June 11, 2012
MIDWAY, Utah and SAN FRANCISCOMen who are experiencing lackluster performance in the bedroom due to erectile dysfunction may want to increase their intake of dietary vitamin D, according to a new study published in the journal Dermato-Endocrinology. The findings that vitamin D deficiency may be an important risk factor for ED, and men diagnosed with ED also should ask their physician to check for signs of early diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more commonplace in the United States, according to a recently released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition" that found the highest rates of vitamin D deficiency in non-Hispanic blacks (31%) followed by Mexican-Americans (12%) and non-Hispanic Caucasians (3%).
Vascular problems account for about half the cases of ED, and there is a large body of research finding that vitamin D can maintain vascular health. The mechanisms appear to include suppressing the activity of the renin-angiotensin system, which lowers blood pressure, improves endothelial function, reduces inflammation and reduces vascular calcification. Solar ultraviolet (UV) light is the primary source of vitamin D for most people. In addition, UV increases nitric oxide concentrations in the blood, which also appears to reduce the risk of ED.
Lead authors Marc Sorenson, EdD., the director of Sunlight Institute, and William B. Grant, Ph.D., is the director of Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center, theorized that men diagnosed with ED should consider having serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentration measured, then adopt a program to increase concentrations to at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/l) through vitamin D supplementation and/or increased solar UVB exposure. Serum 25(OH)D concentrations should be measured again a few months after starting such a program.
The treatment of choice for ED has been the use of phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors such as Viagra. While effective in relieving the ED symptoms, these drugs do nothing for the underlying cause and may lose their effectiveness over time. They may also hide from users the possibility of cardiovascular disease; therefore patients may delay seeking help. If proven in further research, vitamin D optimization has the potential to influence the cause of ED to prevent or mitigate the condition," Sorenson said.
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