The list of erectile dysfunction causes and risk factors includes a wide range of possibilities, including diet, diabetes, smoking, obesity, use of certain medications, drug and alcohol use, and activities that restrict blood flow to the penis, such as bicycling. Now researchers may add another factor to the list: vitamin D deficiency is believed to contribute to erectile dysfunction.
Vitamin D deficiency has been named as a contributing factor in other health problems, including many that have also been associated with erectile dysfunction, such as diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. Vitamin D deficiency and erectile dysfunction also share some common ground with other health issues, including asthma, multiple sclerosis, depression, falls and fractures, and periodontal/gum disease.
Now the authors of a new study appearing in Dermato-Endocrinology warn that men who have been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction should have their vitamin D levels checked to determine if they have a vitamin D deficiency. In addition, they recommend these same men be evaluated for early diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
According to the authors, men with erectile dysfunction should consider increasing their serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations to at least 40 nanograms/milliliter (ng/mL) by taking vitamin D supplements and/or more exposure to sunlight. Marc Sorenson, the study’s lead author, pointed out that while erectile dysfunction treatment typically includes the use of phospodiesterase-5 inhibitors such as Viagra, these drugs for ED do not address the underlying cause.
Therefore, Sorenson noted that even though “it is not clear what role increasing vitamin D concentrations to 40 ng/mL will have on erectile dysfunction, it will reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, many types of cancer, and several infectious diseases.” He went on to say that erectile dysfunction not associated with psychological causes or prostate surgery “should be considered a wakeup call to investigate the roles of solar UBV [ultraviolet B rays] and vitamin D for improving overall health.”
Read more in our Erectile Dysfunction Health Center.
Sorenson M, Grant WB. Does vitamin D deficiency contribute to erectile dysfunction? Dermatoendocrinology 2012 Apr 1; 4(2): 128-36