Erectile dysfunction (ED) is often caused by a physical condition, such as diabetes, sleep disorders, or heart disease. You might think that health-boosting vitamins could help. Although healthier men tend to have healthier erections, there is little evidence to suggest that vitamin supplements can treat ED.
The lack of strong scientific proof that vitamin supplementation can improve erectile function doesn’t stop companies from selling vitamins, herbal supplements, and other products with the promise that they will do the job. ED is often treatable with prescription medications or medical procedures, so be careful not to get taken by a manufacturer’s empty promises.
With that said, getting enough vitamins, either in your diet or with the help of supplements, is a healthy goal. Improving your overall health is one step toward better sexual function.
Vitamin Deficiency and ED
It hasn’t been clinically proven that taking vitamins can effectively treat ED, but there are some connections between vitamins and sexual health.
A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that a large percentage of men with ED are also low in vitamin D. If you’re experiencing ED, you may want to have your vitamin D checked. Other symptoms of low vitamin D may be too subtle to notice. But if you have serious vitamin D deficiency, you may experience bone pain or muscle weakness. Vitamin D levels can be checked with a simple blood test.
Vitamin C helps improve blood flow. Blood flow affects your erectile function, so vitamin C may help sexual function. Vitamin C is water-soluble and is excreted with urine, so it cannot be stored in the body. You need to make vitamin C food sources part of your regular diet. Good sources include:
- citrus fruits
Getting sufficient amounts of all vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in your diet is important for your general health. If you’re deficient in one area, such as having low vitamin D, then taking vitamin supplements may be a good idea.
Talk with your doctor first about taking vitamins and other supplements. If you take certain medications, you may need to be careful of taking large doses of vitamins. Too much of anything, even something healthy like a vitamin, can cause health problems.
You may be able to improve your sexual health by treating the underlying condition that is causing your ED. These may include:
- sleep disorders
Smoking damages blood vessels throughout the body. Since healthy blood flow to the penis is necessary for an erection, you want to do whatever you can to keep your blood vessels working optimally.
Regular exercise may be one of the best things you can do to treat ED. Not only does it help improve circulation, it can help you lose excess pounds and reduce stress.
Stress is actually a common factor that leads to ED. Worries about money, work, or other concerns can inhibit sexual performance. Your sexual response begins with signals from the brain, but stress and anxiety get in the way of your brain signaling the rest of your body that it’s time for sexual intercourse.
Problems in a relationship can often lead to sexual dysfunction. Consider couples therapy as a way to work through such issues and reconnect emotionally. Physical intimacy may improve if you and your partner can deal with other aspects of your relationship.
See Your Doctor
If ED continues to be a problem, talk with your primary care physician or make an appointment with a urologist. ED is an uncomfortable subject for many men to discuss. But it’s treatable in most cases, so there’s no reason to avoid getting help. Urologists and doctors see patients every day about ED, so you’re simply one of millions of men dealing with this common condition.
It’s also important to tell your doctor about ED because it can be a symptom of other problems, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes. If you haven’t had a complete physical and blood work that checks your cholesterol, blood sugar, and other markers of health, make those appointments soon.