Pistachio nuts versus impotence
A small study done by doctors at Ataturk Teaching and Research Hospital in Ankara indicates that a diet containing pistachio nuts can help mild forms of impotence. A daily 100g of these nuts should be enough, according to an article in the International Journal of Impotence Research.
The researchers did an experiment with 17 married men aged between 38 and 59, who had complained of impotence for at least a year.
From the literature the researchers knew that there is a relationship between cardiovascular problems such as a high level of LDL ['bad cholesterol'] and impotence. They also knew that a high intake of nuts has many positive effects on the cardiovascular system.
So the researchers put two and two together and got the impotent men to eat 100 grams pistachio nuts with their lunch, every day for three weeks. Before the experiment started and at the end they completed a standard questionnaire with their subjects on impotence, the IIEF-15.
The men's scores improved considerably, as the table below shows. Their erectile function [EF] score rose from 12.1 to 21.4, going from 'moderate dysfunction' to 'mild dysfunction'.
In the figure above TC stands for total cholesterol and TG for triglyceride. The figure shows that the men's cardiovascular scores improved.
The researchers think that the relatively high L-arginine content of pistachio nuts has something to do with the improvements. This amino acid helps the blood vessels in the penis to dilate. The researchers also suspect that pistachio nuts contain substances that inhibit blood clotting and therefore make the blood thinner. This would also help erectile function.
The research is controversial however. One criticism of the researchers is that they did not use a control group. [Int J Impot Res. 2011 Jul; 23(4): 180.] It's quite possible that the improvement in sexual functioning was due to the placebo effect.
Int J Impot Res. 2011 Jan-Feb;23(1):32-8.
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