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Opinions of Monday, 9 October 2017

Columnist: Raphael Nyarkotey Obu:PhD

Advantages of watermelon over hibiscus tea in treating erectile dysfunction

Recently, I wrote an article on erectile dysfunction and the Hibiscus plant.

In a reply post on Facebook, one Medical Doctor in Nigeria asked a question” between Watermelon and Hibiscus Tea which is more effective for Erectile Dysfunction? Below is his unedited comment on my Facebook wall from Nigeria…”

Thanks for the evidence based explanation. Exploring natural and safe alternatives in face of increasing disease of public health importance cannot be discarded. Firstly, nitric oxide pathway is an important mechanisms that cannot be overlooked.

Secondly, fruits like watermelon can also boost nitric oxide level because of is richness in citrulline which is a precursor to arginine and arginine is an important amino acid for endogenous synthesis of nitric oxide... .If I may ask, does watermelon consumption has a better efficacy in treating erectile dysfunction of arterial disease than hibiscus tea consumption. Thanks once again Dr Obu”.

The fact
Watermelon contains an amino acid called citrulline that can be helpful in defeating erectile dysfunction.

More precisely, citrulline is also converted into another amino acid called arginine, which is more directly responsible for improving erectile function. In this current article; I will provide you with reviews on erectile dysfunction relating to watermelon and draw the final dagger between watermelon and Hibiscus tea with research-based evidence from my previous findings on the hibiscus tea.

So could watermelon also be good for my sex life? Obviously, you may be happy if you are among the men experiencing or those concerned to strengthen their manhood. “Whether you’re unable to achieve and maintain an erection occasionally, frequently, or all the time, the emotional anguish can be life-altering.

For men in a committed relationship, impotence can put a great deal of stress and strain on a couple, while men who are living a different lifestyle may feel reluctant to initiate sexual relations with anyone because they are afraid they won’t be able to perform. For men who are looking for ways to manage or overcome this sexual challenge, there are a wide range of options. Some men turn to oral drugs (e.g., Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Staxyn, Stendra) while others consider penis pumps, injectable medications, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, counseling, suppositories, or a combination of these approaches.

Believe it or not, some foods can be helpful in facing the challenge of erectile dysfunction, and watermelon happens to be one of them. What’s so special about watermelon?” (

Research on Watermelon and Erectile Dysfunction

Watermelon contains high amounts of L-citrulline. This is a nonessential amino acid. Once it’s taken up by your nitric oxide system, it then promotes blood vessel dilation. As a result, your blood pressure decreases. Blood flow also improves.

L-citrulline may help stimulate enzymes called cGMPs. They play a direct role in blood flow. The thought is that more L-citrulline consumption could help improve ED. Unscientific accounts of L-citrulline are numerous on the internet, especially by supplement manufacturers.

In terms of scientific data, a few studies have looked at the role of L-citrulline in ED. One study published in Urology found that 24 men who took supplements over the course of a month noted improvements in mild ED symptoms. Another study looked at the effect of watermelon extract on male rats’ sexual activity and found an increase in activity. More long-term research needs to be conducted to explore the efficacy and overall safety of L-citrulline.

Citrulline has the ability to relax the blood vessels, which in turn improves blood flow. For men who suffer with erectile dysfunction, impaired blood flow to and within the penis is a critical factor, and so it makes sense that a substance likes citrulline could help with erectile dysfunction.

Mechanism of Citrulline

Let’s see how citrulline influences sexual activity. In reality, it’s not the citrulline itself that may act to improve erectile dysfunction, but another amino acid called arginine. When you consume the supplement citrulline or a food that contains citrulline, the body converts it into arginine. Arginine is a precursor (something that comes before or promotes) nitric oxide, a substance that plays a critical role in relaxing blood vessels so blood flow improves and, obviously , a better chance an erection will occur.

But there’s a drawback with arginine: if you take an arginine supplement, much of its benefit is lost because it is metabolized in the body.

Therefore, taking citrulline as a supplement or perhaps even in the form of watermelon could boost arginine levels and thus help with erectile dysfunction.

According to Bhimu Patil, PhD, director of the Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center at Texas A&M University in College Station, a four-ounce serving of watermelon contains about 150 milligrams of citrulline, as noted in a WebMD report. But how much watermelon does a man need to eat before he can experience an improvement in erectile function?

How Much Watermelon Men Need to Take

For now, no one knows. However, a study in Italy and published in Urology may provide a clue. The authors of the study reported that an oral supplement of citrulline was shown to be effective in improving erection hardness in men who suffered with mild erectile dysfunction, which ranks a 3 on the hardness score. A total of 24 men (average age, 56.5 years) with mild erectile dysfunction were enrolled in the study and received placebo for one month and then citrulline (1.5 grams per day) for one month.

When the men took the citrulline, their hardness score improved from a 3 to a 4 (normal erectile function) in 12 (50%) of the men but in only 2 (8.3%) when they took the placebo. All the men who improved from a score of 3 to 4 said they were “very satisfied.”

Mathematically: if 4 ounces of watermelon contain 150 mg of citrulline and the men in the study experienced improvement with erectile function when they took 1.5 grams of citrulline, theoretically, men would need to eat ten times as much watermelon to get 1.5 grams of citrulline, or a 40-ounce serving of the fruit.

What about men consuming watermelon juice? Any positive effect on arginine levels? Well, a study from the US Department of Agriculture addressed this question and published the results in Nutrition in 2007. Volunteers drank either 0, 780 grams, or 1,560 grams of watermelon juice every day for three weeks in a crossover study, and drank no watermelon juice for 2 to 4 weeks in between the testing periods. The two watermelon juice doses provided 1 and 2 grams of citrulline daily, respectively.

When the volunteers consumed the watermelon juice, their arginine concentrations rose 12% after three weeks at the low dose and 22% at the high dose. Results of this study showed that consuming citrulline can raise arginine levels.

Eat Watermelon or Take Citrulline?

So in a nutshell based on the findings eating watermelon help if you have erectile dysfunction? So If you like watermelon–there’s a possibility eating enough of it could improve erectile function. However, a better alternative might be to take a supplement that contains citrulline.

Other sources of L-citrulline

You’d need to eat about 3 1/2 cups of diced watermelon per day to match the L-citrulline levels found in supplements. Orange and yellow varieties of watermelon may have slightly higher levels, which mean you can eat less to reap the same citrulline levels of traditional red watermelon. L-citrulline is also naturally present in some other foods. These include garlic, fish, and legumes.

Benefits vs. risks of watermelon

Men with mild to moderate ED might benefit from taking L-citrulline via watermelon or through supplements. When eating whole watermelon, you can reap the nutritional benefits outside of L-citrulline. Watermelon is a high source of vitamins A and C as well as fiber and potassium.

Antioxidants are good for your overall health and longevity but in moderate amounts. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, high levels of antioxidants can actually be harmful. Another consideration is that supplemental forms of antioxidants aren’t a good replacement for those consumed through fresh foods. This is because supplement-based antioxidants aren’t processed by the body the same way.

The actual fruit isn’t likely to cause any risks. However, if you have pollen allergies, you need to take caution. It may not work for all men as we are unique being with individual biochemistries. Natural Treatments do not work for all men and sometimes results could delay so you need to exercise patience to achieve the full result if it is delaying. Natural remedies are not ‘magic bullet ‘ medications like orthodox medicines.

Some people who have grass pollen allergies experience allergic reactions to raw fruits and veggies. This is called oral allergy syndrome (OAS). OAS usually causes mild symptoms, such as skin rash. Rarely, it can cause more severe reactions like breathing difficulties. Use extra caution during grass allergy season to prevent possible reactions. If you have asthma, ask your doctor about taking supplements before trying them.

L-citrulline can interact with prescription medications for:

Erectile Dysfunction

High blood pressure (hypertension)

Cardiovascular disease

Neurological disorders

General Outlook between Watermelon and Hibiscus Tea for ED

Watermelon can be one natural way to safely reduce ED. Eating watermelon alone won’t solve the issue in the long-term, though. This is because ED is often a symptom of another underlying condition, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension et al. You’ll need to see your doctor to help manage any health issues you might be experiencing. Resolving these will likely improve ED.

At the same time, eating moderate amounts of watermelon can’t hurt. L-citrulline supplements may not be as effective for ED. They also haven’t been studied as extensively as Hibiscus and besides hibiscus is the best tea for Men’s Health. It also has kidney protection, very effective for managing other contributing factors for ED such as hypertension, diabetes, and cholesterol et al. so using hibiscus for your ED could be helping treats all the other underlying causes of ED for better quality of life.

But remember both also are good for prostate health and even hibiscus tea beats green tea for antioxidant properties according to research. Using Hibiscus tea for ED is like using one stone to kill two birds. Always look for organic or my version of bionergized hibiscus tea which is more efficacious than the normal hibiscus tea.

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