Erectile Dysfunction – Causes & Treatments



Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a phenomenon, which affects more than half of all men over 40. In this article you will learn how it is defined, how you can test yourself and what causes it.

Finally, we explain how you can treat ED with natural amino acid based supplements.


What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Impotence or “Erectile Dysfunction” (ED) is a sexual dysfunction characterised by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis sufficient for sexual intercourse over a sustained period of time.”

In other words, the main symptom of Erectile Dysfunction is that the penis is soft, when it needs to be hard.


Diagnosing Erectile Dysfunction?

You can take a simple 6-question test online to evaluate immediately whether you are experiencing no, mild, moderate or severe erectile dysfunction. The test is based on the International Index of Erectile Dysfunction Framework (IIEF-51).

As an example, a man is thought to be suffering from severe Erectile Dysfunction if the following conditions were true over a period of six months:

  • his confidence is very low that he can get and keep an erection,
  • his erection is almost never or never hard enough for penetration,
  • he was almost never or never able to maintain his erection after he had begin to penetrate his partner,
  • he found it extremely difficult to maintain his erection to completion of intercourse (orgasm), and henceforth if
  • sexual intercourse was almost never or never satisfactory when attempted
Are you suffering from erectile dysfunction?
You can take our online test for an immediate assessment. Answer just six short multiple choice questions.


What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

There are four different categories of ED causes:


1. Endocrinological (hormonal) Causes

Excess oestrogen and / or too little of the male sex hormone (T) in the male body may cause ED. Prominent diseases of the endocrine system include diabetes mellitus, hypogonadism, and hyperprolactinemia.

Male sex hormones (T) are most commonly reduced by an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle characterised by fast food diets, alcohol, excessive weight, smoking and too little exercise. This tendency gets aggravated as men age and sex hormone levels naturally drop off.


2. Psychological Causes

Also called Psychogenic Erectile Dysfunction2 this type of ED is defined as “the persistent inability to achieve or maintain erection satisfactory for sexual performance owing predominantly or exclusively to psychologic or interpersonal factors.”

There are several sub-types of psychological cause for Erectile Dysfunction:

  • Psychiatric disorders, particularly depression and anxiety disorders. This includes stress caused by over-expectation.
  • Insensitivity caused by the Coolidge Effect (natural lack of libido – explained in the video below), and
  • Addiction to internet pornography, also caused by the Coolidge Effect.


The following video explains the Coolidge Effect and internet pornography in detail.


3. Neurological Causes

Neurogenic erectile dysfunction (ED) can be broadly defined as an inability to sustain or maintain a penile erection owing to a neurological impairment, either centrally or peripherally or both3. Neurological disorders primarily relate to the central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord. Common neurological conditions include cerebral palsy, epilepsy, brain injury, multiple sclerosis and Tourette’s Syndrome.


4. Arteriogenic (cardiovascular) Causes

This cause is defined as “Arteriogenic erectile impotence is erectile impotence caused by insufficient arterial blood supply to the cavernous bodies regardless of the arterial disease or abnormality responsible for the insufficiency4.

Circulatory problems are the single most common cause of Erectile Dysfunction. Amongst a host of problems, poor circulation results in the inability of the body to flood the penis with flood via a process called “vasodilation“.

Alfred Nobel NobelPrizeThe researchers, who identified the neurotransmitter Nitric Oxide (NO) responsible for vasodilation were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1998. NO was also named Molecule of the Year in 1992.

Their work led directly to the development of the famous blue pills for Erectile Dysfunction in men.

Take note: Erectile Dysfunction may be an early warning sign of potentially dangerous cardiovascular disease and should therefore be professionally diagnosed and treated.

  • Physical / Neurological: Leakages in the cavernous (spongy) body of the penis can be a result of damage to the smooth muscles and its nerves.
  • Side-Effects: Some anti-depressants, beta-blockers and anticonvulsants (anti-epileptic drugs) are known to adversely affect erectile function.


Illnesses and conditions associated with Erectile Dysfunction

Some people who are diagnosed with either hypertension or diabetes may become predisposed to suffering from erectile dysfunction. Also, men who have perhaps suffered an injury to the penis itself may find that it causes problems with virility. Issues with the consumption of alcohol or tobacco can also result in similar issues as both of these inhibit the flow of blood to the penis and can end up weakening erections over time.

stress can both cause and aggravate erectile dysfunctionOther causes can be related to specific medications being taken for various medical conditions such as beta-blockers for hypertension or stress, anti-depressants, anti anxylotics or medications for epilepsy. Stress is a major factor in erectile dysfunction as it can both cause the problem, as well as aggravate it.

Most cases of erectile dysfunction arise because the blood vessels or the body of the penis itself have become damaged or compromised in some way. Of the fifty-plus percent of men who report suffering from problems with their erections, around twenty percent of these will be severe and give much cause for concern and worry.

One of the less common reasons for loss of erection can be a loss of male hormones known as androgens, if this is suspected; the appropriate tests and treatment will be given.


Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction

arginine helps sex lifeThe most commonly prescribed medications for erectile dysfunction are the famous blue pill and its cousins. However, these are not without side effects.

The most commonly noted complaints that people suffer from who take these types of medications are headaches, dizziness, stomach ache, blushing and painful erections which can last for several hours without subsiding.

Do not buy online

It is very important that anyone taking these medications only does so on the advice of a qualified medical professional and only gets them on prescription from their Doctor. Online sources for these types of tablet can be notoriously difficult to police and control. It is very common for counterfeit versions of these medications to be sold that can actually cause more harm than good.

Even if the product looks completely identical to the genuine medicine, the dosage on the packet may be wrong or the pills themselves may be contaminated with harmful ingredients like heavy metals that can end up causing serious damage.

An erectile dysfunction pump is a device used to help achieve and maintain an erection by drawing blood into the penis via air suction. It’s not a cure for ED, but can help increase your ability to have sexual intercourse. This device is sometimes called a penis pump or vacuum pump. It’s a noninvasive treatment that can be used alone or with other ED treatments such as a penis ring or oral medications.

The inflatable penile prosthesis consists of two attached cylinders — a reservoir and a pump — which are placed surgically in the body. The two cylinders are inserted in the penis and connected by tubing to a separate reservoir of saline. The reservoir is implanted under the rectus muscles in the lower abdomen.

The animated video shows how an inflatable penile prosthesis for Erectile Dysfunction works.

When treating erectile dysfunction, the emphasis is usually placed on how much nitric oxide (NO) is produced within the spongy tissue of the penis (also called the corpus cavernum). The production of nitric oxide allows the penis muscles to relax, for the blood to flow and for an erection to be created.

nuts contain lots of amino acids especially arginineAmino acids can help to cure the symptoms of erectile dysfunction and alongside this also help the original causes of the problem too. For this reason, they are one of the most successful natural choices for helping with this problem.

The added benefit of taking amino acids or other natural supplements is that they don’t cause an unnecessary build up of toxins in the body and can be easily digested and processed by the kidneys and liver.

One such amino acid used successfully for treating erectile dysfunction is known as L-arginine. When given to patients in the appropriate dose it can produce a better and longer lasting erection. L-arginine should be used as a preferred treatment over many prescription medications because even if it is taken in large amounts, it cannot produce nasty side effects common with other preparations.

Many men suffering from erectile dysfunction want a long term solution to their problems as they feel upset and worry it may put a strain on their marriage or partnership with their loved one. This is only natural, erectile dysfunction carries with it a huge amount of psychological stress which cannot be underestimated.

Taking an ongoing natural treatment such as L-arginine can offer a serious, long term solution that is gentle on the system.

Arginine can be consumed in capsuled and powder format. The former is generally recommended due to its sulphuric taste.

which products are good?
We have evaluated three popular products with Arginine and pine bark extract.

blood flows better with arginine
L-arginine works by supporting the framework and system of blood vessels in the body and has also been shown as an effective treatment for arthrosclerosis and can therefore help with matters of blood supply to the penis. Typically, sufferers may require a dose of five thousand milligrams a day to begin with5. In addition to increased quantity and mobility of spermatozoa, it will give a marked and noticeable improvement in the quality of the erection and the sufferer’s sex life.6

L-arginine is actually found in many of the legal impotence treatments that are prescribed. It has been shown to significantly improve the flow of blood to the penis, to relax the penile muscles and allow for a better and firmer erection. It also helps with the synthesis of nitric oxide.

Men who suffer from a depressed libido that is associated with excessive tiredness and anxiety or low mood may also be suffering from a lack of testosterone. Their Urologists may well prescribe L-arginine in this case. This effect is natural, sustainable, without side-effects and can be increased with pine bark extract.

Arginine is more potent with pine bark

A scientifically proven mix of Erectile Dysfunction vitamins combined with the amino acid Arginine and pine bark extract has been shown to relieve 92% of erection problems in a clinical, peer-reviewed study after three months of treatment7.

There are several natural Arginine-based NO-Boosters on the market. However, they differ substantially in quality and price. The best ones also include various additional “male health” vitamins, amino acids and minerals such as vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin C and zinc, amongst others.

How Nitric-Oxide (NO) affects potency?

the amino acid arginine can successfully help treat impotenceArginine is used in the body to produce the neutransmitter Nitric Oxide (NO). NO signals the body, when and where it needs to increase blood flow – including in the penis, when it needs to become erect8.

The research team documenting this mechanism received the Nobel Prize in 1998, after Nitric Oxide was already named the Molecule of the Year in 1992.

Pine bark extract has been shown to increase NO level even further. In a study at the Hiroshima University in Japan, researchers found that 180 milligrams of pine bark extract together with L-arginine increased vasodilation by 42 percent9.

Combining arginine and pine bark extract to the male diet therefore will boost NO levels and enable a man to have a naturally stronger erection, without side effects.

What is the best natural ED product?

There are several natural Arginine-based erectile dysfunction supplements on the market. However, they differ substantially in quality and price.

The best ones also include pine bark extract as well as various additional “male health” vitamins such as amino acids and minerals such as vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin C and zinc. Popular products include amitamin M forte, VIGARIN by aminoexpert and Dr Jenson’s formula-X Men.

which products are good?
We have evaluated three popular products with Arginine and pine bark extract.

Other treatments for erectile dysfunction include Carnitine, also commonly called L-cartinine. This is an amino acid which can be consumed in addition to Arginine.

It is synthesised from Methionine and Lysine. It can prove more beneficial to patients suffering from erectile dysfunction than treating with straight testosterone alone.

In 2011, scientists who work at the University of Bolgna discovered that patients who were given a dose of L-cartinine which was around four thousand milligrams could better sustain and maintain an erection and found that their sexual desire was also increased too. It was also noted that L-cartinine could cause the prostate to grow, which was linked to a slightly raised risk of developing cancer.10

However, most patients would only be given a dose of around three to five hundred milligrams and the risk associated with this dose was negligible, with a placebo effect being produced.



Erectile dysfunction is a condition which is stressful, anxiety-provoking and upsetting for the sufferer. It can be an early sign of other potential health problems and as such requires input from a qualified health professional to rule out any other more serious underlying issues.

Physiologically it may mean problems with the blood vessels and veins, whilst psychologically it can lead into a downward spiral of stress and depression.

Several studies have pinpointed the positive effects that Arginine can have in treating this condition, specifically because it raises the production of nitric oxide, which increases blood flow to the penis and relaxes the muscles allowing for a problem free erection. This effect is natural, sustainable, without side-effects and can be increased with pine bark extract.


Product Options

There are several natural Arginine-based erectile dysfunction on the market. However, they differ substantially in quality and price.

The best ones also include pine bark extract as well as various additional “male health” vitamins such as amino acids and minerals such as vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin C and zinc. Popular products include amitamin M forte, VIGARIN by aminoexpert and Dr Jenson’s formula-X Men.


product comparison
We have evaluated three popular products with Arginine and pine bark extract.


Related studies:

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  5. “Chen J, Wollman Y, Chernichovsky T, Iaina A, Sofer M, Matzkin H.; Effect of oral administration of high-dose nitric oxide donor L-arginine in men with organic erectile dysfunction: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study; BJU Int. 1999 Feb;83(3):269-73
  6. “Stanislavov R, Nikolova V: Treatment of erectile dysfunction with pycnogenol, L-arginine and L-ornithine”
  7. “Stanislavov, R., et al, ” Treatment of erectile dysfunction with pycnogenol and L -arginine “, J Sex Marital Ther 2003 May-Jun, 29 (3 ), pp. 207-213”
  8. “Nishioka, Kenji , et . al, “Pycnogenol French Maritime Pine Bark Extract, Augments Endothelium-Dependent Vasodilation in Humans,” Hypertension Research (2007 ) 30, pp. 775-780.”
  9. “Nishioka, Kenji , et . al, “Pycnogenol French Maritime Pine Bark Extract, Augments Endothelium-Dependent Vasodilation in Humans,” Hypertension Research (2007 ) 30, pp. 775-780”
  10. “Gianfrilli D, Lauretta R, Di Dato C, Graziadio C, Pozza C, De Larichaudy J, Giannetta E, Isidori AM, Lenzi A. Propionyl-L-carnitine, L-arginine and niacin in sexual medicine: a nutraceutical approach for erectile dysfunction. Andrologia. 2011 Oct 4”