The use of vitamin supplementation to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) has not led to significant positive results. (Learn More) Solid research studies demonstrating an effect of vitamin supplementation on ED are lacking. (Learn More)
If you have a serious vitamin deficiency, it may impact your sexual functioning. Taking vitamins may help you. (Learn More)
Vitamin A is important for healthy vision, skin, and bones, but supplementation with vitamin A will not address ED. (Learn More) If you are deficient in certain B vitamins, it may seriously alter your ability to perform sexually and supplementation may help you. (Learn More) This is also true of a vitamin C deficiency. (Learn More)
Some recent research has suggested that there may be a link between vitamin D deficiency and erectile dysfunction, but this relationship may not be causal. (Learn More).
Vitamin E has long been associated with a potential ability to improve sexual health E, but vitamin E supplementation does not appear to address ED in most men. (Learn More)
Certain lifestyle factors may contribute to the onset and symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Addressing lifestyle issues may be more effective for ED than vitamin supplementation. (Learn More)
If you suffer from erectile dysfunction, you should discuss the situation with your physician. (Learn More)
Erectile Dysfunction and Vitamins
Erectile dysfunction (ED) may often be the result of a physical condition that can include a cardiovascular problem (like heart disease), diabetes, sleep difficulties, or other physical conditions.
ED can result from psychological or emotional issues as well.
There is very little evidence to suggest that vitamin supplements can successfully treat erectile dysfunction.
What Kind of Evidence Is Lacking?
When we talk about evidence regarding the usefulness of vitamin supplements in treating ED, it refers to empirical evidence, or the evidence that occurs as a result of controlled research studies. Anecdotal evidence (testimonials from private individuals) or the claims of companies trying to sell a product to treat ED cannot be considered objective evidence.
Interestingly, the lack of empirical evidence that vitamin supplements can treat ED does not seem to affect the sales of many of these products.
ED and Vitamin Deficiencies
Even though there is no solid research evidence that has found that certain vitamin supplements can be used to treat ED, there are numerous connections between proper nutrition, health, and strong sexual functioning. If you are deficient in certain vitamins, you may experience a decline in overall sexual functioning. If you suspect that a vitamin deficiency is impacting your sexual health, discuss this with your physician.
It is important not to fall into the trap of thinking that with vitamins “more is better.” There are numerous research studies and reviews that have indicated that taking very large doses of vitamins over time can result in health problems. Like many things that are good in moderation, too much may be a bad thing.
Vitamin A acts as an oxidant and is important for vision, skin health, and the maintenance and health of your bones and other tissues in your body. A vitamin A deficiency would impact sexual functioning, but there is no research that suggests that taking large amounts of vitamin A can treat ED.
Vitamin A can be found in leafy green vegetables, fruits, carrots, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables and fruits.
Vitamin B and Sexual Health
The vitamin B complex is a very important composite of vitamins that contributes to numerous health factors. Individuals with vitamin B deficiencies may experience signs of ED, and treating them with B complex vitamins or specific B vitamins like folic acid or B12 may improve their sexual functioning.
However, most people with ED do not have a vitamin B deficiency, and vitamin B supplementation will not significantly affect the issue.
Vitamin B can be found in numerous foods, including eggs, leafy green vegetables like spinach, many meats, and beans.
Vitamin C and Sexual Health
Vitamin C must be taken in every day as your body cannot store it. Although some sources in the past recommended taking megadoses of vitamin C, this may not be healthy for your excretory and digestive systems.
You need to get enough vitamin C every day because it can improve blood flow, and this can affect erections.
While vitamin C supplementation can lead to improved health in some, it will most likely not treat ED. Instead of taking vitamin supplements to get more vitamin C, you might want to try eating more:
- Fruits, especially citrus fruits, berries, pineapple, and melons.
- Green vegetables like spinach and broccoli.
- Fruit juices, but be careful due to high levels of sugar.
- Vegetable juices.
ED and Vitamin D
Following the publication of a 2014 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine that found an association of low levels of vitamin D in a large percentage of men who were diagnosed with ED, this vitamin has received a reputation as a potential treatment for ED. This study did not determine whether these decreased levels of vitamin D actually caused ED in the participants in the study — only that a large proportion of the participants with ED had low levels of vitamin D.
These types of correlational findings cannot be used to claim any type of a cause-and-effect relationship. There could be many other reasons for these findings.
Vitamin D has numerous functions, including strengthening bones and muscles in the body. A vitamin D deficiency could lead to an unhealthy condition that could impact sexual health.
Good sources of vitamin D include dairy products like milk and cheese.
Long reputed to enhance sexual activity, particularly in aging males, it was believed that the oxidizing properties of vitamin E supplementation could treat ED in males. There are some animal studies that suggest that vitamin E supplementation may be useful in treating age-related ED; however, these results do not appear to generalize well to humans.
Good sources of vitamin E include nuts and vegetable oils.
Factors That May Contribute to Issues With ED
There are many health issues that can affect sexual functioning.
If you are obese, you can have drastically reduced circulation throughout your body, which can affect the quality of your erections. Moreover, people who are grossly overweight often have numerous health problems like diabetes or prediabetes that can affect sexual functioning.
If you suffer from any form of mental health issue, this could affect your sexual functioning and produce problems obtaining an erection. If you suffer from serious depression, anxiety, stress, or other mental health conditions and you are experiencing issues with sexual functioning, discuss this with a licensed mental health care professional or your physician.
Using tobacco products, particularly smoking cigarettes, can seriously damage veins and arteries in your body. Since a healthy erection depends on good blood flow, smoking could affect your sexual functioning. Alcohol abuse is also known to be associated with decreased sexual functioning.
As mentioned above, many other medical and mental health conditions are associated with erectile dysfunction. Often, these conditions are associated with poor nutrition. Treating the condition and taking in better nutrition can go a long way in regaining healthy sexual functioning, but the use of vitamin supplementation alone has not been demonstrated to reverse ED.
The Best Resource to Treat Your ED: Your Physician
Once it was believed that erectile dysfunction was almost exclusively the result of an emotional or mental health issue; however, it has long been recognized that numerous physical conditions can cause ED.
Erectile dysfunction is a treatable condition for most people. For those affected with it, the issue is often very hard to discuss with others. The best resource for you is your physician.
Physicians are very understanding, and ED is a common problem in men. Your physician can help you determine the cause of your ED and then choose an appropriate treatment strategy for you.
Based on research, taking vitamin supplements alone will not effectively address your erectile dysfunction unless you have a serious vitamin deficiency.
Erectile Dysfunction. (May 2018). Mayo Clinic.
10 Surprising Dangers of Vitamins and Supplements: Don’t Assume They’re Safe Because They’re ‘All Natural.’ (September 2012). Consumer Reports.
Vitamin A (Retinoid) Benefits for Vision and Health. (March 2019). WebMD.
Benefits and Uses of B-Complex Vitamins. (March 2019). Medical News Today.
Vitamin C. (September 2018). National Institute of Health.
Vitamin D and Erectile Dysfunction. (August 2018). The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
Evaluation of Vitamin E in the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction in Aged Rats. (April 2012). Life Science.