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Written by NewScientist   

Alcohol stops men being a flop in bed

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NewScientist (26 Jan 2009) — Men might want to remember a new rhyme: a drink a day keeps erectile dysfunction away.

Despite traditional views about the effects of booze on male performance, for sale new research suggests that moderate drinking actually protects against impotence in the long term — perhaps for the same reason a glass or two of wine a day cuts the odds of suffering from heart disease.

There is good evidence that excessive drinking can hinder sexual performanceafter a night out — a phenomenon sometimes called "brewer's droop". The effect has been noted for many years: "[Drink] provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance," Shakespeare reminds us in Macbeth.

But over longer periods, moderate drinking doesn't seem to be linked to erectile dysfunction, says Kew-Kim Chew, an epidemiologist at the University of West Australia in Nedlands, whose team conducted an anonymous postal survey of 1770 West Australian men.

After accounting for differences due to age, smoking and heart disease — all risk factors for ED — Chew and colleagues found that drinkers experienced rates of impotence 25% to 30% below those of teetotallers.

Heart link

The study did not examine how alcohol seems to protect against ED, but he thinks antioxidants in some kinds of alcohol play a role. Other studies suggest that both red and white wine protect against heart disease via a similar mechanism.

One theory holds that ED and heart disease are both manifestations of the same disease. Indeed, Chew found that men who suffer from ED are more likely to go onto develop heart disease.

Chew calls for further research on the connection between alcohol, impotence and heart disease. And he says his team's study should not give men a new reason to hit the bottle. "It would be socially irresponsible to say that even a binge drinker can get some benefits."

Journal reference: Journal of Sexual Medicine (DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.01115.x)

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