Heart channel is related to the Kidney channel within the Shao Yin channels. It is also indirectly related to the Kidneys through the Du Mai and Ren Mai, both of which flow through the Heart and originate from the space between the Kidneys. Both the Du and Ren Mai have a profound influence on sexuality and the sexual function including sexual desire, sexual arousal, erection, maintenance of erection and ejaculation. Furthermore, the Chong Mai also starts from the space between the Kidneys and goes to the Heart and, also, it controls the zong muscles in the abdomen which many interpret as being the penis. (Giovanni Maciocia, February 2013)
I know, now I am talking Chinese (haha)
My Take on Erectile Dysfunction Connection to the Heart
Erectile Dysfunction (ED), or impotence, is a common problem, but, for reasons I will explain, I would not say it’s normal. Because of the strong links between erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular issues, and then perhaps stronger links between cardiovascular health, diet, and exercise, I see the penis as a kind of barometer of male health. When the fluid transport systems in the body are working correctly, erections are a natural result. When arteries are clogged and hardened by an unhealthy lifestyle, the arteries in the penis take a hit just as much as the arteries in the heart and erections are blocked.
So, how many erections should you be getting? What’s a “day in the life” of a healthy penis? If you’re not sexually active, you should experience morning erections at least 3 to 4 times a week. During regular REM sleep each night, the average man has between three and five erections. (Yes, that many.)
And, of course, it should not be difficult to gain an erection leading up to sexual activity.
L-Citrulline for Erections and Heart Health
What do we learn from this? First, frequent and regular erections are a sign of good cardiovascular health.
Of course, this link does not apply to men who have undergone prostate cancer treatment like surgery or radiation as they would experience less to no erections normally.
Keep in mind, though, that ED is not necessarily a sign of a heart problem; it can be caused by anxiety as well, and a failure to rise could stem from fear, discomfort, or other stressors. But if these are not your problems, then I’d advise taking a look at your lifestyle.
The best thing you can do is to prevent or resolve metabolic syndrome by changing your lifestyle. Get out and exercise. Cut out processed foods from your diet. To make sure your body produces enough NO, get some extra L-Arginine from animal protein and nuts.
Better yet, consider L-Citrulline which is a nutrient that makes more L-Arginine in the body than L-Arginine itself and has shown to help with sexual function. Eating pomegranate and taking Resveratrol can help with endothelial dysfunction.
How L-Citrulline Works?
L-Citrulline is an amino acid not found in proteins but found mainly in watermelon. The health-related applications of l-citrulline supplementation due to the ability of l-citrulline to increase l-arginine availability for NO production.
l-citrulline increases NO biosynthesis indirectly by increasing l-arginine synthesis, which in turn may lead to improved endothelial vasodilator function. In other words, it helps open up arteries.
One small study showed L-Citrulline improved penile hardness.
When Not to Use L-Citrulline
I prescribe L-citrulline in the formula of XYVGGR to help men with sexual function.
However, after using XYVGGR successfully for over seven years, I have had to take about three patients off of it because of a lowering blood pressure effect. Due to the dilating arteries effect of L-Citrulline, a desirable response when needing a pelvic lift, it opens up the arteries of the whole body reducing blood pressure.
When a patient has normal low blood pressure, say 90/60 mmHg or less, they DO NOT get XYVGGR or anything with L-Citrulline. The typical complaint of unwanted lower blood pressure is dizziness. On the other hand, if there is a sexual problem in a man and he also has high blood pressure, using L-Citrulline in a formula like XYVGGR may have a duo effect.
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