Penile erection is a hemodynamic process involving increased arterial inflow and restricted venous outflow, coordinated with corpus cavernosum and penile arterial smooth muscle relaxation. Any problem in this mechanism results in ED, and its etiology is generally multi-factorial. Diabetes, hypertension, high serum cholesterol level, peripheral vascular disease and cardiac problems are significantly found together with ED. However, vascular reasons predominate in the etiology of ED and it frequently appears along with atherosclerosis. It is known that atherosclerotic lesions prevent blood flow into cavernosal tissues resulting in ED.
Pistachio (Pistacia vera L.), a member of the Anacardiaceae family, is a native of the arid zones of Central and West Asia and distributed throughout the Mediterranean basin. In Turkey, the pistachio is grown mainly in the city of Gaziantep. Pistachio
nuts are rich sources of plant proteins, dietary fibers and especially antioxidant substances (for example, antioxidant vitamins), besides being high in unsaturated fatty acids and low in saturated fatty acids, which may also have cardioprotective
effects. Endothelial dysfunction, characterized by impaired nitric oxide bioavailability, precedes the development of atherosclerotic lesions and has been suggested as an important link between ED and cardiovascular disease.
Epidemiological studies have demonstrated an association between nut consumption and coronary heart disease. Compared with people who ate nuts less than one time per week, those who ate them 1–4 times per week had a 25% reduced risk of dying
from coronary heart disease; people who ate nuts at least 5 times per week showed a 50% reduction in risk. The American Heart Association recommends up to 20% of calories from monounsaturated fat and substituting unsaturated fat from vegetables and nuts.
Although various studies exist regarding the positive effects of pistachio nuts on serum lipid profiles, to the best of knowledge, its effect on ED has not been investigated yet. In this study, the effects of pistachio nuts on International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) scores, penile color Doppler ultrasound (PCDU) and serum lipid levels in patients with ED is investigated.
In this article it is shown that 3-week pistachio diet applied to patients with ED resulted in a significant improvement in erectile function parameters (PCDU parameters and IIEF scores) with additional improvement in serum lipid parameters without any side effects. Further studies are needed with increased number of patients and longer follow-up evaluating the relationship between pistachio nuts and ED pathogenesis.
By M Aldemir et all.