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What you choose to eat matters. The food and drink you place into your body as fuel have a direct impact on your overall health and well-being.
With decades of studies done on fasting, researchers now believe that the timing of when you eat may also make a difference for specific health conditions, which has some men asking if fasting cures impotence or other sexual health issues.
While the idea of abstaining from food and drink as a therapeutic measure has been around since the 5th century BCE as a way to combat specific symptoms (1), there is evidence that fasting may help men indirectly combat their erectile dysfunction.
What Is Intermittent Fasting and What Benefits Does Fasting Have?
While fasting can be done in a partial state, in a lengthy state, or over a short period, the most popular form of fasting is intermittent fasting.
This is an eating pattern that includes a portion of your hours in a day where you go with minimal to no food or beverage consumption without depriving yourself of essential nutrients (2).
Different types of intermittent fasting include 5:2, where you fast for two days of the week, or time-restricted feeding, where you only eat during a certain window of time each day, and the rest of the day, you are in a fasted state.
Fasting has been shown to improve health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurological disorders, and obesity.
With this said, there are some connections between the treatment for impotence and the benefits that fasting provides.
How Is Impotence Treated & Can Fasting Cure Impotence?
The causes behind impotence are long-ranging, as the process of male sexual arousal requires the brain, emotions, nerves, muscles, hormones, and blood vessels to all work in sync with one another.
If any of these areas have an underlying issue, erectile dysfunction can result. Psychological problems, such as stress, fatigue, mood disorders, and anxiety, can also cause impotence.
Causes of Impotence, Risk Factors and Treatments
- Physical causes: heart disease, diabetes, clogged blood vessels, obesity, neurological disorders, metabolic syndrome, low testosterone, substance abuse, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and surgeries/injuries in the lower pelvic region.
- Psychological causes: depression, anxiety, stress, and poor communication in relationships.
- Risk factors: medical conditions (diabetes/heart issues, multiple sclerosis), tobacco use (it restricts blood flow to veins and arteries), being overweight/obese, medical treatments for cancer, injuries to the nerves/arteries that control erections, certain medications that treat prostate conditions, high blood pressure or depression, drug, and alcohol use, and mental states of stress, depression, and anxiety.
- Treatment includes: making lifestyle changes to reduce stress, increase sleep, and increase regular exercise. Medical help for managing diabetes, heart disease, and chronic health conditions that cause erectile dysfunction. The cessation of smoking, alcohol, and drug use. Getting professional help for mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Diet changes for healthy eating. Barring all this, prescription medication will be provided (Viagra/Cialis) (3).
The Connection Between Fasting and Impotence Treatment
The main reason why men wonder if fasting can cure impotence is that fasting can help pave the way for making the lifestyle changes needed for the treatment of impotence.
While it can be difficult for some and is not recommended for everyone, fasting may be able to indirectly reduce or eliminate impotence if done correctly.
Here are the benefits of fasting and its connections to erectile dysfunction.
- Fasting Can Aid in Blood Sugar Control. Research has shown that by participating in fasting, one may improve the amount of control one have over their blood sugar levels. In one study, short-term intermittent fasting significantly reduced blood sugar levels (4). In another study, the limitation of calories reduced insulin resistance when done through intermittent fasting or alternate-day fasting (5).
Why is this important? Half of the men who have type-2 diabetes will develop impotence in 5-10 years (6), as diabetes can cause damage to the nerves that play a role in sexual stimulation (7).
Thus, fasting can help protect against impotence that develops due to diabetes.
- Fasting Can Fight Inflammation & Oxidative Stress. While having acute inflammation in the body is good for fighting off infections, chronic inflammation can cause some serious underlying health problems to develop, like heart disease, arthritis, and cancer (8). Not only can intermittent fasting decrease inflammatory markers (9), but one study found that fasting can be beneficial in treating multiple sclerosis (10), which is a chronic inflammatory condition that is a risk factor for impotence.
- Fasting Promotes a Healthy Heart. Alternate-day fasting has been shown to reduce levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) as well as blood triglycerides (11). It can also lower blood pressure (12) when done under medical supervision for an extended period. A healthy heart means you have better blood flow, which is needed to keep impotence at bay.
- Fasting Can Impact Brain Health & Cognitive Function. Some of the risk factors for impotence are neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. While studies have only been done on animals, they suggest that fasting may improve outcomes for these conditions, protect brain health, and enhance cognitive function (13, 14, 15).
- Fasting Can Boost Metabolism & Aid Weight Loss. Short-term fasting can boost your metabolic rate by anywhere up to 14% to help you burn calories (16), and because you are eating in a smaller window, you are more likely to take in fewer calories. Weight loss can occur if you are burning more calories and reducing how much you take in – this combats obesity, which is a known risk factor for ED (17).
Other ways that fasting combats impotence is by boosting the human growth hormone (18), which is vital for metabolism, weight loss, and muscle strength, it may be able to delay the aging process (many men suffer from ED due to older age), and it may even help prevent cancer.
So, Does Fasting Cure Impotence?
While there is no direct “yes” to this question, there is a lot of research suggesting that by combating other underlying health conditions, fasting can prevent impotence or at least narrow your chances of experiencing it as a direct result of poor health conditions and lifestyle choices.