Salt is everywhere. It’s in your freezer food, restaurant orders, canned foods, bag of chips.  The list goes on and on. However, where is the worst place that salt may be lingering? The answer is right behind your frequent battles with erectile dysfunction.

An overexposure to salt may be the leading cause behind more and more men suffering from erectile dysfunction. According to the Chief of the Division of Male Infertility at Southern Illinois University, Tobias Köhler, M.D., “Roughly 40 percent of men in their 40s suffer from ED, 50 percent in their 50s, etc.”

Also known as impotence, erectile dysfunction can happen to anyone at any time in their life. A person is having a case of erectile dysfunction when they are unable to achieve or maintain an erection. This condition may be the cause of one too many drinks, stress, or a bad night in bed.

The latter scenario may spark even more struggles with erectile dysfunction as a man’s confidence may become bruised after what they deem was a poor performance. Going into the next sexual encounter, men may experience a case of erectile dysfunction due to the anxiety involved with the fear of being unable to perform.

However, erectile dysfunction may be more than just mental. It may a symptom for other underlying conditions such as:

If you believe you have erectile dysfunction, please contact a physician in case of an emergency. Some of the symptoms of erectile dysfunction to look out for include:

  • Decrease of sexual desire
  • Trouble getting an erection
  • Inability to maintain an erection

Salt and Erectile Dysfunction

There is a strong correlation between erectile dysfunction and heart disease. Typically what is the precursor to both is when veins become clogged over a lifetime of refined sugars, LDL cholesterol-filled foods, and processed meals. One of the most common ingredients in all of the foods that cause these conditions is salt.

Salt has been regularly added to foods since the industrialization boom. Now, studies are starting to roll in that we are ingesting far too much salt. Here are some of the reasons why salt is triggering so many cases of erectile dysfunction:

  1. Salt Depletes Nitric Oxide

As we mentioned, erectile dysfunction and heart disease go hand-in-hand. One of the main combatants of these two conditions is nitric oxide. This gas is usually created as a byproduct when your body digests food or produces hormones. When nitric oxide enters the bloodstream, it opens up the veins by cleaning out debris and dead cells.

One study involving rats found that salt makes the nitric oxide synthase (NOS) “less active.” The NOS is a group of enzymes that facilitate the production of nitric oxide. These particular synthases are what the prescription drug Viagra targets in order to stimulate an erection in men. Once the nitric oxide relaxes the arteries, blood is free to flow to the extremities, inciting an erection.

  1. Salt Inhibits Acetylcholine Production

Like it does to nitric oxide, too much salt also inhibits the production of key neurotransmitters. One neurotransmitter in particular, acetylcholine, has been linked to the production of erections in monkeys. Part of the belief behind this conclusion is that acetylcholine is a catalyst for nitric oxide production. Therefore, this neurotransmitter also plays a role in clearing out the arteries to make room for a long-standing erection.

  1. Too Much Sodium and Chloride

A four year study involving 32,676 people found that a high-salt diet is directly linked to erectile dysfunction. The results stated, “53.6% of men who reported erectile dysfunction issues also included iodized salt in their diets vs. the control group that used non-iodized forms like Kosher salt. This is all with a standard deviation of 1.9. Controlling for errors, the number drops to 46.7%, which is still an alarming number considering the standard deviation of 1.9”

The chemical makeup behind table salt, sodium chloride (NaCl), is believed to be behind these results. In fact, a study from Harvard found that people with high-sodium diet had a 20% higher chance of dying due to heart disease than people with a low-sodium diet. Heart disease stems from clogged arteries, much like erectile dysfunction.

Cut Down on Salt to Prevent Erectile Dysfunction

There is no study that says how much table salt is safe to consume daily to combat erectile dysfunction. However, seeing as erectile dysfunction stems from a lot of similar issues that causes heart disease, such as clogged arteries, following the American Heart Association (AHA)’s recommended a daily dosage of salt is probably best practices in combating erectile dysfunction. The AHA recommends, “No more than 2,300 milligrams (mgs) a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults.”