Foods Rich In Flavonoids And Erectile Dysfunction
Physical and sexual excitation leads to penile erection and healthy sexual activity. In an average man, erection lasts during the entire act of sexual contact (until the person ejaculates); however, a significant percentage of men experiences difficulty in achieving or maintaining adequate penile erection, necessary to complete the act of intercourse.
Experts suggests that erection is a complex phenomenon that involves an interplay of emotional, physical, hormonal, nervous, vascular and muscular interactions (1). Any disease process that affects any of these vital elements can lead to erectile dysfunction and sexual impairment.
What Should You Know About The Pathophysiology Of Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is a fairly prevalent sexual issue. According to findings of the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, investigators suggested that about 52% of the US male population between 40 -69 years of age, experiences significant erectile dysfunction (2). The prevalence of ED at 40 years of age is about 40% and about 70% men reports considerable difficulty in achieving normal erection after 70 years of age (3).
Although, the risk of erectile dysfunction increases with advancing age, it is important to realize that ED often presents as a non-specific symptom/ complication of underlying health issues such as cardiovascular dysfunction, nerve damage, advanced diabetes etc. (3)
According to a 2016 study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (4), Cassidy and associates discovered that high intake of flavonoids can reduce the risk of developing erectile dysfunction in aging men. Based on a prospective study conducted among 25,096 men over a 10-year follow-up period, investigators suggested that increasing the intake of foods rich in flavonoids such as flavones, flavanones and anthocyanins can reduce the risk of ED by 11-16%.
Various clinical and research studies explains that the risk reduction is multimodal; for example:
- High intake of flavonoids reduces the risk of developing chronic health issues such as cardiovascular dysfunction, diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension etc. Needless to say that these health issues plays a vital role in the pathophysiology of ED in men (2, 5).
- Flavonoids acts as powerful antioxidants and wards off free radicals and reactive oxygen species. In other words, people who consume flavonoids in high doses have lower levels of inflammatory mediators and chemicals. Better health and high energy levels translates into improved quality of sex life.
- In a fair number of cases, erectile dysfunction is the outcome of vascular damage or neurological dysfunction. Antioxidants and powerful flavonoids boosts the vascular and neurological health and delays the onset of ED.
- Flavonoids also helps in the detoxification (or removal of toxins, chemicals, drug metabolites etc.) from the blood stream; thereby optimizing physical and emotional health.
What Are Some Dietary Sources Of High Quality Flavonoids?
Fruits and vegetables are richly supplied with flavonoids and other high quality antioxidants. Most valuable sources include; grapefruit, strawberries, blue berries, peaches, acai berries, nectarines, banana, cherries, plums, tea, raspberries and apples. Besides introducing berries and other organic fruits in your diet, it is also very important to eliminate toxins, chemicals, artificial preservatives, processed meat and excessive sugar from your meals.
Most men finds it embarrassing to discuss their sexual issues with their physician or even their partner/s. But, delaying the diagnosis and treatment can adversely affect your quality of life. Speak to your physician to learn what is causing the erectile dysfunction and explore what treatment options can restore the normal quality of sex life in your case. In addition, it is always a good idea to incorporate healthy lifestyle and dietary choices to minimize the risk of metabolic diseases.
1. Glina, S., Sharlip, I. D., & Hellstrom, W. J. (2013). Modifying risk factors to prevent and treat erectile dysfunction. The journal of sexual medicine, 10(1), 115-119.
2. Johannes, C. B., Araujo, A. B., Feldman, H. A., Derby, C. A., Kleinman, K. P., & McKINLAY, J. B. (2000). Incidence of erectile dysfunction in men 40 to 69 years old: longitudinal results from the Massachusetts male aging study. The Journal of urology, 163(2), 460-463.
3. Vlachopoulos, C. V., Terentes-Printzios, D. G., Ioakeimidis, N. K., Aznaouridis, K. A., & Stefanadis, C. I. (2013). Prediction of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality with erectile dysfunction a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, 6(1), 99-109.
4. Cassidy, A., Franz, M., & Rimm, E. B. (2016). Dietary flavonoid intake and incidence of erectile dysfunction. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 103(2), 534-541.
5. Pons, Z., Guerrero, L., Margalef, M., Arola, L., Arola-Arnal, A., & Muguerza, B. (2014). Effect of low molecular grape seed proanthocyanidins on blood pressure and lipid homeostasis in cafeteria diet-fed rats. Journal of physiology and biochemistry, 70(2), 629-637.