According to a study recently conducted in Italy, low levels of vitamin D could increase the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED). Lacking adequate amounts of the sunshine vitamin might impact your bedroom game in a negative manner. An estimated 30 million men suffer from erectile dysfunction in America today.
Erectile dysfunction could be due to psychogenic or organic factors. However, natural factors are known to cause an overwhelming majority of the cases. The most common organic factor is atherosclerosis of the penile artery. Atherosclerosis is the hardening of artery walls due to the accumulation of plaque that contains fatty material, cholesterol, and cellular debris. This process occurs systemically throughout the body and is not limited to the arteries that supply the heart or male genitals. Patients with diseased coronary arteries have a higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction than those without.
As such, any factor that prevents atherosclerosis also prevents erectile dysfunction. Insufficient amounts of vitamin D have been linked to several health conditions including atherosclerosis. This nutrient is critical to the optimal functioning of the endothelial cells lining your blood vessels. Endothelial cells become susceptible to dysfunction and damage without adequate levels of vitamin D, which can ultimately lead to atherosclerosis and arterial calcification.
After testing 143 men with varying erectile dysfunction degrees, researchers found that about half were deficient in vitamin D. In addition, only one in five of the men tested had adequate amounts of this nutrient. Men suffering from severe ED had a vitamin D level that was approximately 24% lower than those with mild forms of the condition. According to Alessandra Barassi, M.D., the study’s author, insufficient levels of vitamin D can spur the production of superoxide ions. These free radicals deplete nitric oxide, a molecule that helps to ensure your blood vessels function properly.
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Due to this depletion, getting an erection becomes a lot harder. Nitric oxide causes the relaxation of blood vessels, increasing blood flow and leading to an erection under normal circumstances. Without sufficient amounts of nitric acid, your blood vessels might not relax enough to enable an erection.
On the other hand, a man’s libido is determined by his testosterone concentrations. As such, increasing your testosterone level is bound to improve your performance in the bedroom. A randomized placebo-controlled study conducted on vitamin D by researchers in Germany shows that it increases testosterone levels in men. Apart from affecting your physical urges, estrogen and testosterone levels also have a huge impact on your mood. Studies show that low testosterone levels can cause anxiety, depression, and irritability, all of which can affect your bedroom performance.
This connection between vitamin D and men’s erectile capabilities might explain why you tend to feel friskier during summer than in the winter. As a matter of fact, the short winter days and more time spent indoors mean you are getting less vitamin D. This nutrient also activates the genes responsible for releasing dopamine and serotonin, lack of which is linked to depression. As such, you also get less dopamine and serotonin.
Regardless of the benefits offered by adequate vitamin D levels, an estimated 77% of American men don’t get enough of it. We should get vitamin D by regularly exposing our entire body to the sun for the greater part of the day. This practice would lead to the formation of endogenous vitamin D under our skin. However, we spend too much time indoors, wear clothes, and apply sunscreen whenever we visit the beach. As a result, we only get a fraction of the vitamin D we require.
Fortunately, you can also get the required amount of vitamin D by taking a supplement. While UV-B rays need to react with your skin’s cholesterol to become vitamin D-3, supplements already have this vitamin. You, therefore, do not have to be a nudist to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D.