New research indicates that use of the natural supplements citrulline and resveratrol for erectile dysfunction (ED) can be an effective treatment option. The study was conducted in men who were also taking ED oral medications in the phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor class (i.e., PDE5 inhibitors) such as Viagra and Cialis.
Treatment of erectile dysfunction
One of the more popular treatments for erectile dysfunction is the group of PDE5is. When these drugs are not effective, men have a wide selection of other options from which to choose, including intracavernous injections, penile prostheses, and vacuum erection devices. However, many men are not interested in these choices and so the need for safe, natural alternatives is quite high.
In previous research, animal subjects have been the focus of alternative ways to treat ED, including the administration of the amino acid L-citrulline and the antioxidant transresveratrol. Thus far, these two supplements have demonstrated an ability to improve erectile function in animals, but experimentation in humans has been scarce.
What are L-citrulline and transresveratrol?
L-citrulline: an amino acid available in supplement form that the body transforms into L-arginine, another amino acid, and nitric oxide. Both of these substances are critical for blood vessel and heart health as well as for supporting immune system health. Citrulline has been shown to improve mild to moderate erectile dysfunction, improve blood vessel health in people with diabetes, and lower high blood pressure.
Transresveratrol: Resveratrol is a compound created by plants when they are impacted by an infection, fungal attack, or injury. This plant compound exists in two forms: trans- and cis-, and transresveratrol is the more highly absorbable form.
One of the unique features of resveratrol is that it can cross the blood-brain barrier, which means it can have an effect on brain function.
Citrulline and transresveratrol for erectile dysfunction
In this latest double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover pilot study, 13 men ages 29 to 78 years with ED completed the trial. All of them were taking a PDE5 inhibitor on demand. During the trial, the men took placebo or 800 mg/day of citrulline and 300 mg/day of transresveratrol. Here’s what the investigators found:
- Mean scores on the Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM) increased significantly when the men took the supplements when compared with baseline values and values from taking placebo
- Mean values on the Erection Hardness Score increased from baseline when men took the supplements, but the change was not significant
- Mean scores on the Aging Male Symptoms Scale-sexual domain were not significantly different in either group
The authors of the study believe their efforts are the first to show that combining L-citrulline and transresveratrol can be effective for complementary treatment of ED in men who are using PDE5 inhibitors. If you are experiencing less than adequate response from your use of PDE5 inhibitors, you may want to talk to a knowledgeable healthcare professional about the possibility of adding citrulline and transresveratrol to your treatment regimen.
Shirai M et al. Oral L-citrulline and transresveratrol supplementation improves erectile function in men with phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors: a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover pilot study. Sexual Medicine 2018 Aug 24