Sunshine, Blueberries, Nitric Oxide and Peak Sexual Function. Better than Viagra and Cialis?

Sunshine, Blueberries, Nitric Oxide and Peak Sexual Function. Better than Viagra and Cialis?

By: Marc Sorenson, EdD Sunlight Institute–

Now that I have your undivided attention, let’s delve into this unusual title. On the Sunlight Institute site, I have discussed the healthful effects of nitric oxide (NO) several times; it is a potent vasodilator, meaning it relaxes the blood vessels, allowing the blood to pass more easily through the vessels. This relaxation, as might be expected, leads to lowered blood pressure.[1] [2]

The skin contains large quantities of nitrates and nitrites, which when stimulated by sun exposure are broken down to NO, thereby increasing NO quantity in the body’s circulation.[3] [4] It is well-known that high blood pressure also leads to erectile dysfunction (ED) by inhibiting the erectile arteries from relaxing to allow blood flow into the penis.[5] We may hypothesize from this information that sunlight exposure, by increasing NO quantities in the blood vessels and thereby enabling them to carry the blood necessary for an erection, could be a very important therapy for ED.

Viagra, Cialis and other such ED drugs act by keeping NO in circulation for a longer period. But they don’t work in about one-third of the cases. Sunlight may be a better choice!

So where do blueberries enter this equation? Blueberry consumption dramatically increases NO in the blood. In fact, in an eight-week experiment, blueberry powder (22 gm/day) increased serum levels of NO 60% when compared to a placebo.[6] Blueberries, of course are one of the world’s most healthful fruits, ranking at the top with tart cherries, pomegranates, and raspberries, probably due to their exceptionally high levels of antioxidants. These fruits also protect the skin, likely due to the antioxidant load they provide.

Women may also suffer from erectile dysfunction, so this is important information for both husbands and wives. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to participate daily in two of our favorite activities, eating blueberries and sunbathing, and as an added bonus bring new health to the body and new excitement to the love life? It doesn’t get any better than that!



[3] D Liu, BO Fernandez, NN Lang, JM Gallagher, DE Newby, M Feelisch and RB Weller. UVA lowers blood pressure and vasodilates the systemic arterial vasculature by mobilization of cutaneous nitric oxide stores. Photobiology Abstract # 1247 May 2013.
[4] Opländer C, Volkmar CM, Paunel-Görgülü A, van Faassen EE, et al. Whole body UVA irradiation lowers systemic blood pressure by release of nitric oxide from intracutaneous photolabile nitric oxide derivates. Circ Res. 2009;105:1031–40. – See more at: http://www.sunlightinstitute.org/could-sunlight-deficiency-lead-erectile…

[6] Johnson SA, Figueroa A, Navaei N, Wong A, Kalfon R, Ormsbee LT, Feresin RG, Elam ML, Hooshmand S, Payton ME, Arjmandi BH. Daily Blueberry Consumption Improves Blood Pressure and Arterial Stiffness in Postmenopausal Women with Pre- and Stage 1-Hypertension: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.

– See more at: http://sunlightinstitute.org/sunshine-blueberries-nitric-oxide-and-peak-sexual-function-better-viagra-and-cialis#sthash.QlJ3cgLX.dpuf

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