Q. Glen can a man's health be determined by his erections?
A.You have a built-in barometer of your overall health: It's called your penis
When the penis is hard, life is good.
When hardness diminishes, so does a man's health and his innate sense of who he is. No matter how talented a man may feel he is in bed, he defines his sex by his erection, by its strength and hardness. This is what I call the Hardness Factor.
In just the past decade, researchers have made the all-important link between sexual activity and good health. When a man's blood vessels are healthy and "elastic," his heart and brain are functioning well-and his erections are rock hard. When his neural connections are firing and nitric oxide is being released in great abundance throughout his body, his cognition is high-and his erections are rock hard. When testosterone levels are normal and weight is controlled, he has the ability to train most effectively-have a healthy, trim body-and his erections are rock hard. Once a man starts to connect the dots, once he fully understands that good health and a hard erection are linked, he will begin to take better care of himself.
From my own ongoing exercise and hardness studies, I have found that much of the decline in hardness often attributed to aging is actually the result of sedentary living and poor nutrition. Once you understand its basic concepts, you realize how sexuality is a window into general health and how by staying fit you can enjoy feeling virile as long as you live.
According to a new study of 2,400 men conducted by researchers at the University of Bristol, in England, men who reported three or more orgasms per week were half as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as those who had sex less often.
On the surface, it looks as though the principal message of this study is that having sex reduces heart attack and stroke and lets you live longer. In fact, just the opposite is true: Being healthy allows you to have sex as much as you want. Having sex three times a week serves as an important marker that you are healthy and in good physical shape-you're certainly more sexually fit than a man who can't have sex three times a week. Beyond that, the strength of a man's erection-his hardness-is the true barometer of his overall health.
There is a powerful and unmistakable link between failing erections and common medical ailments, including obesity, high cholesterol levels, hypertension, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, and heart disease. When atherosclerosis develops, it starts to clog up the tiny vessels in the penis. The impact is often seen there first, long before it ever shows up in the coronary arteries of the heart, or in any of the other 100,000 miles of blood vessels that run throughout the body.
The canary in the coal mine warned of unseen danger, and for men, the health of their penis, and more specifically the hardness of their erections, is a great early-warning indicator of underlying cardiovascular problems that may be developing.
How to Achieve Your Best Health and Sexual Fitness at Any Age, that utilizes the same general principles. Follow it and you will be in the best sexual shape of your life, enjoy better sex that lasts longer, and live healthier.
Your sexual performance is greatly impacted by what you consume and how much you consume. Here's what you need to do:
Cut back on portion size
Try to eat 10 percent less at each meal or about 500 calories less a day. By Day 4, you may notice a drop of 1 or 2 pounds on your scale. That is important because the amount of fat in your gut affects the amount of testosterone available to you-the more fat, the less testosterone.
Avoid fatty foods
Stop shocking your blood vessels. Fatty, high-calorie foods are not kind to erections. The fats injure your blood vessels to the point where they are stunned, preventing them from being totally responsive when sexual signals are being transmitted from brain to penis. Penile nerves lose their sensitivity when cholesterol builds up. Top saturated-fat culprits to avoid include egg yolks, butter, cream, fatty red meats, and coconut oil.
Eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day
They help lower your cholesterol level, an improvement that combats cardiovascular disease and increases blood flow to the penis. Leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of folic acid, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Citrus fruits offer plenty of vitamin C. Go heavy on the blueberries. They're the fruit with the highest amounts of free-radical-crushing antioxidants.
Drink black or green tea
Both are high in antioxidants. As a morning beverage or with a meal, a cup of tea has too many disease-fighting benefits to be ignored, among them protecting against cancer and maintaining heart function and strong bones.
Spice up your foods
Chile peppers, ginger, and other spicy foods can enhance sexual performance by increasing circulation.
Eat a hardness-friendly dinner
Look at dinner as a training meal-you are getting ready to perform later. The right choices will help to set the mood and give you enough calories without overloading your gut, so more blood flows to where you really need it. Some important guidelines:
• Avoid before-dinner cocktails.
• Don't order anything braised, scalloped, sauteed, creamy, or fried.
• Choose entrees that are steamed, boiled, baked, poached, grilled, or roasted.
• Pass on all foods high in MSG or salt.
• Split your entree with your partner.
• Have salad dressing served on the side. Better yet, opt for oil and vinegar.
• Trim the fat from red meat, and have any poultry dish served without skin.
• Choose fruit or sherbet for dessert.
Which of nature's legendary hardness enhancers really work? My study results, and those of others, have proven that there are several interesting supplements that significantly enhance hardness and increase sexual interest.
Pycnogenol, extracted from the bark of a French pine tree, is a precursor to aspirin. It enhances blood flow to the heart and to the penis. It also helps restore elasticity and smoothness to the skin by reinforcing collagen fibers and strengthening the tiny capillaries, which help nourish the cells. L-arginine is an amino acid that is used by the body to build protein. When L-arginine supplements are taken in tandem with a daily routine of physical activity, a synergistic effect is produced that markedly increases your production of nitric oxide. This means greater blood flow to all areas of the body, and specifically to your penis. Take 80 milligrams of Pycnogenol and 3 grams of L-arginine daily (take them on an empty stomach, since protein will inhibit absorption into the bloodstream).
Take 3 grams of fish-oil tablets daily for vascular support and protection. Research has shown that the marine oil reduces sudden death from heart attack, probably by preventing fatal rhythm disturbances. I like the fact that omega-3s, available in capsule form, are excellent for reducing triglycerides-another form of fat circulating in your blood-and help protect the tiny blood vessels of the penis.
Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) enhance the activity of vitamins C and E. For improved blood flow and extra protection against insults to blood vessels, add 25 milligrams of red-wine extract and 100 milligrams of grape-seed extract daily to your 4-day regimen. Both contain OPCs.
This potent antioxidant seems to protect against heart disease. I believe this will translate into protection for the endothelium (lining of the veins), as well. I suggest 500 milligrams of vitamin C daily.
Horny goat weed
Yes, that's really its name. I call it the great libido-booster. I recently completed a 45-day double-blind placebo-controlled study of a Chinese herbal mixture comprised primarily of horny goat weed (Epimedium grandiflorum), along with three other well-known herbal sex boosters (Lepidium meyenii, Mucuna pruriens, and Polypodium vulgare). How horny goat weed creates sexual fire is unclear, but researchers think the boost may be related to its stimulating properties, which may work on the hypothalamus or pituitary gland. Take two capsules twice daily and an additional four capsules 2 hours before a sexual encounter.
The surest way to enhance hardness, whet sexual appetite, boost self-esteem, and increase sexual activity is through regular physical activity. Exercise improves fitness, and sexual functioning is an important part of that condition. It also positively affects brain-wave activity, which makes you feel energized. Working out regularly builds stamina, preventing or delaying fatigue during sex. And finally, exercise boosts levels of the male hormone testosterone, leading to heightened libido.
Raise your heart rate To get your heart pumping, make a conscious effort to add 5,000 steps to your daily hoofing, roughly 2 miles. Get a step counter if it helps. (If you already run or bike, these extra steps will supplement that exercise.) A walking program can rev up hormones, flush stress, whittle away fat, and rejuvenate the body, filling you with renewed vigor, confidence, and the glow of good health. I want you to work up to 10,000 steps daily. Why 10,000? Research has determined this is the number of steps that will bolster overall fitness and health and knock off weight. And when the weight goes down, erections go up and stay up.
Build strength Muscle fatigue during sex is a bummer, so add pushups, ab curls, and squats to your work out routine. These exercises strengthen the shoulders, chest, abdominals, buttocks, and legs, all of which are called upon during sexual activity. You already know how to do them, but you might not be familiar with the Cobra. This yoga move is one of the best stretching-strengthening combination exercises around, because it relaxes the muscles of the lower back as it gently stretches the muscles of the abdomen, hips, and neck. Lie facedown on a mat with your face almost touching the mat. Bend your arms and place your palms on the mat beside your shoulders. Keep your legs together and the tops of your feet resting on the mat. Push up, straightening your elbows as you lift your head off the mat, but keep your pelvis pushed into the mat so your spine arches backward. Look at the ceiling. Hold for 1 second; then descend to the mat. Repeat nine times.
Stretch every day
To promote optimal flexibility-the ability to use muscles and joints through their full range of motion-I want you to perform the following stretches every day. Regular stretching will help relieve stress, a major contributing factor to hardness problems. When performed in a slow and focused way, stretching can be an excellent relaxation therapy as well as a tension easer.
The side lunge keeps the muscles used during sex-the adductor, core, and lower-back muscles and the quadriceps, buttocks, and hamstrings-limber and flexible. Stand with your feet slightly apart. Contract your abdominal muscles. Keeping your right leg straight, take a large step sideways with your left foot, toes pointing forward. Bend your left knee. As you lunge, bend your torso toward your left thigh. Reach down and touch your left foot with both hands. Return to the starting position by pushing off your left foot to straighten your leg. Repeat the exercise with your opposite leg. Do 10 with each leg.
The crossover stretch loosens the muscles of the lower back. Lie on your back. Bend your left knee at 90 degrees and extend your arms out to the sides. Keeping your head and shoulders flat on the floor, pull your bent left knee toward the floor and twist your lower body toward your outstretched left arm. Hold for 45 seconds. Switch sides. Repeat.
When you complete this work out program, you will certainly feel different. You will achieve measurable changes in flexibility, strength, and hardness. Hardness is a lifestyle, not 96 hours' worth of quick changes. The idea is to feel good about yourself emotionally and physically always. It's a lifestyle decision.
Adapted from The Hardness Factor: How to Achieve Your Best Health and Sexual Fitness at Any Age, by Steven Lamm, M.D., with Gerald Secor Couzens, (c) 2005 HarperCollins
Wishing You Great Health,
Glen Edward Mitchell
Any questions? Ask Glen!