Researchers in Turkey took 17 men with erectile dysfunction and gave them 100 grams of pistachios for lunch every day for 3 weeks. They measured their International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) scores and penile color Doppler ultrasound (PCDU) parameters before and after and found that both were improved on the diet. Not only that, but their cholesterol levels improved too. They published the results of their research in the International Journal of Impotence Research if you want more details.
We’ve known for a while that nuts are a healthy source of protein, fiber, good fats and other healthy phytochemicals. Pistochios are apparently also a great source of anti-oxidants and arginine – two substances that help improve blood flow and blood vessel dilation.
This is pretty exciting news – I don’t know exact prices, but I’m pretty sure a bag of pistachios is cheaper than a box of Viagra – but before you go out and raid Whole Foods in preparation for your Summer of Mad McLovin’ 2011 Tour, it’s important to put this in perspective. It was only 17 guys, who were all older and had bad cholesterol so their erectile dysfunction was due in large part to blood flow problems. For most college and graduate students the plumbing is fine; the problem usually lies elsewhere, either above or below the belt.
That being said, unless you have an allergy to nuts it probably won’t hurt to see if pistachios give you a little boost. Just don’t rely solely on the produce department – if you’re having problems with erectile function, make sure you see your health care provider to get checked out.
John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University