A 2013 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that plastic beads filled with nitric oxide treated erectile dysfunction more effectively than such popular prescriptions as sildenafil, branded as Viagra. The tests were performed on diabetic rodents, but the researchers found the effects compelling, as stated by Medical Daily.
The purpose of the study was to analyze the role that high cholesterol and diabetes perform in facilitating erectile dysfunction. In these conditions, blood vessels that typically fill with blood do not get enough, so the men cannot achieve erections. Between 35 and 75 percent of male diabetics experience some type of impotence during their lifetime, and erectile dysfunction starts more than a full decade sooner for men with diabetes than for men without the disease, according to Medical Daily.
For the study, scientists at Rice University injected the beads of nitric oxide into the area of the rats' penises that forms an erection. The nitric oxide produced more of an improvement in impotence when compared to sildenafil, and the scientists were able to maintain positive results for three weeks. The nitric oxide expands the blood vessels, making it easier for the blood to travel through them. The body naturally produces nitric oxide for this purpose, but men with erectile dysfunction, high cholesterol and/or diabetes do not make enough of it. The smooth muscles cannot relax, and blood cannot get to the penis. Nitric oxide, though, helps to transport the blood there, notes Medical Daily.