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New study shows vitamin D appears to improve erectile function

Posted on: February 8, 2017   by  John Cannell, MD


In April of 2012, Mark Sorenson and Dr. William Grant hypothesized that vitamin D would improve erectile function.

Sorenson M, Grant WB. Does vitamin D deficiency contribute to erectile dysfunction? Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 Apr 1;4(2):128-36.

Now, an open label prospective study administered monthly high dose vitamin D, 600,000 IU/month of ergocalciferol, to men with baseline 25(OH)D < 30 ng/ml. The authors wanted to determine if treatment was associated with levels of sexual hormones, diabetic markers, and erectile function [using the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF)-5 questionnaire]. A lower score on the IIEF questionnaire indicates a greater degree of erectile dysfunction.

Canguven O, Talib RA, El Ansari W, Yassin DJ, Al Naimi A. Vitamin D treatment improves levels of sexual hormones, metabolic parameters and erectile function in middle-aged vitamin D deficient men. Aging Male. 2017 Jan 11:1-8.

A total of 102 male patients  aged 35–64 years (average of 53) with 25(OH)D <30 ng/mL (mean baseline 25(OH)D was 15 ng/ml) were included in the study. Participants were followed up for one year, with monitoring at 3, 6, 9 and 12-months. At the initial baseline visit, a complete medical examination was conducted and blood was drawn for laboratory tests assessing biochemical and hormonal variables. The same protocol was followed every three months for one year.

Once the patients’ serum vitamin D level reached > 30 ng/mL, the authors switched the dose to 600,000 IU/2 months and continued monitoring the patients. Their target 25(OH)D serum level range was 30–80 ng/mL. If any man’s level reached 80 ng/mL, the researchers further decreased the dose to 600,000 IU/3 months.

At the four follow up visits (3, 6, 9 and 12 months), blood was collected and subject’s erectile function was evaluated by the IIEF-5. Average vitamin D levels increased from baseline (15 ng/mL) to 32 ng/ml at 3 months, 37 ng/ml at six months, 45 ng/mL at 9 months and 49 ng/mL at one year (p=0.001).

Erectile function scores increased in a stepwise fashion from 14 at baseline to 20 (p=0.001) at one year. Serum testosterone increased from 12 nmol/ml at baseline to 16 nmol/L (p=0.001) at 3 months and maintained that level for the year. The researchers also observed significant stepladder decreases in serum estradiol (88 to 70 nmol/L; p = .001). Furthermore, parathyroid hormone levels (PTH) went from 59 to 38 pg/mL at six months (p=0.001) and maintained that level over the course of the study.

Obviously, a randomized controlled trial using daily adequate doses, such as 10,000 IU/day, would be helpful. Furthermore, cholecalciferol (D3) has been proven to be more effective in raising vitamin D levels than ergocalciferol (D2). Since the researchers administered ergocalciferol opposed to cholecalciferol, this may have also limited the observed improvements in erectile function.

Serum testosterone decreases as men age, and low testosterone is associated with depression. In addition, low serum testosterone levels may be linked to cardiovascular disease (CVD); however, research has produced conflicting results.

We recommend that you receive safe, sensible, full body, sun exposure during solar noon. However, when that is not possible, we recommend supplementing with 5,000 to 10,000 IU/day, depending on your 25(OH)D level. Keep in mind, multiple factors affect vitamin D status, such as genetics, weight, sun exposure and oral intake. Therefore, it is essential to test your vitamin D levels to ensure you are receiving the optimal vitamin D intake for your body.

My testosterone increased about 40 % with vitamin D, 10,000 IU/day. Did any male readers find the same thing? Email us at [email protected]

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