Turmeric and Erectile Dysfunction
I recently had a high PSA scare and started taking turmeric (curcumin) and several other
anti-inflammatories. You can read about it if you are in a similar
situation in my page on
My Elevated PSA with No Cancer. During this time I had to
go off HRT which dropped my testosterone from a peak of about 1200 ng/dl to 111 ng/dl in less than a month.
What I noticed, though, was that there was little effect on my erectile strength.
Of course, that made me wonder if the
turmeric was somehow protective.
This would be surprising, though, because turmeric is not really known for
stimulating nitric oxide or dropping blood pressure significantly. (There
is one study on hypertensive rats that shows it can drop blood pressure in that
case. ) However, after doing a little research, I found something interesting: turmeric has
research strongly suggesting that it improves almost every major cardiovascular
And, of course, anything that improves your arteries is very likely going to improve your
Here are Ten Ways That Turermicc (Curcumin) Extracts Can Improve Erectile Dysfunction:
1. Raises HDL.
Turmeric (curcumin) increased HDL by 29% in one human study using 500 mg/day.
 This is a substantial increase and would take you months or years of
cardiovascular training to achieve. Of course, you should still do the
cardio, but my point is that this seems to have incredible powers in this area.
2. Increase Plasma Nitric Oxide. One study found that plasma nitric oxide was increased in "in healthy middle aged people (40-60 years old) with a low dose of curcumin (80 mg/day) in a lipidated form expected to have good absorption." 
Need to boost your Nitric Oxide naturally through food, drink and supplements? Check out Lee Myer's book here:
The Peak Erectile Strength Diet
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3. Lowers Cholesterol. The same study that showed an increase
in HDL also showed a drop in cholesterol of about 12%.  Remember: both small
and large particle LDL particales can contribute to arterial plaque and so any
non-statin lowering of LDL numbers is likely to help you. (Statins
decrease CoQ10 and increase arachidonic acid.)
4. Antioxidant Strength. One of the processes that contributes to
arteriosclerosis is the oxidation of LDL and turmeric, at least in an animal
study, reduced this destructive process. 
CAUTION: I'm not sure how much of an effect this is, but there is study out there that shows that turmeric extract can lower ferritin. Low ferritin men may want to do some research and discuss with their physician.
5. Fibrinogen. One of the less known but most deadly cardiovascular risk
factors is fibrinogen. This blood chemical increases the
risk of clotting, which is, of course, a key step in both stroke and heart
attacks. One study showed that even small amounts of turmeric dropped
fibrinogen levels "like a rock" in partipants with elevated fibrinogen. 
6. Arteriosclerosis Prevention . The researchers who conducted the study
for #3 did an additional study and found that both HDL and LDL oxidation were
again signicantly lowered in those with high levels.  Their conclusions?
"This preliminary experiment suggests that the Curcuma phenolic antioxidants,
because of their high antioxidant activity and lack of toxicity, might be a
useful complement to standard hypo-lipidemic drugs in the prevention and
treatment of atherosclerosis." Of course, no one listens on this side of
the ocean, because it's not an expensive pharmaceutical solution!
7. Arterial Protection Against Hypertension. High blood pressure is
very hard on the walls of your arteries and can lead to stiffening and hardening. One study showed that curcumin likely protects against
8. Arterial Protection Against Nitric Oxide Deficiency. How many of us
middle-aged guys that have eaten a Western Diet all of our lives have nitric
oxide deficiency? Well, I do know that Dr. Nathan Bryan said most of us
have less than half of our nitric oxide by age 50. I don't know the exact
definition of NO deficiency, but the lion's share of us are very low and one
animal study showed that turmeric protects against the oxidation, hypertension
and loss of elasticity that occurs when nitric oxide drops significantly. 
9. Arterial Protection Against Homocysteine. Homocysteine is yet another
risk factor for the cardiovascular systems that has received a lot of air time
lately. And, yes, turmeric protects against its effects as well. 
10. Lowers Triglycerides. The same study that showed that turmeric could increase plasma nitric oxide also found that it lowered triglyceride levels as well. 
So what is the pattern? If you'll notice, turmeric is, in my opinion, the
perfect compliment to many of the nitric oxide-boosting supplements that you are
already probably consuming. Let me explain why:
Many of the research-backed supplements - Korean Ginseng, Pycnogenol,
Citrulline, Icariin, etc - increase nitric oxide directly (or indirectly through
action on eNOS) - but do not actually protect your arteries or cardiovascular
system from damage. Turmeric helps those arteries stay supple and softened
and un-hardened. Stiff arteries cannot expand and allow increased blood
flow and that includes the ones in your penis. This is where turmeric
comes in: it helps keep your arteries youthful, at least according to all
the above research.
Of course, you cannot eat horrendously, sleep little, smoke, be sedentary and
expect turmeric to magically protect you. But, for those making the effort,
turmeric is a nice insurance policy.
There is also evidence that turmeric will keep you alive and "in the game" in a
hundred other ways: it protects, prevents and sometimes even helps with
arthritis, IBS, prostate cancer, (some forms of) prostatitis, Alzheimer's,
enlargement of the heart, diabetic neuropathy - the list just goes on and on.
Basically, every guy knows that offense brings in the crowds, but you win games
with a good defense, eh?
CAUTION: Of course, multigrams of turmeric are eaten regularly - daily in many cases - in Asian
cultures all over the world and side effects are quite rare. This gives turmeric one of the most
safe and undisputed anti-inflammatory records of all the superfoods. That said,
it can increase oxalates according to one study
and thus could potentially increase the risk of a kidney stone in sensitive individuals. It also does effect one of the
liver enzyme systems somewhat and so it is a good idea to check with your doctor if you are on any medications.
1) Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 1992, 36(4):273-275, "Effect of
oral curcumin administration on serum peroxides and cholesterol levels in human
2) Atherosclerosis, Dec 1999, 147(2):371–378, "Oral administration of a turmeric
extract inhibits LDL oxidation and has hypocholesterolemic effects in rabbits
with experimental atherosclerosis"
4) July 1997, 20(3): 165-168, "Effects of the antioxidant turmeric on lipoprotein
peroxides: Implications for the prevention of atherosclerosis"
5) Nutrition & Metabolism 2011, 8:72, "Spice up the hypertension diet - curcumin
and piperine prevent remodeling of aorta in experimental L-NAME induced
6) Hypertension Research, 2012, 35:418–425, "Tetrahydrocurcumin alleviates
hypertension, aortic stiffening and oxidative stress in rats with nitric oxide
7) International Journal of Cardiology, Apr 2009, 133(2):145-151, The protective
role of curcumin in cardiovascular diseases"
8) Journal of Vascular Surgery, Dec 2004, 40(6):1216–1222, "Curcumin blocks
homocysteine-induced endothelial dysfunction in porcine coronary arteries"
9) Zhongguo Ying Yong Sheng Li Xue Za Zhi, 2006 Aug,22(3):257-61, "Effect of
curcumin on pulmonary hypertension and wall collagen of pulmonary arterioles of
chronic hypoxic hypercapnic rats"
10) Nutr J, 2012 Sep 26, 11:79, "Diverse effects of a low dose supplement of lipidated curcumin in healthy middle aged people"