How to Increase Nitric Oxide and Improve ED
A healthy erection requires healthy blood flow. Healthy blood flow requires healthy and dilated blood vessels. A breakdown in any of those areas contributes to erectile dysfunction (ED). Here’s one factor in lessening the chance of a breakdown: nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is essential for the dilation of blood vessels, a process also known as vasodilation. So, increasing nitric oxide is an effective way to improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction, because improved vasodilation also improves blood flow, one of the major factors in healthy erections.
Giddy experts Dr. Bob Harding and Lahana Vigliano explain the importance of exercise and nutrition related to ED, in the ED Guide video series. Click here to watch the video.
If you are experiencing symptoms of ED and want to get back to experiencing a healthy and vigorous sex life, try the following four ways to increase nitric oxide in your body.
Exercise improves the function of endothelial cells, the thin layer of cells in blood vessels that produce nitric oxide. Low nitric oxide production affects the way these cells function, increasing the risk for high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries) and heart disease. Exercising regularly can stave off these problems and optimize your body’s nitric oxide production.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults exercise for at least 150 minutes per week, which equates to about 30 minutes per day, five days per week. Exercise should include aerobic activities, such as swimming, biking or walking, and muscle-strengthening exercises for the greatest health benefits.
Eat the right foods
Foods that are high in nitrates and antioxidants can naturally help your body produce and maintain its nitric oxide levels. Nitrates in food are converted into nitric oxide, which is then quickly broken down in the bloodstream. Foods high in nitrates should be paired with foods high in antioxidants, the latter of which increase the stability of nitric oxide and prevent it from breaking down too rapidly in your body.
Nitrates can be found in many vegetables and dark leafy greens, including celery, spinach and arugula. You can also find antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E and glutathione, in a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Ask your dietitian or doctor for help with developing a healthy diet and meal plan that can help your body increase its level of nitric oxide.
Avoid using mouthwash
Mouthwash products work by destroying bacteria in the mouth that contribute to bad breath, gingivitis and plaque buildup. Unfortunately, mouthwash products also target oral bacteria in the mouth that convert nitrates to nitric oxide. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, mouthwash destroys the bacteria needed to increase and maintain nitric oxide for up to 12 hours.
Consider taking a break from mouthwash to see if your ED symptoms improve, and start practicing other healthy behaviors to manage and improve your oral health. Brush and floss regularly, avoid sugary foods that upset the healthy pH of your mouth, and ask your dentist about safe, effective oral health products that won’t destroy bacteria that contribute to nitric oxide production.
Talk to your doctor
Scientists continue to research and develop new treatments for erectile dysfunction that employ the use of nitric oxide. A potential treatment option uses nitric oxide-releasing “microspheres,” which are small, bead-like structures that are injected into the penis and release nitric oxide into the bloodstream over time. When tested in rats, this treatment was shown to be more effective at treating diabetes-related ED than sildenafil.
Another treatment method is a wearable constriction or vacuum device. Some medical-grade wearables like Eddie by Giddy® are proven effective in maintaining erections, without the side effects of ED medications.
Living with erectile dysfunction can worsen your quality of life and make it difficult for you to enjoy and engage in sexual activity. If you suspect your lifestyle habits may be contributing to ED or low nitric oxide, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about all of your available treatment options.