Vitamins for ED: Which Can Help?

Several vitamins for erectile dysfunction (ED) may help treat or reduce symptoms. These include vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin D, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin C and L-arginine.

While some research suggests that these vitamins may help with erectile dysfunction, they are often not as effective as prescription drugs in curing or treating the problem. Also, they may not work for people who do not have a specific vitamin deficiency or who have low vitamin levels.

This article will discuss the evidence that vitamins may help when a person has erectile dysfunction and dietary sources of these essential nutrients.

Vitamin B9 (folic acid) and erectile dysfunction

Vitamin B9 (folate) deficiency may be an independent risk factor for ED. Folic acid deficiency impairs nitric oxide metabolism. Nitric oxide causes smooth muscles in the penis to relax, which increases blood flow to produce an erection.

Nitric oxide is produced in the endothelial cell layer that covers smooth muscle. Folic acid deficiency can also lead to endothelial dysfunction, which can lead to erectile dysfunction.

In theory, taking folic acid supplements might lower homocysteine ​​levels (an amino acid that suppresses nitric oxide production) and increase nitric oxide, making it easier to get and maintain an erection. While research shows promising results, more research needs to be done to explore the role of folic acid supplements in ED.

Foods rich in B9 (folate) include:

  • asparagus
  • avocado
  • banana
  • beef liver
  • broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes
  • Egg
  • fortified grains, such as cereal, bread, and some pastas
  • leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and arugula
  • legumes, such as beans, peas, and lentils
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • papaya

Health Benefits of Folic Acid

Vitamin D and Erectile Dysfunction

Vitamin D deficiency has increased dramatically over the past two decades. Likewise, ED is on the rise, with the global incidence of erectile dysfunction projected to reach 322 million by 2025.

Low vitamin D levels may increase your risk of ED by promoting endothelial dysfunction. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to several diseases that are independent risk factors for ED, such as multiple sclerosis (an autoimmune disease that attacks nerve coverings), depression, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

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When outdoors, the body produces vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin. Vitamin D levels in the blood vary by season, with the highest levels in late spring to early fall and the lowest levels in late fall to early spring. As a result, some people cannot make enough vitamin D between October and March.

Taking vitamin D supplements and eating foods rich in vitamin D can help increase levels. Foods rich in vitamin D include:

  • oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel
  • red meat
  • liver
  • yolk
  • fortified foods, such as some fatty spreads and breakfast cereals

People with ED may consider having their vitamin D levels assessed (this is done with a blood test). Vitamin D supplementation should be recommended for people with low vitamin D levels. But increasing vitamin D intake alone rarely resolves ED. In fact, it can cause or worsen your ED in some cases.

Why you need vitamin D3

Magnesium (a mineral) is required to convert vitamin D into its active form (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D). Oral vitamin D is required to undergo this conversion, a process that depletes magnesium stores.

If you take vitamin D supplements without magnesium, you can develop a magnesium deficiency, which can lead to ED.

Magnesium helps blood vessels relax. Insufficient volume means the penile veins cannot relax, leading to ED. Therefore, vitamin D may indirectly lead to ED if not taken properly.

This underscores the importance of consulting a healthcare professional before starting any new medicines, including over-the-counter vitamins and supplements.

Vitamin B3 (niacin) and erectile dysfunction

Atherosclerosis (the buildup of plaque on the walls of arteries) reduces blood flow throughout the body, including the penis. Hardened and narrowed blood vessels make it difficult for blood to flow into the penis before sex.

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Statins are drugs that lower cholesterol levels and improve ED. But new research suggests that niacin may be an equally effective treatment. Vitamin B3 (niacin) may help ED by improving cholesterol and lipid levels associated with atherosclerosis.

A small study of 160 ED patients found that taking vitamin B3 daily improved erectile function in those with high cholesterol. The study found that 80 subjects who took niacin consistently reported better erections and the ability to maintain erections compared to 80 subjects with mild ED who took placebo pills.

Foods rich in B3 (niacin) include:

  • beef liver
  • bread
  • chicken breast
  • fortified breakfast cereal
  • Ground beef
  • Peanuts (dry roasted)
  • pork
  • Potato
  • salmon
  • soy milk
  • tuna
  • Turkey

Vitamin C and Erectile Dysfunction

Although there is no evidence that vitamin C supplements improve ED, Vitamin C supports the biochemical pathway that ultimately releases nitric oxide, which is essential for achieving an erection because it increases blood flow. Vitamin C has also been shown to increase testosterone levels and improve blood flow.

The following foods are rich in vitamin C:

  • tangerinr
  • Chili peppers (especially red and green peppers, especially bell peppers)
  • kiwi
  • Guava
  • Strawberry
  • snow peas
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • broccoli
  • Cantaloupe​​​
  • tomato
  • Potato

L-Arginine and Erectile Dysfunction

L-arginine is an amino acid that is a building block of protein and a potent vasodilator, which means it helps open blood vessels. It occurs naturally in food and boosts the body’s production of nitric oxide, a compound that promotes erections by dilating blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the penis.

In theory, increasing L-arginine production should boost blood flow to the penis, but studies have given mixed reviews. More research is needed to study its safety and efficacy.

Foods rich in L-arginine include:

  • steak
  • Turkey
  • Chick
  • Tofu
  • pork chop
  • pea
  • pumpkin seeds
  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, raw peanuts)
  • chickpeas
  • seaweed

Notably, L-arginine can lower blood pressure. You should discuss this with your healthcare professional before taking it. It can interact with other medications to cause dangerously low blood pressure, including high blood pressure medications and Viagra (sildenafil).

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Some studies suggest that if a person is deficient in these vitamins, vitamins B3, B9, and D may help resolve erectile dysfunction. They remain active in the body to maintain the processes that allow erections, as do vitamin C and L-arginine. However, they are not typical treatments for ED.

VigorTip words

Vitamin supplements are a popular alternative or supplemental form of ED treatment because they are inexpensive, all-natural, and can help you avoid the side effects of prescription medications. The motivation for using vitamins may also be to avoid embarrassment by finding natural remedies before your partner finds out.

Whatever the reason, you must do your due diligence before attempting lifestyle changes or nutritional supplements. Not only are vitamin supplements mainly for those with specific deficiencies, but if you don’t take vitamins without proper medical guidance, you may experience unforeseen side effects.

It is important to seek the guidance of a healthcare professional before starting supplementation. Never mix vitamins with prescription medications to avoid side effects, and discuss any changes to your medication regimen with a healthcare professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best vitamin for erectile dysfunction?

    The best vitamins for erectile dysfunction are those that reverse specific vitamin deficiencies.

  • Which vitamins are bad for erectile dysfunction?

    Many myths that vitamins are bad for erectile function have been dispelled. Some people point to vitamin D as the culprit in erectile dysfunction.

    In most cases, the ED of vitamin D supplements is due to a corresponding magnesium deficiency. In these cases, magnesium supplementation can improve ED.

  • Which vitamins can help me last longer in bed?

    There is no conclusive evidence that vitamins B3 (niacin), B9 (folate), C or D can cure or prevent ED, but they have all shown mild positive effects in one or more studies on erectile function.