What is Impotence?

Impotence refers to the inability to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough to engage in satisfactory sexual intercourse. The problem usually develops gradually and may be a consequence of other medical conditions, such as arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, or multiple sclerosis. Or it may develop because of abuse of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco; following trauma to the spinal cord; or from zinc deficiency. Impotence can also occur as an unpleasant side effect from taking certain medications, including narcotic pain medications, estrogen hormones, and disulfiram, also called Antabuse, a drug used to help alcoholics stop drinking by making alcohol poisonous to them.

ImpotenceBecause of the wide variety of causes, you should always consult a urologic specialist if you become impotent, because only then will you uncover the cause. If you discover your impotence to be a consequence of diabetes, high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, or alcohol abuse, you should turn to the discussions of those conditions in this text and follow the recommended nutritional guidelines. Improving the causative disorder will quite often improve the impotence. Let's look at what nutrition has to offer otherwise.

What helps Impotence?

• Zinc deficiency has been identified as a contributing cause to the development of impotence in some people. If your physician can find no specific cause for your impotence, zinc deficiency may be the culprit. Refer to the discussion of this mineral in the nutrient listings to reacquaint yourself with other signs or symptoms of deficiency of zinc. If you think you may be deficient in this mineral, supplementation may do the trick. Recommendation: Take a chelated zinc, such as zinc aspartate, in a dose of approximately 80 mg daily. Continue this dose level for a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks to assess your response. Warning: Supplementation of zinc in its ionic form can create deficiencies of other minerals, such as copper, by competing with them for absorption from the intestine. Chelation of the minerals prevents this competition among minerals to get into the body, allowing you to fully absorb each of mem.

• Octacosanol is a natural source of vitamin E and improves hormone production. Recommendation: Take 1000 to 2000 micrograms 3 times weekly.

Also see Alcoholism, Atherosclerosis, Diabetes Mellitus, and Hypertension.

What makes Impotence worse?

•  Research conducted at Chicago Medical School indicates that drinking alcohol may cause the hormonal equivalent of menopause in men.

•  Boston University published a study showing that men who smoked 1 pack of cigarettes daily for 5 years were 15% more likely to develop clogging in the arteries that serve the penis. Heavy smoking also decreases sexual capability because it damages the blood vessels in the penis. Use of marijuana and cocaine may also result in impotence.

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