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Summary of Erections
The ability to achieve and maintain erections when aroused is a common health issue for many males. While females don’t experience the phenomenon the same way, inadequate blood flow to female genitalia is also common, and sometimes related to the same phenomena.
There are many potential causes of erectile dysfunction, but they generally revolve around vasodilation—the widening of blood vessels, which allows them to accommodate more fluid, and thus allow the penis to become erect. Nitric oxide is a chemical messenger that tells blood vessels to dilate, and a breakdown in signaling is a common reason for erectile dysfunction and high blood pressure. Nitric oxide precursors and substances that lead to greater nitric oxide synthesis are commonly found in drugs and supplements aiming to improve erections. Sex hormones are involved in nitric oxide synthesis, and men with low testosterone are more likely to have erectile dysfunction. Anything that leads to endothelial dysfunction, such as smoking, inactivity, and excessive eating, can increase the risk for erectile dysfunction as well.
Sometimes, however, erectile dysfunction isn’t a breakdown in vasodilation or a hormonal problem but is secondary to psychological issues of anxiety and anhedonia. In this case, while some libido-enhancing supplements may be useful, the answer may not be found in supplements or dietary modification.
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Human Effect Matrix
The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what supplements affect erections.
|Grade||Level of Evidence [show legend]|
|Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials|
|Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled|
|Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies|
|Uncontrolled or observational studies only|
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
|Minor||Very High See all 4 studies|
|Minor||- See study|
|Minor||- See study|
Get access to the latest nutrition research summarized
By becoming an Examine Plus member, you'll have access to all of the latest nutrition research on over 400 supplements across over 600 different health goals, outcomes, conditions, and more.