The Vitamin B3 Is Showing Signs of ED Improvement
Although vitamins may not be the be all and end all of medicine like some people hope, there is intriguing new evidence showing that the right sort of vitamin supplements may help treat erectile dysfunction. The results, published on August 2nd by the Journal of Sexual Medicine, were particularly potent for men with severe erectile dysfunction.
The miracle vitamin in question is called niacin, also known as Vitamin B3, and is previously known to be beneficial for those with high cholesterol. Niacin can be found in particularly high concentrations in seafood, but nutritional uptake is not enough to reap the beneficial effects. Instead of the upper tolerance limit of 35 mg, recommended by the United States Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, the Chinese University of Hong Kong researchers tested the effects of 500 mg and 1,500 mg.
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The 160 participants, all suffering from erectile dysfunction, high cholesterol and high blood fat levels, were divided into two groups of 80. One group was administered first 500 mg of niacin, to test toxicity, and then 1,500 mg. The other group received a placebo. Results were measured using the International Index of Erectile Function .
Better erections experienced with the men taking Niacin
Better erections were experienced by the men in the niacin group, but, as expected, not in the placebo group. The vitamin is believed to work by reducing the cholesterol and blood fats, allowing more blood to reach the genitals and thereby the erectile tissues of the penis. Niacin triggers the release of prostaglandin-2, a substance which is beneficial to the endothelium, the shock-absorbing lining present in all blood vessels without which the blood loses momentum and does not reach as far as it should.
But is it safe? The primary author of the study, Dr. Chi-Fang Ng, definitely thinks so. "The exciting thing about this finding is that niacin is a very old drug and the safety of it is quite well-documented," he said. "Basically, it's just a vitamin." Not all of the medical community agrees.
"Any medication that helps with erectile dysfunction is worth looking into. But these are abnormally large doses of niacin and might not be safe," said Dr David Edwards, an expert in sexual medicine from Oxfordshire.
Dr. Howard Herrmann, at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, agrees with Edwards and urges caution. "There's still a lot to be learned about the type of patients who would be most likely to respond to these drugs," Herrmann said. "There are lots of scenarios that haven't been looked at."
"Just a vitamin" or not, it should be noted that a third of the men in the study reported facial flushing and itchy skin as side-effects. Anyone hoping to try niacin, and there are many reasons to, including improved cholesterol and increased spontaneity in the bedroom without waiting for pills to start working, should first consult their doctor.