Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is a sexual dysfunction characterized by inability to achieve or maintain normal erection. There are various causes of ED, including decreased blood flow to the penis, hormonal problems, medication and psychological factors. Conventional therapy includes drugs, various devices and psychotherapy. Some vitamins and minerals may also help improve erectile dysfunctions, however if you consider taking supplements you should consult your health-care provider first.
Vitamin E enhances the effects of a some conventional drugs used for erectile dysfunctions, according to a small study published in December 2008 issue of “The Aging Male.” The authors found that the majority of the participants who did not respond well to standard therapy alone experienced increased rigidity of the penis when adding 300 mg of vitamin E daily. Supplementation with vitamin E may help individuals with sexual dysfunction because it also supports the production of hormones, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Diabetes may affect the nerves, including those of the penis; therefore diabetics commonly experience erectile dysfunctions. A randomized, double blind placebo controlled study featured in September 2006 issue of “European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences” evaluated the benefits of using folic acid and myoinositol, another vitamin-like nutrient. Almost 200 participants were diagnosed with diabetes and ED and a 400 mcg dose of folic acid was used daily during the study. The authors concluded that this combination has therapeutic potential for erectile dysfunction in diabetics, but further research is needed to confirm these findings.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin, and therefore helps to prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals. It may also help to improve symptoms of sexual dysfunctions in both men and women because it improves the blood flow in the genital area, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Calcium, along with folic acid, vitamins E and C, may have therapeutic effects in ED, indicates a research study from December 2010 issue of “ Fertility and Sterility.” The scientists found that all these nutrients positively influence some vascular factors and consequently improve erectile dysfunction. The study also suggests that this combination of vitamins and minerals may help conventional drugs used for ED to work more effectively.
Consult a qualified health-care professional to find out your optimal dosage of vitamins and minerals that may help your condition, as well as possible drug and herb interactions. Keep in mind that these supplements should not be used to replace standard therapy for erectile dysfunction.
- Univeristy of Maryland Medical Center: Sexual Dysfunction
- “Fertility and Sterility.” A Multifaceted Approach to Maximize Erectile Function and Vascular Health; DR. Meldrum et al; December, 2010
- “European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences”; Myoinositol/Folic acid Combination for the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction in Type 2 Diabetes Men: a Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study; R.Agostini et al; September, 2006
- “The Aging Male"; Salvage Therapy Trial for Erectile Dysfunction Using Phosphodiesterase Type 5 Inhibitors and Vitamin E: Preliminary Report.; N. Kondoch et al; December, 2008