Diet-induced erectile dysfunction can be avoided, suggest a study conducted at the East Carolina University.
Research panel at the university fed a group of rats show that reflected the Western diet, high in sugar and with nearly half its calories from fat for 12 weeks. Another group of rats ate a healthy standard rat chow instead. They used rats put on a “junk food” diet to test the effects of aerobic exercise. They found that exercise effectively improved both erectile dysfunction and the function of vessels that supply blood to the heart.
Half of the animals in each group exercised five days a week, running intervals on a treadmill. At the end of the 12 weeks, anesthetized animals’ erectile function was assessed by electrically stimulating the cavernosal nerve, which causes an increase in penile blood flow and produces an erection.
The researchers also examined the rats’ coronary arteries to see how they too responded to agents that would relax them and maintain blood flow to the heart, an indicator of heart health. The findings showed that rats who ate the Western diet but stayed sedentary developed erectile dysfunction and poorly relaxing coronary arteries. However, those who ate the diet but exercised were able to stave off these problems. The group of rate who ate the healthy chow were largely able to avoid both erectile dysfunction and coronary artery dysfunction.
The study has appeared online in the American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology.