Young couple drinking red wine

Red Wine for Erectile Dysfunction: Better than Viagra?

Highlights

  • Red wine contains resveratrol, a natural substance that shows promise in studies for treating erectile dysfunction and other health conditions.
  • Most studies have been done with animals or in bench tests, so there’s more research still to be done.
  • Incorporating resveratrol into your ED treatment process is worth considering.

If you’re looking at new approaches to treating erectile dysfunction, resveratrol has likely come up as a natural treatment. Yet while it is found in nature, there’s a bit more to it than just having a glass of wine. Here’s what you should know about resveratrol and ED.

What Is Resveratrol?

Scientifically speaking, resveratrol is a phytoalexin, a sort of natural defense mechanism for plants when they’re under attack by microbes. It’s found in the skins of grapes, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, and even peanuts. If you’ve ever read about antioxidants in red wine, the writer was probably referring to resveratrol.

Resveratrol is useful both in its pure form and when it’s converted into other forms by plants for various purposes. This is how resveratrol turns up in our diets, with some interesting effects.

How Much Resveratrol Can I Get From My Diet?

There’s some debate about whether eating plants provides us with meaningful amounts of resveratrol. Currently, it’s thought that while we absorb 75% of the resveratrol we consume, less than 1% of it is in a form we can use after metabolism, regardless of the dosage. 

That may not sound like a lot, but these numbers aren’t uncommon for the foods we eat. And research is emerging that resveratrol may have indirect impacts, such as on gut microbiota, that may have a beneficial effect on our health. The question is, what might those impacts be?

Can Resveratrol Treat Erectile Dysfunction?

First, we should note that the big studies that will tell us whether resveratrol can do anything for erectile dysfunction (ED) still need to be done. All the studies we’re looking at have either been done with animals or as “bench” tests — performed on cells in petri dishes. Nonetheless, what’s emerged so far is intriguing.

To start with, pre-clinical data on the compound has been promising from multiple angles, demonstrating effectiveness on not just ED, but also urinary tract infections, benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH, also known as an enlarged prostate), prostatitis, and even continence. 

It appears from bench tests that the positive effects are due to resveratrol’s ability to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the urogenital area. It’s not a silver bullet, but it’s worthy of further study.

Focusing more on ED, there are two studies in particular that stand out. The first looked at rats. As diabetes triples the odds of developing ED, the study was conducted to see what resveratrol could do for diabetic rats.

The theory is that resveratrol acts on sirtuin1, or SIRT1, a sort of handyman enzyme that performs multiple functions in the body. Chronic conditions can “downregulate” this enzyme, and the hope was that it could be brought back to normal activity, leading to healthier cells.

It appears that in rats, at least, this works. The rats who received resveratrol got their erectile function back and also showed improvements in smooth muscle and other factors. That doesn’t automatically translate to humans, of course, but it does suggest some intriguing questions and opens the door to more study.

Another study, this time with mice, found that resveratrol stimulates the production of hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is naturally produced by the body. Because it relaxes muscles to allow more blood flow in, it’s been a known candidate for ED treatment for quite a while.

Importantly, this study found that hydrogen sulfide acted through an entirely different mechanism than the currently available ED drugs do. Viagra, Cialis, and similar medications are phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors. 

PDE5 inhibitors act on a specific enzyme that limits the breakdown of nitric oxide (NO), which creates better blood flow into the penis to facilitate an erection.  

The fact that hydrogen sulfide can do the same thing using a different channel is exciting. It opens the door to alternative ED treatments for people who can’t take the currently available ED meds, such as Viagra.

So, should you throw away your Viagra and start drinking a bottle of wine with dinner? Sorry fellas – the answer is not quite yet.

Are There Risks with Resveratrol?

While it’s extremely unlikely you could “overdose” on resveratrol by eating more berries or sticking to red wine for your dinner drink, there are a few concerns worth noting.

To begin with, while moderate alcohol consumption is generally fine, heavy alcohol consumption is a risk factor for ED and many other health problems. So, have a glass of red wine, not a bottle, and don’t drink alcohol at all if your doctor recommends you stop, or if you’re concerned about your alcohol intake.

Secondly, there’s no free lunch in biochemistry. When you change one thing, you change everything, and not necessarily for the better. There are substantial concerns that high amounts of resveratrol may cause damage to cells, and there may be toxicity concerns. 

That said, most of this research is looking at resveratrol as an anti-cancer medication at amounts much larger than what you could consume, no matter how much you enjoy the foods it’s found in. So the question, at a practical level, becomes how we can use this research.

Can I Use Resveratrol to Cure ED?

While ED is a complex problem with multiple possible causes, there’s no harm in trying! Here’s how to do it while aligning with current medical thinking:

  • Eat more plants. No doctor is going to tell you not to eat more berries, barring an allergy or other medical issue. Look into methods for getting more foods rich in this antioxidant into your diet, such as adding blueberries and raspberries to your breakfast.
  • Make related lifestyle changes. Being active, quitting smoking, and taking care of your mental health are also important and have wide-ranging benefits, including improving your sexual health.
  • Stay on top of the research. Resveratrol is relatively well studied, and more data is coming out all the time. Keeping up with the latest findings can help you make better decisions.
  • Combine approaches. Remember, the research points to resveratrol acting on a completely different pathway for ED than PDE-5 inhibitors. Currently, this means you can combine increasing the amount of resveratrol in your diet along with your ED medication. Again, defer to your doctor on the best plan of action, but as ED has multiple causes, using multiple treatments will generally offer better results.

Stay Informed With eDrugstore

Don’t forget, the best advocate for your health is you. We’ll keep you up to date on the latest research about erectile dysfunction and men’s sexual health on the eDrugstore blog. 

In the meantime, eDrugstore is still the best online source for erectile dysfunction medications. Call 1-800-467-5146 to speak to a U.S.-licensed physician, who can write your prescriptions for Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, or one of the other lifestyle meds we carry. Browse our medication guide, and scroll down to chat with a live agent today.

Virtual health visits and shipping are always free. 

20 Pill Generic Viagra Offer
Exit mobile version