Should Your Doctor Be Prescribing Sunshine For Erectile Dysfunction, Coronary Artery & Peripheral Artery Disease?
Anything that causes blockage of blood flow or prevents the relaxation of blood vessels can contribute to cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Poor diet, little exercise and lack of sunlight exposure form a combination that devastates vessel health and reduces the flexibility of those vessels. Among the CVD are coronary artery disease (CAD), intermittent claudication (painful oxygen restriction to the legs), ischemia of the brain leading to strokes, peripheral artery disease (PAD) and… erectile dysfunction (ED). Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve or maintain erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse. It affects an incredible 40 per cent of men older than 40 and 70 per cent of those over the age of 70.
ED is considered one of the major predictors of CVD. It is caused by inability of the blood vessels in the penis to become engorged with blood, causing an erection. When the process takes place normally, the three vessels in the penis are stimulated by nitric oxide (NO), they then relax, and blood flows into the penis, allowing erection to take place. An erection is a vascular event yet can also be affected by neurogenic, psychogenic and hormonal changes. The same effect is seen in blood pressure decreases caused by NO after sunlight exposure.
Ultraviolet A (UVA) light stimulation of the skin causes the release of NO from pre-formed stores of NO in the skin. NO is a potent vasodilator, and when it is released into the arteries by UVA stimulation, causes increased blood flow and lowers blood pressure. The same nitric oxide mechanism that lowers blood pressure, would seem to be a good method to treat ED. After all, drugs for ED, such as Viagra and Cialis, work by enhancing the effects of nitric oxide. Reasonable and careful sunlight exposure is free and makes you feel so much better.
I have often seen vitamin D deficiency along side insulin resistance with patients who have chronic pain, cardiometabolic disease and yes… a past medical Hx of erectile dysfunction. Although vitamin D probably has a positive affect on ED, the UVA portion of sunlight has a nearly immediate effect in dilating the blood vessels. through the production of nitric oxide (NO) that is absolutely necessary for producing an erection.
So what should you do? Make the sun a part of your daily life in reasonable amounts from 7am – noon. There is no substitute for sunlight not even Vitamin D supplements. Nothing can replicate it, nor its effects on us. Sunlight is not just therapy, sunlight is life. Bask in it. Your 100 trillion cells and DNA will thank you for it.