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Erectile dysfunction can adversely affect self-confidence, quality of life and interpersonal relationships. Vitamins are one of the essential nutrients which may help improve the sexual functions in men and treat or prevent related disorders like erectile dysfunction, which has a global prevalence of 58.9 per cent in men aged 30-80 years. 
In this article, we will discuss vitamins that are associated with the improvement of erectile dysfunction. Take a look.
What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is a male sexual health problem characterised by the inability of the penis to attain an erection (both reflex and psychogenic) which is required for penetration during sexual intercourse. This results in problems in sexual relationships and may also lead to mental health issues and poor life quality.
Reflex erection is triggered when the penis comes in direct physical contact with its stimulation factors that causes nerves to send signals to the brain for arousal, while psychogenic erection is achieved by emotional stimuli or as a result of anxiety reduction or when thinking or seeing something sexual.
Erectile dysfunction is strongly related to the age, emotional health and physical health of a person. Lifestyle factors like poor diet, deficiency of nutrients, smoking, use of illicit drugs and even cultural and socioeconomic factors can lead to erectile dysfunction. 
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Can Vitamins Help Treat Erectile Dysfunction?
Our bodies need vitamins for various functions, including maintaining the health of the reproductive system. Though studies based on the same are quite limited, many studies do mention an association between some of the vital vitamins and improvement in erectile dysfunction.
These vitamins may help improve or prevent certain risk factors for erectile dysfunction such as heart diseases or promote blood flow in the penile region or improve the production of the male sex hormone testosterone and thus, actively take part in improving the condition.
Vitamins for erectile dysfunction are mainly taken in the form of supplements after consulting a medical expert. They may also suggest certain foods which are high in the below-mentioned vitamins.
Best Vitamins For Erectile Dysfunction
1. Vitamin D
According to the Journal of Medicine and Life, when vitamin D levels in the body decrease, simultaneously with an increase in cholesterol levels and decrease in testosterone levels, it may contribute to the development of ED. Patients with ED are often diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency, which causes low testosterone levels and impairs cellular functions of the heart muscles.
Therefore, vitamin D rich sources such as sunlight, foods or supplements can help improve blood flow to the penis, improve the functioning of penile tissues, reduce inflammation and stimulate testosterone production, thus improving the condition in patients with ED.  Vitamin D may also help improve heart functions, which is a primary risk factor for ED.
Foods rich in vitamin D: Fatty fish, cheese, egg yolks, dairy products and fortified cereals.
2. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and a great vascular tonic (those that help in the contractions and relaxation of the muscles leading to improved blood flow in the tissues). Tocopherols and tocotrienols, the two vital forms of vitamin E have complex functions such as reducing oxidative damage, boosting immune functions, maintaining hormone production, improving nerve function and improving heart health. 
Erectile dysfunction could be the result of any of the aforementioned factors and vitamin E can effectively help reduce or improve these functions and provide long-term improvement. Vitamin E can also be combined with some herbs like ginseng to enhance ED. 
Foods rich in vitamin E: Nuts like peanuts, almonds and hazelnuts; vegetable oils like sunflower and soybean oils, and green veggies.
3. Vitamin B9 or Folic acid
Vitamin B9 or folic acid can help improve erectile dysfunction in patients who have idiopathic vasculogenic impotence or say, a disorder of the blood vessels with an unknown origin, says a study. Folic acid may help reduce the severity of erectile dysfunction in patients and make them become mild to moderate.
Homocysteine or HCys is an amino acid whose increase in the body is linked to the development of blood clots and diseases like ED and stroke. Folate helps break down HCys in the body and prevent the risk of these diseases. 
Foods rich in vitamin B9: Beans, peanuts, seafood and sunflower seeds.
4. Vitamin B3
A study talks about how the intake of niacin or vitamin B3 can lower lipids or cholesterol in the body and improve erectile dysfunction. The study was conducted on 160 patients with erectile dysfunction and high cholesterol levels. When niacin at a dose of 1500 mg was given daily for three weeks, significant improvement was observed in patients with severe to moderate ED, while those with mild to moderate ED have no improvement.
This shows that vitamin B3 can help improve symptoms in patients with severe ED compared to those with mild symptoms. 
Foods rich in vitamin B3: Chicken breast, legumes, avocado, nuts and whole grains.
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5. Vitamin B12
Levels of vitamin B12 in the body is highly related to erectile dysfunction. Hypertension, high cholesterol and smoking are among the major factors that trigger the development of ED. Vitamin B12, similar to folic acid, helps break Homocysteine or HCys in the body and prevent the aforementioned risk factors which may lead to ED.
However, be cautious of the doses of vitamin B12 as its high levels and cause adverse effects. 
Foods rich in vitamin B12: Meat organs, chicken, cheese, low-fat milk, peas, spinach and lentils.
6. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is not directly linked to the improvement of erectile dysfunction, however, some studies do mention how the antioxidative activity of this vitamin helps reduce oxidative damage to the male genitals and maintain their functions, thus improving the production of testosterone and treating erectile dysfunction. 
Vitamin C may also help reduce the weight of the body and reproductive organs like the testis and improve sperm motility. 
Foods rich in vitamin C: Bell peppers, chillis, lemon, spinach and tomato.
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Include the aforementioned vitamins in your diet and maintain good reproductive health. Consult a medical expert before starting any of these vitamin supplements or herbs filled with these vitamins.
Some of the essential vitamins which may help improve erectile dysfunction are vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B9, vitamin B3, vitamin B12 and vitamin C. These vitamins may help improve the blood flow to the genitals, prevent the risk of heart diseases and stimulate the production of testosterone.
Some medications like vitamin supplements may help reduce the severity of erectile dysfunction and improve the functions of the male reproductive system. However, the treatment is based on the patient health as in some, the ED can be treated or managed within a few months, while in some, it may take a year or more.
Erectile dysfunction usually starts by the age of 30 but is highly prevalent in adults of 40 years or above. The prevalence of erectile dysfunction may increase with growing age, especially in men with heart diseases, smoking habits or vitamin deficiencies.
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