April 1 2016. A study reported in the May 2016 issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine found improvement in the erectile function of rats with induced type 1 diabetes that received the amino acid taurine.
Diabetic patients are almost three times likelier to experienceerectile dysfunction (ED) than nondiabetics. An estimated 95% of diabetics over the age of 60 are affected by the condition.
"It has been demonstrated that taurine supplementation can enhance sexual response and mating ability in aged rats," note Yajun Ruan, MD, and colleagues at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in their introduction to the article. "However, whether taurine could mitigate diabetic ED has not been investigated."
The study utilized 18 rats that developed ED after being rendered diabetic by injection with streptozotocin. Eight nondiabetic rats served as controls. Half of the diabetic animals received intraperitoneally administered taurine and the remainder of the group received saline for four weeks.
At the end of the study, all erectile function variables were lower in diabetic compared to nondiabetic rats, however diabetic animals that received taurine experienced partial but significant recovery of erectile function. Taurine-treated animals had significantly reduced penile fibrosis as well as upregulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression and improvement in other factors. Additionally, diabetic rats treated with taurine had higher testosterone levels than those that received saline.
Given that erectile function is a benchmark for cardiovascular disease, the authors suggest that taurine's cardioprotective effects could be responsible for many of the benefits observed in this study. "Data from the present study suggest that taurine supplementation may improve erectile function in rats with diabetic ED and ameliorate penile fibrosis as well as endothelial dysfunction," they conclude. "This finding provides evidence that taurine supplementation may be an alternative therapy for nonresponders to phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors."