Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and Vitamin D
Many men experience occasional difficulties in the performance department. Often, tiredness or one too many drinks can account for the issue, and there’s nothing to worry about. However, when a man has more regular issues, it’s important to seek out the cause. Erectile dysfunction could indicate a problem with a man’s penis health or overall health; and, of course, a vital sex life is crucial to overall wellbeing.
Underlying cause: Could it be D?
While a man may be eager to fill a prescription for some pills to get things back in working order, it’s important to understand that there are many potential underlying causes of erectile dysfunction, both physical and psychological. A doctor may want to run some tests to see if a health condition is responsible for the difficulties.
If a doctor runs a blood test, he or she may test a man’s level of vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to erectile dysfunction. There are a few reasons why this may be so.
Many cases of erectile dysfunction are attributed to vascular impairment. Erections require clear blood vessels through which blood can flow easily and engorge the penis. Vitamin D plays a role in keeping cells that line blood vessels working properly; when cells malfunction, it can lead to hardening of the arteries, reduced blood flow and erectile problems.
Vitamin D is also important for maintaining appropriate levels of testosterone. This hormone is imperative for a healthy sex drive.
Yet another connection between vitamin D and erectile health exists in the area of mood regulation. The neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin are needed in good supply to promote feelings of wellbeing, and vitamin D helps produce them. When a man is anxious or depressed, he is likely to experience erectile problems.
Some men may notice that their performance issues occur or worsen in the winter. Since the vast majority of vitamin D the body gets comes from sunlight, it makes sense that levels would decline during the colder months when there is less sunlight as well as less exposed skin through which to absorb it.
If a man turns out to have a low level of vitamin D, a doctor will likely recommend a supplement. It’s important to make sure a man is getting a high-quality product, since not all supplements contain the optimal form of the vitamin. Ask a doctor for brand and dosage recommendations.
Another supplement a man may take to boost vitamin D level is cod liver oil. Eating oysters and salmon can help as well, although, on their own, these methods are unlikely to provide sufficient amounts of the vitamin. Getting as much sunlight as possible is always recommended. Try snow shoeing this winter, or just get out and build a snowman!
It’s important for men to take erectile dysfunction seriously. It could be an early indication of a serious health condition. Making an appointment is a good idea if a man’s troubles have made it difficult for him to have a healthy sex life.