An erection occurs when an excitatory signal from the brain goes to the arteries near your penis, which stimulates the release of a gas molecule called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide dilates or widens arteries, thereby increasing blood flow to your penis that results in an erection. Scientists haven't studied the effects of fish oil on erections, but the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil may help erections by reducing inflammation and improving artery health. Consult your health care provider before taking fish oil.
High blood pressure can cause inflammation of your blood vessels, which can impede nitric oxide release inside the smooth muscle walls of your blood vessels. Therefore, keeping blood pressure under control can reduce the risk of inflammation and improve blood flow. Scientists at the University of Western Australia and the Cardiovascular Research Centre in Australia found that 3 to 4 g of omega-3 fatty acids daily are effective for reducing blood pressure, according to research reported in the February 2010 issue of "Cellular and Molecular Biology."
Arterial elasticity refers to the flexibility of artery walls. Flexible artery walls allow blood to easily flow, whereas inflexible artery walls produce resistance that slows blood flow. Weak arterial elasticity can result in less blood flow to the penis, which can lead to weak erections. Researchers at the Medical Defense College in Tokyo discovered that subjects with abnormal lipid levels taking 3 g of both EPA and DHA, the two omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, daily for seven weeks experienced improvements in arterial elasticity compared with those who had a placebo. The findings were in the August 2002 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."
Fish oil also can help erections by lowering inflammation, which can damage arteries that supply blood to the penis. Scientists at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom discovered that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil suppress the release of pro-inflammatory cells such as cytokines and neutrophils. This helps to reduce inflammation in your body, according to research reported in the August 2009 issue of "PLoS Biology."
Fish oil may interfere with cholesterol-lowering and blood-thinning medications, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Consult your health care provider before taking any supplements.
- "Cellular and Molecular Biology"; Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Blood Pressure; T.A. Mori; February 2010
- "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; The n-3 Fatty Acids Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid Increase Systemic Arterial Compliance in Humans; P. Nestel et al.; August 2002
- "PLoS Biology"; Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Inflammation: Novel Interactions Reveal a New Step in Neutrophil Recruitment; S. P. Tull et al.; July 2009
- Linus Pauling Institute; Essential Fatty Acids; April 2009