Wednesday, April 02, 2014
How statins could boost your love life: Cholesterol lowering drugs 'reduce erectile dysfunction'
This is self-report data so should be treated with caution
Statins are known for lowering cholesterol but they could also improve your love life, according to a new study. American researchers have found the commonly used drugs may benefit men with erectile dysfunction.
They now hope their findings will encourage men with high cholesterol to take their medication.
Erectile dysfunction is common in older men, especially among those with heart problems, for which cholesterol-lowering statins are frequently prescribed.
Previous research has suggested that taking statins can negatively affect testosterone levels. This has led to questions about the effects of the widely used medication on the quality of erections.
In the first analysis of previous studies on erectile dysfunction and statins, researchers identified 11 trials that measured erectile function using the International Index of Erectile Function.
The IIEF is a self-administered survey with five questions, each scored on a five-point scale and totalled, with lower values representing poorer sexual function.
Analysis of all 11 studies combined found a statistically significant effect of statins on erectile function in men who had both high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction.
Overall, erectile function scores rose by 3.4 points in men who took statins - from 14.0 to 17.4.
This represents a 24.3 per cent improvement.
'The increase in erectile function scores with statins was approximately one-third to one-half of what has been reported with drugs like Viagra, Cialis or Levitra,' said study lead investigator Dr John Kostis, director of the Cardiovascular Institute and associate dean for Cardiovascular Research at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
‘It was larger than the reported effect of lifestyle modification. For men with erectile dysfunction who need statins to control cholesterol, this may be an extra benefit.’
He believes that statins may work to improve erectile function by helping blood vessels dilate properly and improving vascular blood flow to the penis, which is often restricted in men with erectile dysfunction.
He added that while statins are not recommended as a primary treatment for erectile dysfunction in patients with healthy cholesterol levels, the added benefit may encourage more men who need statins to take them.
Dr Kostis added: ‘Rather than preventing the possibility of a heart attack in the future, the more immediate benefit of improving erectile function might improve adherence to statin therapy.’
Erectile dysfunction affects millions of men and occurs more often in those over the age of 40. Common causes include heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, tobacco use, depression and stress.
Dr Kostis said that larger trials are needed to further investigate the link between statin therapy and erectile function.
The study was published online by the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
Forget five a day, we should eat SEVEN a day for a long life: Eating more portions of fruit and veg can cut risk of dying prematurely by 42%
This is self report data, not experimental data, and most likely shows that middle class people, who are healthier anyway, are more likely to say they eat lots of fruit and veg -- whether they do or not
Eating seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day - two more than currently recommended - helps you live longer, claim researchers.
A new study shows that more fruit and veg slashes the risk of premature death by 42 per cent, compared with less than one helping a day.
Boosting consumption cuts the chances of dying from cancer by a quarter and heart-related deaths by one third.
Some experts want guidelines advising people to eat 5-a-day changed on the back of the study from University College London.
In particular, they say the new research shows a 17 per cent increased risk of death from canned and frozen fruit, and little benefit from fruit juice - currently counting towards 5-a-day.
But others believe moving the goalposts to 7-a-day will deter people from even trying to eat a healthier diet.
At present, only one in four Britons manages to eat 5-a-day and just one in 10 teenagers. Lead author Dr Oyinlola Oyebode of UCL's Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, said the effect was 'staggering'.
She said: 'The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. Vegetables have a larger effect than fruit, but fruit still makes a real difference.
'However, people shouldn't feel daunted by a big target like seven. Whatever your starting point, it is always worth eating more fruit and vegetables.
'In our study even those eating one to three portions had a significantly lower risk than those eating less than one.'
The study investigated the eating habits of 65,000 people in England between 2001 and 2013 based on their self-reported consumption of 80g portions of fruit and vegetables in the preceding 24 hours.
Deaths were recorded up to seven years later, with a total of 4,399 dying during the study period.
It found seven or more helpings a day reduced a person's overall risk of death by 42 per cent compared with one portion a day.
Those eating five to seven a day had a 36 per cent cut in risk of death, while three to five portions reduced it by 29 per cent.
Eating one to three helpings of fruit and veg was linked to a 14 per cent reduced risk of death, says the study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
Fresh vegetables had the strongest protective effect, followed by salad and then fruit.
Frozen or tinned fruit increased the risk of premature death, but experts say this could reflect shortcomings in people's overall diet including heavy reliance on processed food.
The study calls for the 5-a-day message based on World Health Organisation guidance to be revised upwards, and possibly exclude portions of dried and tinned fruit, smoothies and fruit juice which contain large amounts of sugar.
Others say it is too soon to change a public health message that is widely understood.
Brian Ratcliffe, Professor of Nutrition at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, said: 'The people eating the highest levels of fruit and vegetables in this study were also likely to display other healthy characteristics such as lower prevalence of overweight, higher activity levels and fewer smokers.
'The call to increase the 5-a-day advice seems a little premature considering that most people do not achieve this target and the differences between 5-a-day and 7-a-day in this study are small.'
Professor Tom Sanders, head of the Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences Division at King's College London, said a trial carried out by his unit failed to show improved blood pressure or heart risk from eating more than 5-a-day.
He said: 'While advice to eat five portions of fruit and vegetable a day is well accepted, there is little other evidence to suggest that eating more is better.'
Dr Nita Forouhi, MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, said: 'It is too early to change the current 5-a-day message to seven or more a day on the basis of this study.
'Current efforts will therefore be better spent in getting the population intake to meet the guideline of eating at least 5-a-day, which offers a win-win for all.'
Posted by jonjayray at 12:18 AM