By Ross Pelton, RPh, PhD, CCN
Scientific Director, Essential Formulas
Erectile dysfunction (E.D.) affects the lives of approximately 150 million men worldwide, and the prevalence is expected to increase to over 300 million men by 2025.i Approximately 50 percent of men in the U.S. between ages 40-70 suffer from E.D., and the condition is increasingly prevalent with age.ii,iii Approximately 40% of men are affected at age 40, and nearly 70% of men are affected by age 70.iv
The prevalence of erectile dysfunction is significantly higher among men with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular risk factors.v Numerous other factors can be involved, such as low testosterone, inflammation, and psychological and emotional problems. However, it is generally understood that the underlying problem is due to poor circulation.vi
Nitric Oxide: The endothelium is a thin membrane that lines the inside of blood vessels. Endothelial cells release a substance named nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator. Increasing nitric oxide allows blood vessels to relax, which improves blood flow. In men with E.D., increasing nitric oxide allows more blood to flow into the penis, which improves erections.
When the production of nitric oxide declines, the endothelium becomes stiffer and less able to relax. This limits blood flow into the penis, which causes erectile dysfunction. Hence, endothelial dysfunction causes erectile dysfunction.
The Role of Glutathione: In addition to being the most prevalent antioxidant in the body, glutathione is required for the production of nitric oxide. Studies report that men with E.D. have low levels of glutathione. Also, men with diabetes or cardiovascular disease have glutathione levels significantly less than ED-men without these diseases.vii
Low levels of glutathione mean men with E.D. will be undergoing a higher rate of oxidative stress and free radical damage. Studies have reported that oxidative stress plays a vital role in the progression of erectile dysfunction.viii
Conclusion: Boosting glutathione levels is one of the most important proactive steps men with E.D. can take. Boosting glutathione levels will not only reduce oxidative stress and slow down the progression of the disease; it will increase the production of nitric oxide will r improve blood flow, which can reduce symptoms of E.D.
Best Way to Boost Glutathione Levels: A unique strain of probiotic bacteria named Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3 is capable of synthesizing glutathione. In human clinical trials, people taking ME-3 for three weeks gained a remarkable 49% increase in the ratio between reduced (active) to oxidized (inactive) glutathione levels. Other benefits were a 26% increase in total antioxidant activity, a 16% reduction in oxidized LDL-cholesterol, and a reduction in critical inflammatory markers.
Full Disclosure: I am the Scientific Director at Essential Formulas. I published an article in the Townsend Letter (June 2017) titled Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3: A New Era in Glutathione Therapy. To read this article, just Google: Pelton glutathione Townsend.