Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin. It is linked to several health benefits, the list of which keeps growing. You can add “men’s sexual health” to that list. Recent studies suggest that low levels of the vitamin may be tied to erectile dysfunction and impotence.
In one study, researcher analyzed data from 34,000 American men aged 20 years or more, who did not have heart disease. Of these, 30 percent had low levels of vitamin D – or were considered deficient – of 20 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter). 16 percent of the participants had erectile dysfunction.
The researchers found that vitamin D deficiency was present in 35 percent of men with erectile dysfunction, compared to 29 percent of those without erectile dysfunction. (See original post).
In another study, researchers sought to confirm previous studies linking vitamin D deficiency to erectile dysfunction. They also sought to find out if vitamin D supplementation might benefit men with sexual issues.
The study comprised two parts. The first part analyzed medical data from 114 men with a median age of 64 who’d sought help for sexual problems. The second part analyzed data from a sub-set of 41 men of median age of 65, who’d received vitamin D therapy.
In the first part, researchers found that higher levels of vitamin D were associated with higher levels of testosterone, which was linked to better erectile function.
In the second part, the sub-set of 41 men who had received vitamin D therapy saw increases in total and free testosterone levels and improved erectile function. (See original post).
Though vitamin D is synthesized in the body from sunshine, deficiency is surprisingly common. Experts do not quite agree as to what constitutes deficiency, but generally less than 12 ng/mL is considered deficient.
Vitamin D can also be tricky when it comes to supplementation, as one cannot be sure of the amount they get from the sun, which can differ with seasons. The vitamin is also obtained from certain food sources including fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and fortified foods.