An estimated one in three men with high blood pressure has no idea they have it, and impotence could be a vital warning sign.
As we get older, our arteries become narrower and less elastic, which forces our blood pressure to rise gradually as the heart beats ever harder to get blood around the body. This damages the arteries, reducing blood flow to the penis.
NATURAL REMEDIES TO LIFT A CHAP’S LIBIDO
Studies show this amino acid can improve erections by boosting the production of nitric oxide, a natural chemical that dilates blood vessels to the penis. ‘We suggest this for men who are borderline in need of medical treatment or who use Viagra, but need more help,’ says Dr Graham Jackson, chairman of the Sexual Advice Association.
£13.95 for 120 tablets (each tablet 750mg), healthspan.co.uk. Dosage: Three to four tablets daily.
‘This nutrient is linked with the production of testosterone in men,’ says Dr Geoff Hackett, consultant in sexual medicine at Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham.
‘I recommend patients have their vitamin D levels checked and take supplements if they are deficient.’
Super Strength Vitamin D3, £10.95 for 240 tablets, healthspan.co.uk. Dosage: One daily.
‘I prescribe this herb to male patients who have difficulty reaching climax,’ says Giulio Garaffa, a consultant urological surgeon at University College London Hospitals. The herb, which comes from the bark of an evergreen African tree, is thought to work by increasing blood flow and nerve impulses to the penis. It can interact with other medicines — particularly those for kidney problems — so should only be taken on the advice of a doctor. Biovea Yohimbe, £16.60 for 90 capsules, biovea.com/uk. Dosage: Four capsules one hour before sex.
This extract from the leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree is used for circulation problems, low energy levels and fatigue. Swedish research found that compounds in the leaves relax blood vessels while simultaneously improving sluggish circulation. Other studies that compared it with a placebo have found it helped treat sexual dysfunction and impotence in men, but experts remain ambivalent about its usefulness. Dr Jackson says it does no harm.
£10.95 for 240 tablets (each tablet 120mg) from healthspan.co.uk. Dosage: One tablet a day.
Known as the ‘male remedy’ in China, there is evidence to suggest this herb can reduce stress by helping to mop up the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. A Korean trial found 60 per cent of patients taking ginseng were able to sustain an erection for longer during intercourse (compared to placebo).
£8.95 for 120 tablets (each tablet 150mg), healthspan.co.uk. Dosage: One tablet, three times a day.
What you can do: Ask your GP to check your blood pressure. Lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise and lowering salt intake may improve erectile dysfunction.
If you are already taking blood pressure medication and suffer from impotence, mention it to your doctor as some pills, such as Thiazide diuretics and beta blockers, can trigger or worsen it and your GP may be able to prescribe an alternative.