Recent research has revealed a link between low levels of vitamin D and a greater risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) in type-2 diabetic men.
According to the researchers: “The present study is the first study demonstrating the higher rate of ED in diabetic male patients with vitamin D deficiency.”
The study included 98 diabetic men, aged between 18 and 80 years old. International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5) questionnaire scores determined the presence and severity of ED, with higher scores indicative of no ED. Among the 77 participants with the condition, 45 had moderate ED and 32 had severe ED.
Blood samples were analysed for vitamin D3 – known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels (25(OH)D) – hormones, and other factors. A moderate correlation was observed between increased vitamin D levels and higher IIEF scores, particularly among those between the ages of 45 and 65 years of age. Men whose IIEF-5 scores were indicative of severe ED had vitamin D levels that averaged only 10.51 nanograms per millilitre, which was significantly lower than the average levels of participants with no or moderate ED.
Commenting on the findings, the researchers said: “There is a significant relationship between 25(OH)D deficiency and ED in male patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus. This relationship is considered to be mediated by increased nitric oxide production by 25(OH)D in endothelial cells through various pathways, inhibition of apoptosis and prevention of endothelial dysfunction by preventing against oxidative stress. In conclusion, 25(OH)D levels are correlated with ED scores especially in men with type-2 diabetes mellitus aged between 45-65 years.”
While the study didn’t explore the effects of taking vitamin D supplements in diabetic ED sufferers to see if it could help reverse the condition, it makes sense to get your levels tested and to make sure you’re getting enough of the vitamin.
In fact, vitamin D has been found to be particularly important for diabetics. In one study, type-2 diabetes patients who took vitamin D supplements had lower blood-sugar and insulin levels and reduced insulin resistance. Adequate levels of the vitamin are also vital for type-1 diabetics.
To boost your levels, make oily fish (the best dietary source of vitamin D) a regular part of your diet. And aim to get 10 to 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure (depending on how sensitive your skin is) before covering up, whenever you can.
Taking a supplement is the best way to up your levels in the UK, especially during the winter months. Forget the official guidelines that say only ‘high risk’ groups need supplements, and then at only 400IU a day. A supplement of 2,000IU a day is generally regarded as being safe and you may need more than this to correct a deficiency.
Here's to your good health,
Journal Of Natural Health Solutions
The Aging Male, 23 September 2017