A report published online on June 14, 2007 in the International Journal of Impotence Research described the discovery of Dr C.P. Forest of The Male Clinic in Beverly Hills, Harin Padma-Nathan, MD, of the University of Southern California, and H.R. Liker of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles that drinking pomegranate juice helped improved erections in men with erectile dysfunction (ED). Erectile dysfunction is caused by reduced blood flow to the penis, and can be the result of a variety of conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and nerve damage.
In a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study, 53 men reporting mild to moderate ED for at least three months consumed 8 ounces of pomegranate juice or 8 ounces of a placebo beverage daily for four months, followed by a two week period during which neither beverage was consumed. The washout period was followed by another four week treatment period in which the beverages were switched. Questionnaires completed by the participants after each treatment phase were used to evaluate the beverages' effects on ED.
Forty seven percent of the subjects reported that their erections improved with pomegranate juice, compared with 32% who reported improvements associated with the placebo. The authors conclude that additional studies with more patients and longer treatment periods may improve these statistics, and find the results encouraging. They believe that the results may be attributed to pomegranate's antioxidants which help prevent free radicals from impairing circulation. Previous studies have shown that pomegranate juice enhances blood flow and reduces the growth of arterial plaque.
"These findings are very encouraging as they suggest there is a noninvasive, non-drug way to potentially alleviate this quality of life issue that affects so many men," stated Dr Padma-Nathan, who is a Clinical Professor of Urology USC's Keck School of Medicine. "For men with ED, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise. Drinking pomegranate juice daily could be an important addition to the diet in the management of this condition."
Health Concern: Male Hormone Restoration
As men age, they begin to experience changes in their bodies. Abdominal fat increases and muscle mass decreases. They also experience a distressing decline in their sex drive. At the same time, the risk of serious health conditions such as depression and heart disease rises. While most conventional physicians (and some members of the lay media) dismiss these woes as signs of "natural aging," there is often an underlying and identifiable cause of these symptoms—the gradual decline of important sex hormones, especially testosterone.
Falling levels of free testosterone diminish sexual desire, as well as pleasure and performance in sexual activity. There is evidence that, in men with low free testosterone levels, replacement therapy can improve sexual function (Tenover JL 1998; Anderson RA et al 1992; Ahmed SR et al 1988; Davidson JM et al 1982).
Muira puama is a South American folk medicine derived from a shrub, Ptychopetalum olacoides, which grows in the Amazon region of Brazil. Also called marapuama and "potency wood," it is considered an aphrodisiac and an effective treatment of impotence. Because of its purported libido-enhancing properties, muira puama has been the subject of two published clinical studies by Dr Jacques Waynberg, an eminent medical sexologist and author of 10 books on the subject.
The first study, conducted at the Institute of Sexology in Paris under Dr Waynberg's supervision, consisted of examining the effect of muira puama on 262 men who complained of lack of sexual desire or inability to attain or maintain erection. After receiving 1.5 grams (g)/day of muira puama for 2 weeks, 62 percent of the patients with loss of libido rated the treatment as having a dynamic effect, and 52 percent of patients with erectile dysfunction rated the treatment as beneficial (Wright JV et al 1999).