Treating erectile dysfunction with watermelon may sound bizarre, but it can actually help. Studies are showing that by eating more watermelon men with mild erectile dysfunction (ED) can achieve stronger and more sustained erections.
Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (e.g. Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis) are the most commonly used treatment options for ED. Although they work quickly, the side effects of these medications can be unappealing. While watermelon doesn’t have a rapid result, eaten regularly this fruit can make a big difference. The best news is that it’s cheap, natural and has no side effects.
Coined as the ‘natural Viagra’, watermelon also has other health benefits. Rich in vitamin C, the antioxidant activity of this fruit can help to keep the body healthy and boost the immune system.
Watermelon is enjoyed by many people around the world and frequently consumed during the warmer months due to its high water content and refreshing flavour. Although over 90% water, this fruit also contains high concentrations of an amino acid called L-citrulline. It’s this nutrient that has the potential for mild case of ED without other interventions. L-citrulline is converted into another amino acid called L-arginine.
For the body to achieve strong, lasting erections it needs plenty of nitric oxide (NO). This is a natural compound that enables blood vessel dilation. The precursor of NO is L-arginine. With higher concentrations of L-citrulline in the body, L-arginine levels also rise and this improves blood circulation by increasing NO availability.
Some men take L-arginine supplements to help naturally support better erections. However, headaches and nausea are side effects of this treatment for some men. Consequently boosting L-citrulline levels may be a less disruptive option.
Enhancing sexual function with L-citrulline
Oral supplementation with L-citrulline has been found to safely and effectively boost L-arginine levels in recent studies. This results in higher NO concentrations and subsequently can help to improve sexual function.
Scientists working in Italy’s University of Foggia conducted a study looking at the use of L-citrulline to treat mild erectile dysfunction1. Twenty-four men with mild erectile dysfunction and a mean age of 57 participated in the study conducted over a period of two months. Participants were randomly issued an oral placebo for one month, followed by a month of taking an oral dose of L-citrulline.
Several assessments were made to ascertain the effectiveness of L-citrulline in the treatment of mild erectile dysfunction. This included the frequency of intercourse each month, any adverse side effects, and participant satisfaction.
One of the key measures was the Erection Hardness Score (EHS). This scale ranges from 0 (no penis enlargement) through to 4 (penis completely hard and fully rigid). During this study researchers found that L-citrulline supplementation improved the participants EHS significantly.
Half of the men taking part in this study with an EHS of 3 increased their score to 4 after taking this amino acid supplement. Conversely, only two participants reported increasing their EHS to 4 while taking the placebo.
Sexual activity was also reported to increase after L-citrulline supplementation. Men who achieved an EHS of 4 were reportedly more sexually satisfied by the end of this study.
How much watermelon should you eat for a better sex life?
It’s been suggested that four servings per day of watermelon can help to improve EHS. If you prefer yellow watermelon, then only one serving per day is necessary as it has a higher concentration of L-citrulline. Meat, legumes, and nuts are also good sources of this amino acid. Anywhere between 2 and 15 grams of L-citrulline per day is well tolerated by the body2. If you don’t like watermelon, there is always the option of taking a supplement containing L-citrulline.
- “Cormio, L. et. al. (2011). Oral L-citrulline supplementation improves erection hardness in men with mild erectile dysfunction. Urology, Volume 77, Issue 1, (pp. 119-22).” ↩
- “Moinard, C. et.al. (2008). Dose-ranging effects of citrulline administration on plasma amino acids and hormonal patterns in healthy subjects: the Citrudose pharmacokinetic study. British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 99, Issue 4, (pp. 855-62).” ↩