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High Performance Man - Q and A Part One

2011.27.09

Below is Part One of the answers to questions asked after the High Performance Man event on Sept. 20. The repsponses below are short versions - for the full answers including sources please visit our resource page for the event.

Q: Does long-distance cycling affect fertility?
A: There is a significant relationship between cycling-induced perineal compression leading to vascular, endothelial, and neurogenic dysfunction in men and the development of ED. Infertility more likely results from compression of the testicles tightly against the body in bicycle shorts resulting in subsequent temperature increase, which reduces sperm quality. Studies suggest, no overall association between regular physical activity and semen quality, except bicycling ≥ 5 h/wk was associated with lower sperm concentration and total motile sperm count.
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Q: Viagra increases blood flow – can niacin or a niacin flush increase circulation to the penis in the same manner?
A: Taking oral niacin dilates blood vessels and creates a sensation of warmth, called a "niacin flush", which is often accompanied with a blushing of the skin and a feeling of warmth. Taking niacin prior to sex, many claim, increases tactile sensations, and enhancing orgasms. However, the dilation of the blood vessels does not include those in the penile tubes to give an erection per se. Studies looking at niacin as a lipid-lowering agent as an alternative to statin drug use (statins have been shown to reduce ED in men with mild to moderate erectile problems but can have unwanted side-effects), can improve the erectile function in patients suffering from moderate to severe ED and dyslipidemia.
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Q: How effective are phalloplasty? Does a bigger penis still equal frank penis?
A: Phalloplasty means the construction of a new phallus for the purpose of having penetrative sex, and of being bale to stand at a urinal and void. Persons who have had traumatic accidents and lost their penis or who are undergoing sex reassignment surgery are candidates for Phalloplasty. A person with an intact, normal functioning penis would not be a candidate, regardless of the size of the penis. Phalloplasty is major construction utilizing large skin grafts/flaps with a source of rigidity within the rolled tube ( bone, insets) as the Phalloplasty itself does not have erectile ability. There are often problems with the urethra tube construction and fistulas between the urinary tube and bowel developing. It is a major surgery only undertaken for specific medical indications.
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Q: Are Zinc supplements helpful for men’s sexual health? If so, in what amounts?
A: Zinc levels are typically found to be high in seminal plasma (mainly from the prostate gland), and may act as a protective antioxidant and antibacterial agent. However, these levels get diluted by the vaginal and cervical fluids immediately after ejaculation. Low zinc levels in the semen are correlated with inflammatory conditions (extra white cells), toxic heavy metals in the testes, chronic prostatitis and frequent ejaculation. Low zinc content of semen can affect sperm quality through reduced antioxidant capacity or poor counteractivity of toxic metal effects. However, more studies need to be done to see whether zinc supplementation in men with subnormal zinc levels or subnormal semen parameters is actually effective and improves function.
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