Natural vitamins and supplements for erectile dysfunction (ED)
Aside from medications, some natural vitamins and supplements such as vitamins B3, C, and D may help improve erectile dysfunction.
Vitamins are essential for maintaining a healthy life. Unsurprisingly, they also help to improve erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to maintain or achieve an erection. This usually has psychological consequences and causes tension for people who experience it.
Erection is characterized by a firm, engorged and enlarged penis in response to sexual arousal, so lack of it is termed erectile dysfunction.
Men of reproductive age can have erectile dysfunction, but it is more prevalent in men 40 years and above. Some people become aware of this when they start noticing the early signs of erectile dysfunction.
The causes of ED can be physical, psychological, or due to underlying health conditions.
Medications are available to treat erectile dysfunction, but the question is, can vitamin supplements also treat ED?
How vitamin supplements can help treat ED
Aging is one cause of erectile dysfunction. Even though aging is inevitable, it can be slowed or toned down by eating healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
If you have ED, medications are available to treat erectile dysfunction; however, most of the medications have varying side effects. Due to the side effects of those medications, researchers are constantly looking for natural ways to help treat erectile dysfunction.
Some studies suggest that the use of supplements like vitamins may help with treating erectile dysfunction.
5 vitamin supplements that can help treat erectile dysfunction
Some of the vitamins that can help treat erectile dysfunction include:
The body naturally produces vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. It can also be gotten through foods and supplements.
The most common function of Vitamin D is maintaining healthy bone by promoting intestinal calcium absorption.
In addition to the development of autoimmune disorders, vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with severe erectile dysfunction. About 49.5% of participants of a 2014 study who had ED also had vitamin D deficiency. This indicates that boosting the body's vitamin D supply may play a role in improving ED.
You can always ensure you get enough vitamin D by taking foods that contain substantial amount of the vitamin.
Foods that are major sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, beef liver, fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, tuna), fortified milk, cheese, fortified cereals, and fruit juices.
Vitamin B9 is of two types - Folate, the natural form, is found in foods, while folic acid, the synthetic form, is added to food products.
Folate performs many functions in the body, such as the formation of DNA and RNA, protein metabolism (breakdown of protein), breakdown of homocysteine (an amino acid that causes harm in the body when present in high quantity), and producing more red blood cells at the times when there is a higher demand such as during pregnancy.
Also, vitamin B9 plays a vital role in improving erectile function. In research carried out to ascertain the role of vitamin B9 in erectile dysfunction, people with erectile dysfunction showed improvement after taking vitamin B9 for a while.
Because folic acid helps break down homocysteine, the deficiency of folic acid will lead to hyperhomocysteinemia (excess homocysteine). Hyperhomocysteine contributes to erectile dysfunction as it causes dysfunction of the endothelium that lines the walls of blood vessels.
Some sources of folic acid include greens, avocado, beef liver, eggs, citrus fruits, beans, peas, legumes, etc.
Taking these foods rich in folate or folate supplements will help you if you have erectile dysfunction.
Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is an important nutrient in the body. It must be consumed through foods because the body does not produce it.
Niacin is found in two chemical forms in the body: nicotinic acid and niacinamide. The two chemical forms can be obtained from foods and supplements.
The main function of niacin (Vitamin B3) is the synthesis of the coenzymes nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP). These two coenzymes help in obtaining energy from food through some biological reactions.
Some studies suggest that niacin can improve erectile function in men suffering from moderate to severe erectile dysfunction.
Also, niacin helps improve health, preventing disease conditions that can further lead to erectile dysfunction.
The body cannot produce or store niacin, so it must be gotten through foods like turkey, chicken breast, beef liver, peanuts, brown rice, salmon, tuna, etc.
Vitamin C is an important nutrient and antioxidant that helps form bones, skin, and blood vessels. Vitamin C functions include the production of collagen, L-Carnitine, neurotransmitters, absorption of iron in the body, and wound healing.
Vitamin C also helps improve the immune system and, as an antioxidant, helps eliminate unwanted substances in the body.
Vitamin C is one of the vitamins that support the release of Nitric oxide in the body. They do this by supporting the biochemical pathways that lead to the release of Nitric oxide. Nitric oxide plays a vital role in male sexual function. Therefore, Vitamin C is highly needed to improve male sexual function.
Vitamin C can be obtained from red and green peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, green peas, strawberries, oranges, orange juice, spinach, leafy vegetables, greens, etc.
L-arginine is an amino acid that is produced in the body. It is a body-building protein. In addition to the body making L-arginine, you can always find it in protein-rich foods like fish, red meat, whole grains, soy, dairy products, and beans.
L-arginine can also be used as a supplement through oral or intravenous administration.
L-arginine acts as a vasodilator (opening blood vessels), so taking it may help improve cardiovascular diseases and erectile dysfunction.
Other natural remedies that can help with ED
Some natural remedies may help with your erectile dysfunction. However, it may take time for the natural remedies to work, and they often work best when combined with medication.
Some of the natural remedies include:
Anxiety and stress reduction
Avoid situations that always make you feel stressed emotionally.
Sex therapy and counseling
Sometimes erectile dysfunction may not be a result of underlying health conditions or physical causes like insufficient blood flow to the penis. It could be due to psychological conditions like depression, anxiety, etc. In such cases, attending a counseling session might help.
Therapy sessions are often more effective when you attend with your partner because it will help them understand your condition more. In that case, they will be more supportive.
Reduce the intake of alcohol
Reducing excessive intake of alcohol is good for your sexual health and healthy living.
Smoking has been associated with many health conditions like lung diseases, cardiovascular diseases, etc. Smoking affects blood vessels and prevents proper circulation to different body parts, including the penis.
Also, smoking affects the availability of nitric oxide in the body, and nitric oxide plays an important role in erection.
If you smoke, you may want to consider quitting as it can affect your erection, sexual health, and overall health.
Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity is one of the health conditions that can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Maintaining a healthy weight is good for your overall health.
If your erectile dysfunction is due to obesity, you should exercise and change your diet to one rich in vegetables and low in junk.
Losing some weight may eventually improve your erectile dysfunction.
Exercise is good for our general health. Exercise also helps to improve some health conditions like cardiovascular diseases and obesity.
You can always run, take a brisk walk, visit the gym, skip, or swim. Rather than live a sedentary lifestyle, engage in any exercise that will help you keep fit.
A balanced diet will help you maintain your general body function and keep you away from diseases that can lead to erectile dysfunction.
There are foods that can help with erection. Taking such foods may help improve your condition.
Always take fruits and legumes—nuts, fish, and vegetables. Also, feel free to consult your dietician to give you a meal plan according to your health needs.
There are medications available for erectile dysfunction. However, some may be associated with serious side effects, particularly in people with conditions like heart disease.
If you are already taking a prescribed medication for ED, before taking any vitamin or supplement, ask your doctor if it is okay to. Taking the recommended vitamins and other natural remedies may help improve erectile dysfunction depending on the underlying cause.
Also, vitamins will help maintain your overall health and protect you from many disease conditions.