(Medically reviewed by Dr. Zac Hyde M.D)
Allergies can do more than just give you the sniffles.
There’s a growing body of evidence that allergies can actually cause erectile dysfunction.
What’s more, the very medication that big pharma pushes to eradicate your allergies might be contributing to your ED.
This article is going to outline how allergies reduce sexual function, how allergy medication can give you ED, and some key things you can do to cure your allergies naturally.
Here we go!
Allergies Have A Negative Impact On Erections
And I don’t mean just that it’s more difficult to get you or your partner in the mood when you’re feeling like crap.
Allergies have been proven to actually reduce your erectile and sexual function, not just your desire to initiate or even have sex.
We talked recently about teeth and ED, citing a study completed in Taiwan.
That study (which was huge) was conducted over eight years by the Taiwan National Health Insurance and is one of the few databases in the world where they asked tens of thousands of men questions about their health and about their sex lives.
So a lot of research has been done using it.
Anyway, back to allergies. Using that data set, a group of researchers in Taiwan looked at rates of allergic rhinitis (AR) and ED to see if there was a correlation.
(As an aside here, “AR” is a fancy term for nasal allergies — blocked or runny nose, clogged sinuses, headaches, etc…).
They looked at two groups of men, 18-55. One group of 64,000 men had allergic rhinitis. The second group of 64,000 didn’t have AR.
They then compared the two and, lo and behold, patients with AR had FAR more sexual function problems than those without AR.
Out of the 128,000 men who were part of the study, 1,455 suffered ED in just under 6 years. Of those 1,455, 844 suffered AR and 611 got ED without any trace of allergic rhinitis (source).
In layman’s terms, this means that you’re 130% more likely to have ED if you have nasal allergies.
Now to be clear, this is still only a correlative relationship. But it is one that’s been repeated.
Two researchers in Cleveland looked at AR, and how it affected the daily lives of their patients.
They evaluated patients on a quality of life (QOL) test, asking them about their sleep patterns, fatigue, and sex lives (among other things).
AR has a significant negative impact on sexual function and can result in sleep disturbances and fatigue” (source).
Now, having nasal allergies doesn’t mean that you’re definitely going to get ED, and NOT having AR doesn’t mean you’re somehow immune to erectile problems.
What is means is that if you have nasal allergies and you’re also suffering ED, curing your nasal problems might be a good place to start.
Likewise, if you’re suffering from AR but you don’t have erectile dysfunction, dealing with your allergies a little more seriously might be a good idea before they start contributing to other, more severe… flaccid-er problems.
So why is all this happening? The short answer is: we don’t really know.
What we do know is that allergic reactions and chronic allergies are caused by inflammation, which, unfortunately…
Tends to make your body less effective at both moving blood around AND affects your body’s ability to produce the specific chemicals that you need to get a good, solid erection.
So one theory is that inflammation is caused by allergies, which then impact your ability to get an erection.
Regardless, at this point you’re probably ready to run out and buy all the anti-allergen drugs you can get your hands on.
But before you do that, you might want to read just a little more.
Allergy Medications Also Cause ED
First, lets look at how most allergy medication works. When you get allergies, the agent that drives the reaction are histamines.
Histamines are actually incredibly important for your body…
They help you get rid of whatever’s irritating it.
For example, if you have something on your skin, histamines will make you scratch.
If you’ve got something your sinuses, histamines will make you sneeze. In your eyes? Histamines make you cry.
Now you probably noticed the things that histamines do are also the core symptoms of allergies.
That’s why the primary medical response by pharmaceutical companies to allergies is antihistamines — drugs that get rid of the histamines in your system.
However, this might be bad news for your erections.
First, antihistamines (even non-drowsy ones) almost always make you tired. That’s because the antihistamines block the central nervous system.
What’s more, when the central nervous system is suppressed, it’s more difficult to become turned on. Basically, it’s like trying to have a sex life when you’re a little out of it.
Second, histamines play an active role in helping you get an erection.
Histamines help the spongy tissue in your corpus cavernosum fill with blood — which is what makes your penis hard.
A study completed at in Brazil looked at corpus cavernosum tissue to see what the impact of being exposed to histamines was.
The researchers did two experiments, one where they took small 2cm pieces of tissues, exposing half of the samples to histamines. The other half were not exposed.
In the second experiment, they injected patients with histamines, again with a control group who were not injected.
They then recorded the erectile response (source).
They found that exposure to histamines produced a dose-dependent response for the sample tissues by relaxing them (remember relaxed corpus cavernosum = good erection)
In the human trials, they found a similar result, where higher doses of histamine = stronger erections.
Histamines play a role in human erections by helping relax the corpus cavernosum muscles and allowing them to fill with and trap blood.
So where does that leave us? Allergies contribute to ED and the drugs to cure allergies also contribute to ED.
Treat allergies naturally, by reducing your histamine response moderately and NOT by wiping it out altogether with drugs that will also wipe out your erections.
How to Treat Allergies Naturally
There are three main ways that you can treat allergies naturally: avoid histamine-producing foods, take vitamin C, and with diet.
1. Avoid Histamine-producing Foods
These are sometimes called histamine-releasing foods as well, since they cause your body to ‘release’ a flood of histamines.
One thing to consider is that this is a general guide. Some foods are high in histamines (high is a relative term), but most of the histamines in your system at any one time will be histamines you produced yourself.
Some foods will trigger more histamine action for certain people.
We’ll get onto diet control in a minute, but it’s important to remember that a lot of this is ‘in general’ rather than gospel truth.
Anyway, first you want to reduce the foods that are known to contain higher-than-normal histamines.
This mostly includes things that are either fermented or involve culturing of some kind. Think cheeses, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, and booze.
Smoked foods (charcuterie like salami, sausages, or smoked fish), beans, nuts, chocolate, and shellfish are also known to be high in histamines.
Second, try to reduce processed foods: salty snacks, canned and frozen foods, and ready meals should all be avoided.
A good rule of thumb is if you can’t pronounce an ingredient or the ingredient list is a mile long, it’s probably best to avoid the food.
Third, you want to reduce your intake of foods that tell your body to release histamines, or histamine-releasing foods.
Things like really acidic fruit (lemon, lime, oranges, kiwis, pineapples), papaya, tomatoes, and wheat germ (found in packaged bread) are all prone to increase histamines.
Finally, (since this has probably decimated your diet a bit) there are plenty of foods that are good for histamine control:
- Fresh meat and fish
- Fresh non-acidic fruit and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Fresh herbs
- Fats and oils
2: Use High Dose Vitamin C
Vitamin C is good for many things, and because it’s water-soluble, any excess is simply peed out.
So there’s no adverse effect of trying a higher dose, and you may find that is completely solves your allergy histamine problem.
A study published back in 1992 by two researchers from Arizona State University in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that there was a distinct link between vitamin C consumption and histamine levels.
They put together 10 subjects and took blood samples regularly over six weeks. During some of those weeks the subjects were given 2000 mg’s of vitamin C. On others, no C was given.
They also took a first sample to establish a baseline value.
What they found was that following the vitamin C weeks, histamine levels were reduced by 38%, leading the researchers to conclude that vitamin C might be able to detox your blood and help clear it of histamines (source).
By upping your vitamin C you might be able to seriously cull your histamine levels, and get some of your normal vigor back.
3. Try an Elimination Diet
Finally, when all else fails, you can try an elimination diet. Because histamines are a reaction by your body to an external threat or invasion, diet is often a prime suspect for allergy problems.
An elimination diet is a simple method that you can use to work out what foods are triggering the allergies you’re experiencing.
It’s pretty simple.
First, you want to create a baseline. This is a simple diet comprised of stuff that doesn’t normally invoke a histamine response:
- Brown or white rice
- Cooked or dried sulphate free fruit that isn’t acidic. Cherries, cranberries, pears, and prunes are all good.
- Cooked greens and/or vegetables
- Free range, organic poultry and cold-water fish. Try to get it local if you can.
- Cold-pressed oils
Once you’ve been on this diet for 14 days (unless you’re still feeling the symptoms) it’s time to start adding back foods.
The key here is to only add them one at a time, and to add them slowly.
One new food every 3-5 days is about right.
If there’s no reaction, the food can join your clean baseline diet. If there is a reaction, stop eating the food and put it back in the testing pile. Try it again in a week or so to confirm your results.
By the end, you should have a clear idea of what’s good for you and what isn’t, and should be able to change your diet to reduce your histamine levels consistently.
Allergies and Erectile Dysfunction UPDATE:
I decided to update this page after coming across a new technique that has worked very well for me in the allergy reduction department.
This new protocol has helped me reduce allergies to food, pollen and chemicals and it’s drastically improved my sleep and erection quality as well.
The sleep improvement came along because histamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter, and when you hit the sack with elevated levels, you’re going to toss and turn all night.
And when you wrestle with the sheets like this all night, you’re very likely going to have erectile dysfunction the following day.
Or at the very least, a lack of desire to use an erection even if you could get one.
After digging through piles of research on pubmed, I discovered that gut bacteria is a primary driver behind many allergic reactions (source).
And if a man has too many histamine producing bacteria in his gut, he’s going to react to triggers that most people would have no problem with.
If you’ve ever walked outside on a beautiful spring day and had a sneezing fit while everyone else around you seemed fine, you already know what I’m talking about.
You’re also aware that a sneezing fit like this instantly puts the kibosh on the drive to breed and the erections you need to have sex in the first place.
So let’s jump right into it so you can see if this is something you’d like to test out.
Allergies and Erectile Dysfunction (how to fix it)
I’m not going to delve into all the different species and genera of bacteria that produce histamine and those that don’t because I’d have to write a book.
Instead, I’m going to show you exactly what I did to alter my gut bacteria so I can eat a sandwich without feeling sick.
The core of this protocol is a low histamine probiotic called ProBiota HistaminX which can be purchased on amazon for about 30 bucks.
It contains the following bacteria that do not release histamine in the gut:
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Lactobacillus salivarius
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Bifidobacterium breve
Once these bacteria set up shop in your digestive system, they displace the bacteria that are overproducing histamine.
And the result?
If you’re anything like me, slowly but surely you’re going to stop reacting to foods, plants and chemicals that used to light you up.
Alter Gut Bacteria and Lower Histamine for Better Erections
Simply taking the probiotic supplement didn’t do the trick for me, so I started fermenting the bacteria in organic grass-fed milk.
You can also use oat, rice or nut milks if you don’t tolerate dairy.
I started making homemade yogurt, because it drastically increased the bacterial count which slashed the amount of time needed to repopulate my gut.
The capsules on their own probably would have worked given enough time, but the yogurt was much more effective.
But don’t worry, this yogurt making process is not too complicated.
You simply warm the milk to 110 degrees and pour in the contents of 3 capsules into one quart.
You then let it ferment between 100 and 110 degrees until it sets into a drinkable style yogurt.
It’s drinkable because most of the bacteria that cause thick, stringy yogurt are histamine producers, which we obviously want to avoid.
Here are several methods you can use to hold the milk at the desired temperature.
- Use the pilot light in a gas oven
- Place the yogurt in a thermos
- Use a crockpot on the lowest setting
- Buy a yogurt maker
- Use an Instant Pot
If none of these are an option get an insulated cooler and add about 4 inches of 110 degree water.
Then put your yogurt inside the cooler in glass jars and insulate it with a blanket or a towel.
If all goes well…
In about 24 hours you’ll have a tasty yogurt loaded down with low histamine bacteria that will begin to alter your gut flora.
I personally drink 16 ounces of this yogurt daily and started noticing the benefits after a few weeks.
Below is an image of my most recent batch.
As you’ll see I always use glass jars because yogurt is very acidic and I don’t want plastics leeching into any food I put in my body.
If you have a condition know as histamine intolerance…
Where you can’t metabolize the histamines found in many foods, the impact of this protocol will be quite dramatic.
And I know this is true, because it happened to me.
Anyway, if you’ve been dealing with allergies and erectile dysfunction yourself.
Or if you’re just sick and tired of reacting to foods and airborne pollens, I suggest you give this protocol a try.
You’ll be glad you did.
Allergies and Erectile Dysfunction – Conclusion:
Allergies can have a serious impact on your sex life. Not only do they make you feel lethargic and not in the mood, but your immune system’s reaction to things like pollen or gluten actually make it a lot more difficult to get hard.
And to complicate matters, antihistamines and other allergy medicine doesn’t solve the problem, but rather creates new ones.
Fortunately, there’s an easy solution.
Allergies can be treated 100% naturally simply by reducing your intake of histamine-producing and histamine-heavy foods combined with a little vitamin C.
And, if all else fails, you can go the elimination diet route or try the yogurt protocol discussed above.