Vitamin D Important for Men’s Sexual Health, Study Finds
Taking vitamin D might improve a man’s sexual health, suggests new research in the International Journal of Endocrinology.
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to poor male sexual function (especially erectile dysfunction) in previous studies. In this paper, a team of Italian scientists sought to confirm such findings and determine whether vitamin D supplementation might benefit men with sexual issues.
Their study comprised two parts.
- First, the team analyzed medical data from 114 men (median age 64) who sought care for sexual problems at the researchers’ andrology clinic from 2003 to the present.
- Second, they looked at data from a subsample of 41 men (median age 65) who received vitamin D therapy. The men took 50,000 to 100,000 IU of cholecalciferol weekly, every two or three weeks, or monthly. They were then followed for nine to twelve months.
Hormonal and vitamin D levels were measured with blood tests. The men also completed the International Index of Erectile Function-15 (IIEF-15) questionnaire, which evaluates erectile and orgasmic function, sexual desire, intercourse satisfaction, and overall satisfaction. Higher scores on the IIEF-15 indicate better sexual function.
In the first portion of the study, the researchers found that higher levels of vitamin D were associated with higher levels of total testosterone and higher scores on all domains of the IIEF-15. In addition, higher levels of total testosterone were associated with better erectile function and higher total IIEF scores.
The subset of 41 men who underwent vitamin D therapy saw increases in their total and free testosterone levels and better erectile function:
|Before Vitamin D Therapy||After Vitamin D Therapy|
|Average total testosterone||2.78 ng/mL||3.21 ng/mL|
|Average free testosterone||53.5 pg/mL||63.6 pg/mL|
|Average IIEF-15 erectile function domain score||10||11|
However, there were no significant changes in other aspects of sexual function for the subgroup.
The authors discussed possible mechanisms behind the vitamin D/sexual function link. Vitamin D might protect endothelial cells from oxidative stress, thus improving erections. Also, vitamin D deficiency is associated with cardiovascular risk that can also affect sexual function; healthy levels of vitamin D may mitigate this risk and, in turn, benefit sexual health.
They concluded that vitamin D plays an essential role in men’s sexual function and that supplementation can improve it. “If our data will be further confirmed, vitamin D evaluation might be included in the near future in the clinical work-up protocol of male sexual dysfunction,” they wrote.
- International Journal of Endocrinology
Tirabassi, Giacomo, et al.
“Vitamin D and Male Sexual Function: A Transversal and Longitudinal Study”
(Full-text. January 8, 2018)