Erectile dysfunction can be an embarrassing subject for many men. It’s a life shattering condition that can leave you feeling devoid of stamina, vigour and vitality- the very things that societal conventions use to define you as a man.
Yet, despite the embarrassment surrounding this tabooed subject, it’s a condition that a significant number of men experience at some point in their lives.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, erectile dysfunction affects 52% of men, with it affecting 40% men age 40, and 70% of men age 70.
With so many men being affected by ED, what is the cause?
While a number of factors can cause erectile dysfunction, recent research has revealed that there may be a link between ED and vitamin D deficiency.
The study reviewed 3,390 men aged 20 years or older, free of any cardiovascular disease. The researchers measured semen levels and assessed self-reported
Erectile Dysfunction, based on the question ‘How would you describe your ability to get and keep an erection adequate for satisfactory intercourse?.” Men who answered “never” or “sometimes able” were considered to have ED. Investigators defined severe ED as never being able to get and keep an erection.
The researchers reported that those who reported experiencing ED had lower levels of vitamin D. The study also revealed that those with low levels of vitamin D (defined as below 20ng/mL), had a 30% greater risk of developing ED and an 80% risk of developing severe ED, compared to those who had optimal levels of vitamin D (defined as 30ng/mL). Moreover, each 10ng/mL decrease was associated with a 12% increased risk of developing ED.
Dr. Michos., founder of the study has said “Our findings have potentially important clinical and public health implications for men,” Erin D. Michos, MD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues wrote. “25(OH)D is an easy biomarker to screen for through simple commercially-available laboratory tests, and deficiencies can be treated with supplementation and/or modest sunlight exposure.”
What is The Link?
You may be wondering how can vitamin D levels can have such a drastic impact on your sexual health? While this study was observational, the researchers established a clear link between low levels of this sunshine vitamin and an increased risk of ED.
The reason for this could be that when a man is sexually stimulated, neuronal nitric oxide is triggered. This has a smoothing effect on the muscles, increasing the release of endothelial. If this process cannot occur, it is defined as erectile dysfunction.
Here’s where vitamin D comes in. According to the study, vitamin D may help to regulate endothelial. Endothelial dysfunction, resulting in the inability of the smooth muscle cells lining the arterioles to relax, prevents vasodilatation (widening of blood vessels). Likewise, penile erection depends on the relaxation of smooth muscle in the tissue surrounding the penis and the wall of small arteries.
The researchers noted that men with ED have an increased prevalence of endothelial dysfunction, and vitamin D may improve endothelial function.
“One mechanism linking low vitamin D levels with ED may be via reduced synthesis of nitric oxide,” they wrote. “Secretion of nitric oxide is needed for relaxation of the smooth muscles of the corpora cavernosa and subsequent penile erection, and vitamin D may be a regulator of endothelial nitric oxide synthase.”
How to Increase Vitamin D Levels
If you are suffering from erectile dysfunction boosting your vitamin D levels may help. There are a few ways in which you can do this.
- Sun- They don’t call it the sunshine vitamin for nothing! Our bodies naturally make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. However, it is also important to be weary of too much sunshine, with research showing that sun tanning can increase your risk of skin cancer.
- Food- Your meals can also be a great source of vitamin D if you know what to look out for. Fatty fish, such as herring, mackerel, shrimp and salmon are good sources. Salmon, and it should be specified wild salmon, is very high in vitamin D. One study found that wild-caught salmon contains 988 IU of vitamin D per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving, on average. That’s 247% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI). Farmed salmon, however, contained only 25% of that amount, on average.
- Supplements- Ben’s Total Health supplements are a fantastic way of ensuring you’re are getting the maximum amount of Vitamin D each day. They contain5000 IU of Vitamin D which are based on the recommendations above. This is between 5 and 10 times the amount of vitamin D3 in any other multivitamin supplement. By taking this amount, you will reduce susceptibility to health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and many forms of cancer.
Suffering ED can take a heavy toll on your health, both mentally and physically. Not only can it drain you of your confidence, but it can have a negative impact on your relationships, especially if you find it difficult to talk about. If you are struggling to deal with this condition, speak to your partner and accept their support.
This is an issue that affects a significant number of men, yet many remain too embarrassed to open up and speak about their problems. Seek help from a professional and look to natural and safe solutions to treat your condition.
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