Thanks for the support Spiderman. It seems to me that my experience and research is not necessarily the common thread that runs through this site so the research might not apply to everyone. Just a word about supplementation and herbs from my own experience.
I went out and bought the supplements that the article suggests will work. This morning after acupuncture and the supplements, I felt a bit anxious. I didn't sleep well and my mind was racing. So it is a question really of taking things easy and introducing the supplements slowly, one at a time and seeing what is working and what might be over stimulating. There is always an urge to overdose and sort things out as quickly as possible. There is the alternative of taking concentrated food sources, which I might revert to.
One of the things I do is to bite tablets in half, so that even the lowest dose can be built up over time, without suffering an undue reaction. I have found in the past taking supplements that nutrients can accumulate over time and over stimulate. I discovered this for myself back in 2002 when I was interested in nootropics- herbs and nutrition for the brain. In that regard I have been wary of 5-HTP for serotonin, which I felt (and this might be totally wrong) over time increased my levels of adrenaline radically, made me anxious and disrupted my sleep. The solution of course is to stop, because by that point you have overdosed. Also the 5- HTP contained vitamin B6 for transport across the blood brain barrier, which I felt interrupted my sleep even when I stopped the 5- HTP and was simply taking B vitamins. When I stopped both or even had vitamin B6 with ZMA, I had the same sleep problems, so when I eventually stopped everything I had restful sleep. I notice the B vitamins I recently purchased all have amounts 6-10 times above the recommended daily RDA, so I might only take this every other day and split them in half.
As for the articles, as I have suggested I have been dealing with this problem for five years, though I had two main periods of researching the issue, back in 2006, and now having been laid off, in the last 3 months. I had thought that finally leaving the stress of work behind and combined with acupuncture I would finally get over the ED and libido problem. However I realised within the first month off, that this wasn't going to happen, and I would have to help the acupuncture along myself. You can guess from my postings why I had given up on my doctor/doctors.
Back in 2006, all research I could find related ED back to falling testosterone levels, and age related decline. At 37 I went through a period of thinking I had become a old man, and feeling a wimp. I was certainly less vigorous physically than my father who is in his 70's. Of course my doctor reinforced that feeling- telling me I had age related libido problems. So it came as a shock the other evening when I read all this stuff about acetylcholine and dopamine-it was the first time that any article I had read had not put testosterone at the centre of the problem.
Anecdotally some of this made sense to me. Back on the 15th January 2006 (indelibly imprinted on my mind as the first day I had the headaches that would result in brain surgery) I had taken some Tribulus Terrestris and was in the most uncontrollably foul aggressive/violent out of character mood, and went home because I also had headaches. I was also concerned I was going to hit someone. I was horned out of my head, but couldn't get an erection without manual stimulation. So that concerned me, because I suspected the TT was spiking testosterone well beyond my normal range, and I still wasn't hard!
Other suspicions centred around the fact that even in the months after surgery in February 2006, I was getting morning erections that woke me up- something that has seemingly evaded me for the intervening years until my recent unemployment- and I am conscious of them again. Mind you they aren't as stiff as I would wish. I was also growing facial hair at the same rate as always, so unless that is not related to the same testosterone effects, that seemed to suggest my testosterone hadn't changed much. I wonder now whether this is in keeping with the article which draws a contrast between the mechanism for nocturnal and waking erections?
Sorry if this is too much information. I don't know if this is relevant but....another unexplained thing happened too in summer 2006, when a women I fancied at work wrote me a sexy e-mail. I literally and somewhat embarrassingly had an erection at work that I couldn't stop for about 10 minutes. Something had been switched on that was dormant, something had gotten through. So again I knew I had a latent capacity there, but still didn't know what the master switch was. At this juncture I was thinking it was a psychological barrier. Incidentally I went to a hypnotist/counsellor mostly to reprogramme my mind from stressful thinking, who told me my impotence was all in the mind (bullshit); though I did manage an erection under hypnosis.
Then as I have also mentioned the acupuncture I was now involved in gave me a bit of a horny jolt in 2008, when the needles were inserted in my spine. But it only happened once. Was this stimulating/ unblocking the spinal link that the acetylcholine flowed along from brain to penis? I can't remember whether I had a decent erection, but I do remember feeling unduly horny again. I decided that the other position I was previously laid out on, was more comfortable and that since I was interested in stress relief that I would lie on my back. If stress was the problem at one point when I was secure and serene for long enough, I would get my mojo back.
My stress needs to be seen in the context of wholesale changes to my job and a reduction in my status as a result of being off from brain surgery- and the fact that the £130 million business I was working for was falling apart. Also fears put in my head by my doctor about the strength of my skull cap and new bullying chains of command at work, put me on edge. The business was taken over and we were then threatened with redundancy which took up until August 2011 to come to fruition.
What I hadn't realised was that stress actually physically damages the body, and the research attached to this and my other thread, suggests a myriad ways in which this plays out. I wouldn't be surprised that the two different ailments adrenal fatigue and depletion of my neurotransmitters compromised both waking and nocturnal erection mechanisms at the same time. That's if such a theoretical separation is valid.
Personally I think I could have gotten over all of this years ago, with the right advice. My reactions to events have often been off the scale in terms of the panic reaction I have had internally, though I managed to keep a straight face to the outside world. I read that depletion of B vitamins such as B12 can cause this. So if it wasn't bad enough that I had a lot of issues ref redundancy, brain surgery, impotence- the lack of b vitamins was exacerbating everything and causing me to get more stressed and more depleted across a number of different bio chemical systems.
When was the last time anyone's doctor suggested a course of vitamins? You can supposedly get everything from diet, but when you have been heavily compromised the only way to restore the balance is to get away from the source of stress, and take an extended holiday. And then you will only be restored through a very healthy focused diet. But doctors won't acknowledge that vitamins could bridge that gap even more swiftly- in my opinion for reasons of completely vested interests. So then in the way the problem is framed it becomes my poor diet that is the issue and surely I should know what foods are healthy? Ergo the doctor is let off the hook and it is patients fault.
It annoys me that the economy and society loses people off the work register for months at a time on the advice of doctor's when they could be productive much sooner. It is like they want to reduce health maintenance to a blend of big pharma drugs and time off work recuperating, both of which are costly and neither of which directly attack the simple underlying problem. It's not quite a cover up, just a convenient subterfuge- a bit like pretending Santa exists to kids at Xmas
Doctors are happy (and rich), drug companies are happy (and rich), patients (think they) are happy.
In the three months off I had after surgery, I think the trauma was too much to use that short period to recover from both the surgery and the impotence. And then I was back at work, and still needing healthful nutrition and more rest- but I stupidly persevered- in part because I still thought my doctor may have been right that impotence was related to age in some way; and of course because I needed to try and get my career back on track.
Back to your post Spiderman. My latest take on things is that testosterone would not seem to be the only issue reference Libido and erectile dysfunction, though testosterone is clearly a major part of the orchestra of hormones and neurontransmitters that are required. I was never actually depressed, ironically- though I am led to believe that my anxiety could have lead to depression. I mean even psychologically I can imagine that once you have frantically exhausted all possibilities to heal yourself, the act of giving in, must yield itself to depression- no doubt as your dopamine reserves hit rock bottom.
Reference Sport: I trained 3 days a week in 2005, and even trained post surgery at home, to get rid of my spare tire (again working on the aromatase idea- that gut fat destroyed testosterone). But I could neither get rid of the fat or felt better as a result. I think I was probably producing too much exercise related cortisol which in my compromised state, probably diminished testosterone further. So I then went through the last 4 years without any exercise, also because I felt lethargic. I attempted to walk up a mountain in the Scottish highlands about 3 years ago and it was embarrassing. I had no energy and had to stop every 50 yards. Even the smokers in our party got to the summit an hour ahead of me. I would be keen to do something, and will probably try walking as a gentle entrée.
In the meantime at some point I need to get back to work, though I feel that I deserved a rest. I was fortunate enough (!?) to have been panicked into taking out unemployment insurance so I am not on the breadline- but I do need to pick up soon. Anyway even if you don't have the same issues as me, I think it is interesting to read how things can get out of hand and how far they can go. I suspect I could have had a breakdown, and then visits to psychiatrists who would have labelled me with some syndrome or other. And because they are authority figures, I would have been compelled to believe them. To my mind it shows how simple solutions to basic problems can be overlooked by the medical profession and then become overblown into some dubious illness that requires expensive care. I would be intrigued to know how many medical problems start out in that manner. Clearly modern medicine does perform many miracles, it's just that there are some major gaps in understanding, attitude and twisted vested interests imho.