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Erections occur when the penis fills with blood, making it rigid, longer, and thicker. While erectile dysfunction (ED) has many possible causes, from the neurological to the physical, the ones nutrition can address are vasodilation — the widening of blood vessels to allow greater blood flow — and hormonal imbalances caused by nutritional deficiencies.

Our evidence-based analysis on erections features 21 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by and reviewed by the Examine team.
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  1. ^ The content of this page was partially adapted from MedlinePlus of the National Library of Medicine.
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  3. ^ Rastrelli G, Corona G, Maggi M. Testosterone and sexual function in men. Maturitas. (2018)
  4. ^ Chen D, et al. The association between subclinical hypothyroidism and erectile dysfunction. Pak J Med Sci. (2018)
  5. ^ J Cartledge, S Minhas, I Eardley. The role of nitric oxide in penile erection. Expert Opin Pharmacother. (2001)
  6. ^ a b c Biljana Musicki, et al. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase regulation in female genital tract structures. J Sex Med. (2009)
  7. ^ V Dishy, et al. The effect of sildenafil on nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation in healthy men. Clin Pharmacol Ther. (2001)
  8. ^ Christoph A Schmitt, Verena M Dirsch. Modulation of endothelial nitric oxide by plant-derived products. Nitric Oxide. (2009)
  9. ^ Jackson J, et al. The role of inorganic nitrate and nitrite in CVD. Nutr Res Rev. (2017)
  10. ^ Hord NG, Tang Y, Bryan NS. Food sources of nitrates and nitrites: the physiologic context for potential health benefits. Am J Clin Nutr. (2009)
  11. ^ Jones AM. Dietary nitrate supplementation and exercise performance. Sports Med. (2014)
  12. ^ Gilbert DG, Hagen RL, D'Agostino JA. The effects of cigarette smoking on human sexual potency. Addict Behav. (1986)
  13. ^ Harte CB, Meston CM. Acute effects of nicotine on physiological and subjective sexual arousal in nonsmoking men: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Sex Med. (2008)
  14. ^ Harte CB, Meston CM. The inhibitory effects of nicotine on physiological sexual arousal in nonsmoking women: results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. J Sex Med. (2008)
  15. ^ J Peugh, S Belenko. Alcohol, drugs and sexual function: a review. J Psychoactive Drugs. (Jul-Sep)
  16. ^ Mark G Biebel, Arthur L Burnett, Hossein Sadeghi-Nejad. Male Sexual Function and Smoking. Sex Med Rev. (2016)
  17. ^ G Corona, et al. People smoke for nicotine, but lose sexual and reproductive health for tar: a narrative review on the effect of cigarette smoking on male sexuality and reproduction. J Endocrinol Invest. (2020)
  18. ^ Angela Castela, Pedro Vendeira, Carla Costa. Testosterone, endothelial health, and erectile function. ISRN Endocrinol. (2011)
  19. ^ Fui MN, Dupuis P, Grossmann M. Lowered testosterone in male obesity: mechanisms, morbidity and management. Asian J Androl. (2014)
  20. ^ a b Ückert S, Kuczyk MA, Oelke M. Phosphodiesterase inhibitors in clinical urology. Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. (2013)
  21. ^ Friedman JM, Friedman AJ. Development and therapeutic applications of nitric oxide-releasing materials. Future Sci OA. (2015)