The results of an analysis of participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2004 provides more evidence for an association between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk in vascular erectile dysfunction. The findings were published in the September 2016 issue of the journal Atherosclerosis.
The study included 3,390 men participants in NHANES 2001-2004 who were free of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Results of blood tests for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D were categorized as deficient, intermediate or optimal.
Seven hundred seventy-five men reported having ED. In all statistical models, the incidence of ED rose in association with decreasing levels of vitamin D. In the model adjusted for demographics, lifestyle factors, cardiovascular disease risk factors and medication use, men with deficient vitamin D levels of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) had a 30% greater risk of ED than those with levels of at least 30 ng/mL, defined as optimal. When severe ED was examined, the adjusted risk was 80% higher among those with vitamin D deficiency.
As potential mechanisms for vitamin D deficiency in ED, authors Yousef M. K. Farag and colleagues list improved glucose metabolism and endothelial function, and decreased inflammation and arterial calcification.
"25(OH)D is an easy biomarker to screen for through simple commercially-available laboratory tests, and deficiencies can be treated with supplementation and/or modest sunlight exposure," they note. "Thus, if a causal relationship is confirmed in other studies (such as in randomized placebo controlled interventional trials), treatment of vitamin D deficiency has the potential to improve erectile function through improvement of endothelial function, decreased atherosclerosis risk, and anti-inflammatory properties."