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Erectile dysfunction is a disease of modern society and can be caused by a number of different reasons. Treatments can be complex and dangerous when mixed with other drugs so many suffering from ED turn to vitamins and supplements for relief.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common occurrence in society with a prevalence of about 26 cases per 1,000 patients [1]. This equates to about 150 million cases of ED worldwide. It is a condition where patients are unable to maintain adequate blood flow into their penis to sustain an erection. As a person ages, the probability of having ED grow but no age group is safe from this condition. In a study of Romanian men, it was determined that about 3 percent of males aged 15 to 25, 7 percent of males aged 25 to 45 and 22 percent of males 45 to 65 had ED [2]. Once a man reaches 70, ED can be seen in 84 percent of the elderly. In most cases, ED is a condition that manifests because of a much larger systemic disease. Some of the most common risk factors include cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, tobacco use, hyperlipidemia, metabolic syndrome or depression [3].

In order to diagnose ED appropriately, a physician needs to have a good history and physical examination, rule out other possible causes of flaccidity with lab testing and may even consider imaging studies to make sure there is no obstruction to prevent blood flow to the penis [4].

Treatment options vary and depend on the most likely underlying condition. Patients can benefit from taking drugs like Viagra or other vasodilators in order to try to increase blood flow to the penis but these medications can interact with a number of other medications that patients may already be taking and these cross-reactions are very dangerous [5]. To reduce the chances of this from happening, patients may turn to natural treatments for erectile dysfunction. In this article, we will explore some of the vitamins and dietary supplements for ED and why they may be good options for you to consider. 

Vitamins For Erectile Dysfunction  

When considering vitamin supplementation for erectile dysfunction, one of the first vitamins that you may come across in literature would be Vitamin D. This is a vitamin that can be easily obtained through many types of dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt and is also in abundance if you live in a tropical climate. Sunlight is able to give us a natural dose of vitamin D daily. [6] Although vitamin D is usually associated with improving bone strength and prevention osteoporosis, another valuable feat of vitamin D is the fact that it helps reduce atherosclerosis. Studies confirm that there is a similar underlying mechanism that occurs between conditions like cardiovascular disease and erectile dysfunction. As blood vessels are damaged and filled with plaques, the diameter for blood to flow through is gradually reduced. After a few years, the amount of blood may be reduced substantially. Vitamin D is able to help activate cells that remove some of these dangerous plaques and delay the onset of ED. [7]

In a study done to determine if vitamin D supplementation would actually help patients with ED, 143 patients with ED were tested to determine vitamin D levels. It was found that of these cases, 46 percent of patients suffered from substantial vitamin D deficiency and only 20 percent were found to have adequate levels of vitamin D. In these cases, it was also determined that inadequate arterial blood flow was the root cause of ED more commonly in patients with low vitamin D levels. [8] Vitamin D supplementation can improve both these parameters. 

Another natural treatment for erectile dysfunction to consider would be vitamin E. This is a vitamin that has been linked to chronic diseases in the past due to the antioxidant effects of this vitamin. Considering ED could be a manifestation of another chronic condition, it makes sense that vitamin E may have a role in reducing the symptoms of the disease. As a person ages, it is natural for the body to undergo more oxidative stress and damage as cells do not function as well as they once did. Rats who were given supplemental vitamin E were found to have reduced levels of oxidative damage to their tissues and had levels of NO and other factors that help induce an erection more similar to younger rats compared to rats without vitamin E supplementation. If patients incorporate vitamin E into their vitamins and dietary supplements for ED, their ED should improve. [9]

Supplements for Erectile Dysfunction 

Dietary supplements are another avenue that patients can explore when it comes to treating their ED. Many products exist on the market but be warned that they may not have the scientific proof that can support claims of better erections. In one study done on multiple supplements that were proven to not work, it was found that patients found improvement in their ED 25 percent of the time. This suggests that supplements that do not work have a "placebo effect." This means that if a patient believes the medication truly works, he will notice improvements in his symptoms. This is a psychological phenomenon and can also be considered a root of why ED can occur. Depression or anxiety are two common reasons for ED and if patients take supplements that they believe will help them, they may have more confidence in sustaining an erection. [10]

One herbal supplement that was found to have even more impressive results than placebos goes by the name of VigRX Plus (VXP), consisting of a proprietary blend of Panax ginseng, Serenoa repens, Gingko biloba, Crataegus laevigata, Ptychopetalum olacoides, Erythroxylum catuaba, Cuscuta chinensis, and Epimedium sagittatum extract.[11

In this study, 78 patients aged 25 to 50 suffering from mild to moderate erectile dysfunction were given this supplement. This study lasted 12 weeks and the size and duration of the erection was the focus of the study. At the conclusion of the study, it was determined that this supplement made a significant difference compared to the controls on parameters like sexual desire, intercourse satisfaction, orgasmic function and overall satisfaction. Side effects were mild and similar to those observed in the control group. Once the trail finished, 90 percent of those taking the VXP supplement wished to continue taking the product because of the impact they observed. [11] 

As you can see, there are a few natural treatments for erectile dysfunction to consider. Make sure to consider using vitamins like D and E or supplements like VXP to help improve your erections and quality of life. 

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