Life Extension Foundation Recommendations
ED is a very serious condition that can gravely affect a man’s quality of life. In many cases, however, ED has physical causes that can be remedied through lifestyle changes and supplementation. Men who are overweight may find some relief through weight loss. For more information on male weight loss, please see the chapter titled Obesity.
In addition, a number of supplements may help:
- L-arginine—2 to 9 grams (g) daily
- Yohimbine—6 mg daily
- Ginseng—900 to 2700 mg daily
- Maca extract—3 g daily
- Ginkgo biloba—120 mg daily
- Zinc—30 to 50 mg daily
- Grape seed extract—100 mg daily
- Chrysin—1400 to 2800 mg daily
- Icariin—80 mg daily
- Testofen—500 mg daily
- Saw palmetto—320 mg daily
- Nettle extract—240 mg daily
- DHEA—50 to 75 mg daily. A DHEA blood test after 3 to 6 weeks can enable one to optimize individual dosing.
It is also recommended that men test their hormone levels to see if an underlying hormonal deficiency may be contributing to their ED. If testing is conducted, it is important to note that so-called normal levels of testosterone for older men reflect simply averages in the current population. Life Extension believes that most aging men would not prefer to accept the loss of youthful vigor as “normal.” Instead, the Foundation suggests that a more valid “optimal” range for all men would be in the upper one-third of the range for men aged 21 to 49 and that any supplementation treatment should aim to restore hormone levels to that range. In addition, testing for estrogen levels is also recommended, with an effort to reduce estradiol to below 30 pg/mL. It is important, however, that men not begin testosterone therapy unless prostate cancer has been ruled out. For more information on male hormone therapy, please see the chapter titled Male Hormone Modulation.
Because of the close association between ED and heart disease, men with ED who have not been diagnosed with heart disease are encouraged to seek diagnostic testing to detect the possible presence of heart disease.Erectile Dysfunction Safety Caveats
An aggressive program of dietary supplementation should not be launched without the supervision of a qualified physician. Several of the nutrients suggested in this protocol may have adverse effects. These include:Chrysin
* Do not take chrysin if you have prostate cancer.
* Chrysin can increase the effects of aromatase inhibitors such as aminoglutethimide, anastrozole and letrozole.DHEA
* Do not take DHEA if you could be pregnant, are breastfeeding, or could have prostate, breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer.
* DHEA can cause androgenic effects in woman such as acne, deepening of the voice, facial hair growth and hair loss.Ginkgo biloba
* Do not take ginkgo biloba if you have a known risk factor for intracranial hemorrhage such as systematic arterial hypertension, diabetes, or amyloid senile plaque.
* Ginkgo biloba can cause allergic skin reactions, elevated blood pressure, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea.Ginseng
* Consult your doctor before taking ginseng if you have high blood pressure. Overuse of ginseng can increase blood pressure.
* Consult your doctor before taking ginseng if you take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and/or warfarin (Coumadin). Taking NSAIDs or warfarin with ginseng can increase the risk of bleeding.
* Consult your doctor before taking ginseng if you have diabetes. Taking ginseng can cause an extreme drop in your blood glucose level.
* Ginseng can cause breast pain, vaginal bleeding after menopause, insomnia, headaches, and nosebleeds.L-Arginine
* Do not take L-arginine if you have the rare genetic disorder argininemia.
* Consult your doctor before taking L-arginine if you have cancer. L-arginine can stimulate growth hormone.
* Consult your doctor before taking L-arginine if you have kidney failure or liver failure.
* Consult your doctor before taking L-arginine if you have herpes simplex. L-arginine may increase the possibility of recurrence.Saw Palmetto
* Consult your doctor before taking saw palmetto if you have any form of cancer that is stimulated by hormones.Zinc
* High doses of zinc (above 30 milligrams daily) can cause adverse reactions.
* Zinc can cause a metallic taste, headache, drowsiness, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea.
* High doses of zinc can lead to copper deficiency and hypochromic microcytic anemia secondary to zinc-induced copper deficiency.
* High doses of zinc may suppress the immune system.Yohimbe
* Do not take yohimbe if you have heart disease, kidney or liver problems, or a history of ulcers.
* Do not take yohimbe if you have panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, or Parkinson's disease, since yohimbe tends to increase anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
* Yohimbe can cause agitation, anxiety, sleeplessness, tremors, dizziness, headache, queasiness, vomiting, elevated blood pressure, and fast heartbeat.