ED is a Warning Sign of Clogged Arteries
Did you know that Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is often referred to as "the canary in the coal mine?" This expression originates from the time when coal miners would carry caged canaries into the mine to detect carbon monoxide or other poisonous gas levels. Because the canary is extra-sensitive to dangerous gas fumes, in the event of its death, it would alert miners when poisonous gases would reach fatal levels. It was an early warning sign of imminent death. Just like the canary, ED is an accurate clinical indicator of advancing coronary artery disease which may include future life-threatening cardiac events.
It's crucial to understand the relationship between ED and coronary vascular disease. ED and heart disease are two manifestations of the same systemic condition - 60,000 to 100,000 miles of inflamed, diseased and clogged blood vessels. These two disorders share a common etiology - they are diseases of dietary excess. They also share common risk factors including elevated serum lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides), diabetes, hypertension, obesity, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. Men with ED are between 1 and 5 years away from suffering a major (many times fatal) cardiac event. (With the average being 3 years.)
Because the penile vessels are smaller, cholesterol from meat, dairy and egg products will most likely compromise the flow of blood in these arteries (causing ED) before it obstructs the larger coronary arteries (causing chest pain). The difference in size can be seen in the photo above. Dr. John McDougall explains this in his article Eat Yourself Impotent: "The same diet that closes the arteries to the heart (heart attacks) and brain (stroke) also closes the arteries to the penis—the result is erectile dysfunction." The penile artery is about 1 to 2 mm in size which is half the diameter of the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery which is 3-4 mm (commonly known as the LAD or the "widow maker"). For more information, see our article Could Erectile Dysfunction Save Your Life?
Clogged arteries (or atherosclerosis) begins in childhood and is a result of years of eating an inflammatory diet rich in animal fats and processed and refined foods including vegetable oils and sugars. At the same time, these foods are also micronutrient and fiber deficient. This diet, typical of most Americans, damages the endothelial cells which line the inside of our entire vascular system. The body reacts to this damage by producing an inflammatory response, which contributes to the development of plaque formations. Over a period of years, plaque hardens and narrows the arteries. This narrowing limits the flow of blood to every part of the body, including the penis. When the penile vessels become clogged, they lose their elasticity, become unresponsive and incapable of dilating during sexual activity.
In an attempt to remedy the condition, many men resort to taking prescription drugs. Although these drugs offer temporary help to some men by dilating the arteries long enough to respond sexually, they contribute to an exaggerated false hope and security. These drugs cover up the symptoms of ED by briefly boosting the production of a gas called nitric oxide (manufactured by the few remaining endothelial cells), but they don't heal or unclog the miles of inflamed diseased arteries throughout the entire body. As a result, coronary vascular disease progresses. ED is a serious warning sign indicating that the smaller arteries supplying the penis are clogged, therefore, it's only a matter of time before the larger arteries of the heart are clogged - resulting in a life-threatening cardiac event.
While men associate meat with masculinity, it comes with several not-so-manly drawbacks. Dr. John McDougall explains the sexual health consequences for men in a passionate and very frank 4-minute video clip and in more detail here. Making aggressive diet and lifestyle changes can open up the vessels throughout the entire body, therefore restoring normal sexual function and at the same time reversing cardiovascular disease. It must be remembered though, that the benefits received by using a nutritional approach are directly proportional to the changes that are made. Making only small changes, while continuing to eat injurious foods will not offer any significant protection/reversal.
For more information, click on the following links:
(13) It's all about Blood Flow - Foods that are high in nitrates
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