Vitamins, amino acids, and herbs may help reduce erectile dysfunction (ED) symptoms, though more research is needed to support their use. Ask your doctor before trying such treatments.

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It’s estimated that erectile dysfunction (ED) will affect 322 million men worldwide by 2025.

Effective treatment for ED depends on the underlying cause. Treatment commonly includes prescription medications or medical procedures, but there has been an increased interest in alternative remedies to reduce ED symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about ED supplements.

Though there’s no conclusive data to support taking supplements to treat ED, some research suggests that some vitamins and herbal remedies may reduce ED symptoms.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most studied vitamins in treating ED. It’s a steroid hormone that has been linked with sexual function and cardiovascular health.

One 2020 analysis showed a significant association between low vitamin D levels and ED severity. This suggests that low levels may make symptoms worse compared with adequate vitamin D levels.

A 2016 study of 92 males with type 2 diabetes showed higher rates of ED and more severe ED symptoms in those with low vitamin D levels than in those with adequate levels.

Still, a 2019 analysis showed no significant association between vitamin D deficiency and ED. However, the authors suggested that ED symptoms may be heightened in those who have chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease in addition to low vitamin D levels.

Researchers believe that vitamin D may support ED by improving blood flow to the penis and supporting the production of sex hormones such as testosterone. Though this theory is promising, more research is needed to confirm it.

If you or a loved one suspects a vitamin D deficiency, you can ask a healthcare professional to check your levels. For most people, vitamin D levels can be easily balanced with a vitamin D supplement.

Read our roundup of the best at-home vitamin D test kits.

Red ginseng

Red ginseng, or panax ginseng, is sometimes called “herbal Viagra” because of its ability to help with ED.

Red ginseng contains compounds called ginsenosides, which may help relax smooth muscle in the penis to support an erection. Plus, research shows it may have a positive effect on preventing heart disease, which is associated with ED.

One 2018 analysis showed significant improvements in International Index of Erectile Dysfunction (IIEF) scores in people who used red ginseng, compared with a placebo. There were also significant improvements in erectile function and sexual satisfaction.

A 2021 review showed minor improvements in ED symptoms, but the authors said the effects may not be clinically relevant.

That said, more research is needed.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that ginseng may interact with alcohol, caffeine, and some medications.


L-arginine is a naturally occurring amino acid that increases nitric oxide production, which can help stimulate an erection.

One 2019 analysis showed that supplementing with 1,500–5,000 milligrams (mg) of L-arginine led to significant improvements in IIEF scores. The authors concluded that L-arginine may be effective in treating mild to moderate ED.

A 2020 study showed similar improvements in ED when L-arginine was used by itself or combined with tadalafil, a prescription ED medication.


L-carnitine is an amino acid derivative that supports fat metabolism, sperm production, and cardiovascular health. It may support ED by improving penile blood flow.

In a 2022 study in rats, researchers found that L-carnitine enabled nerve recovery, prevented penile scarring, and improved penile erection.

A 2019 study suggested that people who do not respond to sildenafil (Viagra) might have low L-carnitine and vitamin D levels, meaning supplementation may improve the medication’s effectiveness.

While this is promising, more clinical research is needed before L-carnitine can be recommended as a stand-alone remedy.

Tribulus terrestris

Tribulus terrestris is a small leafy plant that has been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines as an aphrodisiac. Research on it is mixed.

In a 2017 study, researchers saw significant improvements in IIEF scores after supplementing with Tribestan (Tribulus terrestris, 1,500 mg per day) for 12 weeks. They noted that it may be an effective option to treat mild to moderate ED.

A 2016 review showed that although research on Tribulus terrestris in treating ED is inconclusive, it may provide modest improvements in symptoms. The authors concluded that more human trials are needed.

However, a 2022 study in older males with partial androgen deficiency did find more robust evidence that Tribulus terrestris can help elevate testosterone levels and improve sexual function.

Keep in mind

Though there’s limited research to show that supplements like vitamin D, red ginseng, L-alanine, L-carnitine, and Tribulus terrestris may help reduce ED symptoms, it’s essential to speak with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement.

Also, if you’re experiencing ED, talk with a doctor to determine the underlying cause before attempting self-treatment.

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You can’t prevent some causes of ED, such as aging. However, there are several ways you may be able to reduce your risk.

  • Don’t smoke: Smoking damages blood vessels throughout the body, reducing their ability to dilate and send blood to the penis to produce an erection.
  • Maintain a moderate weight: Having obesity is associated with an increased risk of chronic conditions that may result in ED, such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
  • Find ways to reduce or moderate your stress levels: Stress is another factor associated with ED. Finding positive coping mechanisms and working with a trained mental health professional may be helpful.
  • Limit alcohol consumption: Alcohol may affect your ability to get or maintain an erection in the short term. Also, a 2021 study found a significant relationship between alcohol consumption and ED in the long term.

Prescription medications are another option for ED treatment. These include:

These medications require a doctor’s visit to get a prescription. However, the visit does not have to be done in person. There are also several online companies, like Hims and Roman, that offer a discreet way to get ED medication.

Read our comprehensive review of Roman vs. Hims.

ED affects millions of people worldwide. Though effective medications and medical interventions are available, some people may seek alternative remedies to treat or reduce ED symptoms.

Some research supports supplementing with vitamin D, red ginseng, L-alanine, L-carnitine, and Tribulus terrestris to treat mild to moderate ED. In some cases, supplements may also improve the effectiveness of ED medications such as Viagra.

Though promising, research into vitamins and supplements to treat ED is still in its infancy. More research is needed before these supplements can be recommended as stand-alone treatments.

If you or a loved one wants to try using supplements to help with ED, it’s best to talk with a healthcare professional first.