By Thomas Fahey, EdD and Steve Blechman
Viagra® was just what the doctor ordered for sagging sexual fortunes. A single dose of “big blue” put aging men in a sexual time machine that returned them to the sexual vitality of their 20s. The drug boosted blood flow to the penis and turned some of the limpest guys into lions in the bedroom. Viagra is popular even with young men who— theoretically— shouldn’t have problems with erections.
Viagra and next generation drugs like Cialis® and Livitra® work by stimulating blood flow to the penis. The nervous system stimulates cells lining blood vessels in the corpus cavernosum, a sponge-like area of the penis, to release a chemical called nitric oxide (NO), which stimulates blood flow and causes an erection. Obesity, physical inactivity, low testosterone, insulin resistance and heart disease are linked to poor NO release by the blood vessels, which triggers erectile dysfunction (ED).
That seems complicated, but here’s the good news— you don’t need Viagra to rekindle your sexual fire! You can summon your inner Viagra by following the FitnessRx Better Sex Workout and Diet. You’ll develop blood flow control that will give you rock-hard erections, produce the testosterone level of a sexual Olympian and build a lean, muscular body that will turn heads and make you a major player.
Poor Metabolic Health Linked to Sex Problems
Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, led by Dr. Ian Thompson, found that men with erectile dysfunction (ED) have a much higher risk of coronary artery disease than men with normal function. Also, they had a 45 percent greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke. ED had the same predictive value for heart attack as men who currently smoke and those with a family history of heart disease. ED isn’t a trivial health issue because it may be the tip of the iceberg for more serious health problems to come. Drugs like Viagra can temporarily improve the symptoms of ED, but they can’t cure the underlying cause of the disease— poor blood vessel and metabolic health.
Sexual dysfunction — such as ED, poor sex drive, or lack of energy for sex— is surprisingly common in 20-, 30- and 40-something men. It accounts for the mega sale of erection-boosting drugs like Viagra and Cialis®. What most guys don’t understand is that small lifestyle changes can do more for your sex life than a boatload of erection-promoting pills. The problem is Americans want it easy: why exercise when you can get the same results from a pill? Cure the cause of the problem— poor metabolic health— and you’ll improve sexual performance, achieve harder erections and look better in bed at the same time. And, you won’t need drugs like Viagra, which may have side effects.
In one study, German scientists found that putting men with erection problems on an exercise program was just as effective for improving erection capacity as taking Viagra. As discussed, erection problems often stem from abnormalities in the cells lining the blood vessels. Healthy cells secrete a chemical called nitric oxide, which is very important for delivering blood to the penis— and other body tissues. Blood vessels of obese, out of shape men lose their capacity to control blood flow and get healthy erections. Excess abdominal fat and heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, C-reactive protein (a measure of inflammation), homocysteine and diabetes, are sure signs of poor metabolic health and impaired nitric oxide function.
Excess abdominal fat makes you less attractive to women, but the problem is a lot more serious than that. Gut fat reduces blood testosterone levels, which decrease sex drive, the capacity for erections, energy level, aggressiveness and self-confidence. Too much fat is a triple whammy: women find you less attractive, low testosterone destroys your game and sexual performance goes down the tubes.
Blood Flow Control: The Key to Good Health and Dynamite Sex
Physical inactivity, diets high in saturated and trans fats and simple sugars and reduced muscle mass impair the ability of insulin receptors to regulate carbohydrates, amino acids (building blocks of proteins) and fats. Insulin resistance and inflammation affects the health of the cells that line the blood vessels called the endothelium. These cells release nitric oxide (NO) that opens blood vessels in the penis. Poor blood flow control makes it impossible to get firm, consistent erections.
Problems with fatigue and sex are increasing in American men— at a time when obesity rates have skyrocketed. In the past five years, the number of obese and overweight people in some states has increased by more than 100 percent. That’s an astounding figure that can’t be blamed on our genes. We’re eating too much and not getting enough exercise. Insulin resistance and abdominal fat are responsible for an epidemic of bad sex.