To understand how the keto diet can help with erectile dysfunction, it is essential to know that, like many other disorders, erectile dysfunction (ED) has a strong relationship to a faulty lifestyle.
Most non-infectious diseases are on the rise. The majority of the adult population is living with one or another kind of illness related to wrong lifestyle choices. Thus, conditions like hypertension, diabetes, dementia, and depression are all on the rise.
Since metabolic and lifestyle are interrelated, steps taken to counter one of the conditions might help with other disorders. Dietary changes and physical activity help overcome ED.
Some of the Common Causes of ED
It is no secret that ED is much more common in those living with diabetes, hypertension, and other vascular diseases (1). Obese people are also poor performers in bed.
There are many preventable risk factors for ED, like tobacco use and alcohol abuse. Certain medications used to treat chronic conditions are bad for sexual health.
A high-sugar diet and insulin resistance are particularly harmful to sexual life, as they may cause vascular diseases.
One should not underestimate the role of psychological risk factors. Thus, those living with depression, anxiety, and stress are also at high risk (2).
What Is a Keto Diet, and How Does It Work?
In the Keto diet, one tries to give up the consumption of carbs almost entirely. Thus, as a rule, one must not get more than 5% of calories from carbs. It means that most of the calories must come from fats. At the same time, the intake of protein remains unaltered (3).
When a person starts excluding carbs from the diet, it forces the body to get most of its energy by burning fats. For this purpose, the body has to streamline alternate pathways of getting energy, like increasing the production of ketone bodies (4).
When a person starts a diet, he may initially feel weakness and may even experience a reduction in sexual desire. However, after a few weeks of adaptation, one begins to feel much better. Once the body has adapted to the new kind of diet, there is a renewed and even stronger interest in sex.
Since one has eliminated carbs from the body, it does not require much insulin. Over time, this reduces insulin resistance. Some people may completely reverse insulin resistance with such a diet.
It is worth knowing that although the keto diet is high in fats, it is not high in calories. Following a keto diet is not as simple as one needs to learn more about what to eat and what not to consume.
Food Items Suitable for the Keto Diet
A wrong choice of food items may spoil the whole purpose of switching to such a diet. A Keto diet will not work if dietary carbs are above 5% of the daily intake (5).
Therefore, choose food items that are high in fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds. Foods that are good for the keto diet are eggs, poultry, meat, full-fat dairy products, nuts and seeds, butter, and other healthy fats. Spices and condiments may help improve flavor and make such a meal more palatable.
Foods to Avoid in the Keto Diet
Avoid anything high in carbs. Thus, one needs to give up bread and baked products, biscuits, sweets, and sugary food items, pasta, starch vegetables like potatoes.
One must also restrict the intake of beans and legumes. Many fruits are high in carbs; thus, one can only have a small portion of them. One should also use sauces and dressing sparingly.
A Keto diet also means avoiding alcoholic drinks high in sugars, like beer or large amounts of wine.
How Can Keto Diet Help With ED?
Now, coming to the primary question, how can such a diet help with erectile dysfunction? Well, it works in multiple ways by boosting the metabolism, thus improving overall health and increasing testosterone levels (6, 7).
The Keto diet is known to help fight obesity, though it is high in fats, not high in total calorie intake. The switching of the body to fats for its energy needs makes the fat-burning process more efficient. With the help of the keto diet and lifestyle changes, one may even overcome stubborn fat accumulations.
In men, the female hormone estrogen is mainly produced by the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in fat cells. The lower amount of fat means higher testosterone and less estrogen, which may finally result in improved libido and better erectile function.
A Keto diet is right for brain health. It is particularly useful for those who frequently have seizures. It might also help reduce stress, help overcome depression, and improve the quality of sleep. These benefits are ultimately translated into a harder erection on sexual arousal.
Reduced insulin resistance is another vital pathway through which it can enhance erectile function in males. A low-carb diet means a low need for insulin. It revives insulin sensitivity. Higher sensitivity towards insulin has a positive impact on the quality of penile erection.
A Keto diet also helps improve cardiovascular health. It is well known that vascular pathologies lead to the worsening of sexual function. In many cases, ED may be one of the earliest indications of worsening cardiac health.
To conclude, ED is often the result of the wrong dietary and other lifestyle choices. Switching to a keto diet may help reset the body and help regain sexual power. It will not happen instantly, as the body needs time to get used to such a diet, but benefits are visible from the second month of practicing such a diet.