Trouble with parts not functioning properly downstairs often translates to heart issues with ripple effects throughout the body. Endothelial dysfunction is at the root of this vicious cycle. What is it, exactly? The endothelium is the delicate lining of the blood vessels that can become damage and oxidized as a result of attacks by free radicals or simple imbalances between dilation and constriction of blood vessels.
When the endothelium sustains damage, it lays the foundation for plaque buildup in the arteries. Make it to this stage and you’re well on your way to heart disease – yikes!
Because of their very nature, smaller arteries often become blocked first. Can you guess where some of these delicate arteries are located? That’s right fellas, downstairs. Anyone who’s lived through the terribly awkward “sex ed” classes taught in middle schools across the country knows that an erection is caused by blood flowing to the penis. No blood flow, no erection.
Fast Facts: People with a history of erectile troubles and a history of heart issues were found to have a 60% greater chance of visiting the hospital for a heart-related problem.
5 Nutrients for Healthy Arteries
As Linus Pauling said, “Nearly all disease can be traced to a nutritional deficiency.” There’s an abundance of research on the ability of certain nutrients to help support cardiovascular health. It all boils down to helping build collagen, reducing free radical damage, and helping the body properly use cholesterol to support smooth, healthy arteries. Here are a few of the top nutrients that both boost cardiovascular health and help fuel the fire in the bedroom.
- Vitamin C. Hands down the most important vitamin for cardiovascular function, vitamin C’s amazing benefits were made known by Dr. Linus Pauling. According to Pauling, cardiovascular health can be strongly supported by providing the body sufficient amounts of vitamin C, which helps maintain the healthy production of collagen, a vital component for healthy arteries.
- L-arginine is converted in the body to nitric oxide, a chemical involved in smooth muscle function. When nitric oxide is present, it signals the cells in the smooth muscle of the blood vessels to relax so blood can pass through. Over time, L-arginine is thought to help train arteries to be more elastic and improve microcirculation in the smaller arteries of the body.
- L-proline is an amino acid that helps cholesterol move in the body to exactly the places it is needed, like your brain, while making sure it doesn’t get stuck in the places it’s not needed, like your arteries.
- L-lysine, another amino acid, helps proteins move through the body properly. It also plays an important role in fat and glucose metabolism and helps the body produce L-carnitine, another essential heart health nutrient.
- Grape seed extract is full of proanthocyanidins, compounds that kick oxidative damage to the curb and stimulate immediate relaxation of the arteries so blood can flow freely. Grape seed extract is often seen as a cheaper, well-researched, and more readily available alternative to pycnogenol, an extract of pine bark that also contains proanthocyanidins.