Erectile dysfunction, or ED for short, is a debilitating and awkward disorder. Being unable to perform in bed can be a humiliating and embarrassing experience for men affected by ED.
Sexual dysfunction can affect men of any age though it typically increases as one gets older. It is estimated that around 100 million men worldwide and one million men of all ages in Australia have some form of ED.
While symptoms of ED can be either psychological or physiological, it can also signify underlying cardiovascular disease or other medical condition.
Some of the most common causes of ED are diabetes, heart disease, vascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Other factors can be psychological such as stress, worry, depression and anxiety.
Sometimes lifestyle factors such as relationship difficulties, not getting enough sleep, being overworked or consuming too much booze can influence sexual performance. For many men just the anticipation of struggling to perform can cause ED.
While there are many medical treatment options available such as prescription medication, hormone therapy, injections and surgery, there are some effective natural therapies that can be used to treat ED. One of those is Pycnogenol.
What is Pycnogenol?
Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract derived from the pine bark of Pinus Pinaster, a French maritime pine tree. Pycnogenol contains a combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and phenolic acids, which offer extraordinary health benefits for users. Its main benefits are improved blood flow and circulation but can also be used to treat diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, allergies, asthma, muscle soreness and sexual disorders such as ED.Pycnogenol has been extensively researched for its safety and effectiveness and is a primary ingredient in hundreds of supplements available in health food stores around the world
How it works
Pycnogenol works as a natural remedy for ED by way of several pathways. First it boosts Nitric Oxide in the blood which increases arterial expansion, thereby greatly improving blood circulation. This improved circulation of the blood increases blood flow to the penis which allows for easier and firmer erections.
Secondly, pycnogenol is shown to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is directly linked to ED as the condition interferes with otherwise healthy blood flow.
Interestingly, pycnogenol has also been shown to help maintain erections, enhance male fertility and improve endothelial health. As ED and vascular disease are considered to be linked at the level of the endothelium, improved endothelial function with pycnogenol therefore has the added benefit of improved erectile function.
A number of clinical studies show the efficacy of pycnogenol as a natural remedy for ED with a few showing some extraordinary results.
A note here that many studies use Prelox to test the effects of pycnogenol. Prelox is a popular dietary supplement for men to support male sexual health and contains a patented combination of pycnogenol and L-Arginine aspartate.
For example, this study from 2008 showed treatment with Prelox restored normal erectile function to patients with mild to moderate ED after one-month supplementation. The patients also experienced a doubling of their intercourse frequency.
A 2009 study that investigated the effects of Prelox treatment showed the fertility index improve to normal values after one month of treatment in 50 infertile patients. While a study from 2010 showed that Prelox was effective for improving erectile function in a group of 124 patients aged 30 to 50 years with moderate ED. The researchers of the latter study found that not only did Prelox improve erectile function but there was a more dramatic increase in total plasma testosterone levels compared to the placebo group.
A 2012 study showed taking a daily supplement of pycnogenol 60 mg, L-arginine 690 mg and aspartic acid 552 mg for eight weeks markedly improved ‘hardness of erection’ and ‘satisfaction with sexual intercourse’ in a group of Japanese patients with mild to moderate ED.
And this study from 2003 demonstrated just how important the role of pycnogenol is in treating ED. The researchers first tested a one-month dose of L-arginine which resulted in only 2 out of 40 patients (5% of all patients) able to achieve a normal erection. When pycnogenol was added to the supplement regime during the second month, results in improved sexual function skyrocketed. 80 per cent of patients experienced restored sexual function by the end of the second month when the pycnogenol was added, before increasing to 92.5 per cent of patients by the end of the third month.
It’s interesting to note the doses of pycnogenol used in the above studies ranged between 60mg to 120 mg per day. These are quite moderate doses for pycnogenol treatments. Even so, at these doses pycnogenol demonstrated to be very effective as a natural remedy for ED and improved sexual wellness.
Dosages are also recommended depending on the condition pycnogenol is being used to treat.
For example, to treat allergies it is recommended to take 100 mg of pycnogenol in two doses of 50 mg each day. For poor blood circulation, recommended doses are between 45 to 360 mg per day – or 50 to 100 mg taken three times daily. For blood pressure and improving exercise capacity it is recommended to take 200 mg of pycnogenol per day. As a remedy for ED the dose appears to be between 80 mg to 120 mg per day, typically divided into two daily doses.
A common finding among the pycnogenol studies is that the extract produces significant and rapid improvement in male sexual function. As the research shows, pycnogenol can help patients experience increased ease of getting and maintaining erections as well as increase the frequency of sexual intercourse.
Other health benefits of pycnogenol treatment include increased testosterone and libido, prevention of strokes and heart disease, and reduced blood pressure, inflammation and cholesterol levels. Pycnogenol can also improve joint health and cognitive function, and assist in the treatment of metabolic syndrome and related disorders.
Pycnogenol is a great supplement for improving sexual health and erectile function and offers a number of benefits to support overall health and wellbeing.