You may have heard of the medical condition where it’s challenging to get an erection — right when you need to perform. This disorder negatively affects your sexual life and even your overall health. This is called erectile dysfunction, or ED.
Erectile dysfunction is a relatively common medical condition in men. This illness is more frequently observed in older men. A study has shown that about half of men between the age of 40 and 70 struggle with this condition. Worse, 10% of them have a complete inability to have erections even with adequate sexual stimulation.
Facts about erectile dysfunction
Sexual health has many aspects. To make sure that you are healthy, you need to assess yourself on all those aspects. Erectile strength is one aspect of sexual health, but unfortunately, it is often forgotten. Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to get and maintain an erection. Because of this, one cannot have satisfying sexual intercourse.
Erectile dysfunction is common in older men. In addition, some medical conditions increase the likelihood of some men having ED. The most glaring of these medical conditions are diabetes and hypertension.
Let us explore the cause of this condition first to understand how ED occurs in the body.
The root of ED can be either medical or emotional. Decades ago, ED was considered a psychological problem that needs psychological intervention. In contrast to modern-day, ED is now a medical problem.
There are three primary reasons for ED in the medical explanation. The dysfunction is due to the inadequate blood flow to the penis. As long as there is a medical condition or lifestyle habit that affects blood flow, this can happen. Be aware if you are a smoker, diabetic, or diagnosed with heart diseases.
Another reason for ED explains why one cannot maintain the erection. This is called a venous leak or cavernosal dysfunction. Because of this condition, the penis cannot store the blood, which causes the erection.
Lastly, ED can be of neural origin. It can be because of the failure of the nerve signals to reach the penis. Some nerve illnesses allow this to happen. Moreover, injuries or surgical procedures can damage the nerve tissues in the penis.
In addition to all these, recent evidence suggests that vitamin deficiencies may also be the reason for having erectile dysfunction in men. Therefore, these deficiencies need to be identified and corrected so that symptoms of ED and other health concerns are addressed.
What vitamins might help with erectile dysfunction?
If your erectile dysfunction happens to be due to a vitamin deficiency, you need to replenish your vitamins with diet modifications or supplements. Read the following to see vitamin deficiencies related to ED.
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency can be one of the causes of erectile dysfunction. A study supports this saying the 32% of men with this deficiency are more predisposed to ED. Moreover, another study showed that Vitamin D supplements given to men with ED had higher testosterone levels and improved the dysfunction. Vitamin D is activated in our body as we are exposed to sunlight. Moreover, foods in our diet contain this vitamin. If you want to increase your vitamin D intake, focus on eating oily fish, salmon, milk, cereal, and egg yolks. These studies are sound evidence. However, take note that vitamin D supplements will not be the cure for your ED. It will help, but if done along with your doctor’s recommendations.
- Vitamin B3.Vitamin B3, or niacin, helps in men with moderate to severe erectile dysfunction. In a particular study, men with moderate to severe ED significantly improve their conditions after taking a daily dose of 1,500 mg of niacin for 12 weeks. In contrast, men with mild ED did not have any significant changes. Similar to vitamin D, niacin is present in our everyday foods. This includes some meat products like turkey, chicken, beef, and pork. Likewise, peanuts, mushrooms, and avocados are also rich in niacin or vitamin B3.
- Vitamin B9.Vitamin B9, or folic acid, is an essential vitamin in our body. Similar to the previous vitamins, folic acid is also related to ED. A study explained this relationship. It is said that the nitric oxide production induced by folic acid is related to the initiation of an erection. Lack of folic acid means a lack of nitric oxide production. Therefore, blood cannot flow well into the penis leading to erectile dysfunction. You should take prescription drugs for ED and vitamin B9 supplements if you have both ED and this vitamin deficiency. As for supplements, vitamin B9 is available in synthetic form. This means that you can add these products to your foods. Also, some of our foods are rich in vitamin B9. Eat more green vegetables, avocado, eggs, citrus fruits, beans, and legumes for more vitamin B9 in your diet.
- Vitamin C.In 2017, it was stated that vitamin C could improve blood flow and increase testosterone levels in our bodies. These two are very important in sexual function. However, there is no direct link between vitamin C supplementation and ED.
- Still, you should keep in mind the importance of vitamin C in your diet. Eat lots of green vegetables, sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, and tomatoes to avoid vitamin C deficiency.
- Other than vitamins, studies also support that minerals also help improve erectile dysfunction. Magnesium, copper, and zinc are some of these. Even though there is no direct correlation between supplementing these and addressing ED, it is always good to keep these in mind.
Other treatment options
Fortunately, we now have lots of treatment options for ED. The most common of these are medications. Men tolerate oral medications well, as 70% respond positively to them. PDE5 inhibitors are one of the first prescribed medications to men with ED since these are generally safe and have good results.
In some men, a psychological consultation is necessary to help address the cause of ED. Others might need to take more aggressive, costly, and invasive surgery such as penile implants, but this is often recommended only in the worst cases.
Have concerns about your pecker? Consult a medical health professional today.