Zinc Supplements, Erectile Dysfunction, And Low Libido
With the erectile dysfunction (ED) market expected to reach 3.4 billion dollars (USD) by 2019, this is a lucrative area to invest in. Not much grabs the attention of a guy watching a commercial during a Monday night football game than the promise to easily cure this problem with one pill as needed. But is this the answer for everyone?
What causes ED?
For the guy with no apparent risk factors like depression or diabetes, hypothyroidism, injury or stress issues, erectile dysfunction or loss of libido (which don’t necessarily go hand in hand) can be confusing and frustrating for him as well as his partner.
What if we look at erectile dysfunction as something that can be addressed as a condition other than a “pill for every ill”. What if we actually look at a nutrient level that directly correlates to a medical condition and follow the science that supports its recommendation? Well, it turns out that taking a simple zinc supplement won’t help 100% of the time, but it certainly helps some of the time.
There are two things that need to be looked at in recommending a supplement for a medical condition: what is the physiology of the medical condition and what is the pharmacology of the supplement you are using.
There then is a search for a link between the two that leads to a tie in with a therapeutic approach. In some ways this is like a logic course that says A causes B, B causes C therefore A causes C. We then must apply this to the scientific method and finally the ultimate test: clinical response and safety. This is often made out to be the gold standard for our typical Rx meds that I dispense every day, but often ridiculed when it crosses the barbed wired “nutraceutical” boarder.
If it is a nutrient then we must be getting the right amount in our food after all right?
Regardless of 1) what the real amount is in the food we eat, not to mention 2) the depletion of that nutrient due to a prescription drug we are taking (an absolute science-based cause and effect). We blindly accept what our food has the nutrient and our bodies are maintaining the right levels – this is an incorrect assumption. In fact, it is quite ironic that the anti-nutraceutical court is still hanging onto this assumption when both assumptions have been disproven by science.
So what causes erectile dysfunction? Sometimes it is a circulation problem and sometimes it is a low testosterone issue. Sometimes it is not. Testosterone (T) supplementation can help ED and low libido in cases of low testosterone. Even if there is a normal testosterone level at baseline, ED can be helped. In some cases, thyroid problems may cause testosterone levels to be less than optimal. Aging is also a problem as testosterone levels drop after mid 20’s and as adipose tissue increases and aromatase enzyme conversion of testosterone to estrogen correspondingly increases. This causes an unfavorable estrogen: testosterone ratio which equates to low testosterone.
Next: How Zinc Improves Erectile Dysfunction