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J Sex Med. 2009 Mar;6 Suppl 3:254-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.01143.x.

Beneficial impact of exercise and obesity interventions on erectile function and its risk factors.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.



Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a multifaceted disease involving cardiovascular, metabolic, and hormonal factors and affects over 100 million men worldwide. ED has been shown to be a harbinger of underlying cardiovascular diseases (CVD), as there are common risk factors (aging, hypertension, obesity) and mechanistic basis.


To provide an update on clinical and experimental evidence regarding the impact of lifestyle modifications, such as exercise and diet, with respect to changes in erectile function.


Published evidence regarding the impact of aging, hypertension, and obesity on ED and CVD, as well as new experimental data linking obesity and diminished erectile responses.


We reviewed the literature regarding common risk factors of ED and CVD, particularly involving obesity, as well as performed new analysis on the findings of other experimental studies involving diet and exercise interventions.


Physical inactivity negatively impacts on erectile function, and experimental and clinical exercise interventions have been shown to improve sexual responses and overall cardiovascular health. Mediterranean-style diets and a reduction in caloric intake have been found to improve erectile function in men with the aspects of the metabolic syndrome. In addition, both clinical and experimental studies have confirmed that combining the two interventions provides additional benefit to erectile function, likely via reduced metabolic disturbances (e.g., inflammatory markers, insulin resistance), decreased visceral adipose tissue, and improvement in vascular function (e.g., increased endothelial function).


Lifestyle modifications provide significant benefits to vascular health and erectile function in a population that is increasingly aged and more obese.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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