Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, could help overcome symptoms of erectile dysfunction in men who are diagnosed with elevated blood levels of cholesterol. The vast majority of ED is caused by impaired blood flow to the penis, and one of the biggest culprits behind compromised vascular function is atherosclerosis, a buildup of fatty plaques on artery walls. High blood levels of cholesterol, particularly low-density lipoprotein that is also known as bad cholesterol, are a major cause of atherosclerosis.
A few years back, a team of urology researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong conducted a study to evaluate the effect of niacin supplementation in men suffering from both ED and elevated cholesterol levels. The researchers recruited 160 male patients who fit that profile. The study participants were then randomly divided into two groups of equal size. Men in the first group received daily oral doses of 1,500 milligrams of niacin, while those in the second group were treated with a placebo.
What the Study Shows
Results from the Hong Kong study were published in the October 2011 issue of “The Journal of Sexual Medicine.” The research team found that treatment with “niacin alone can improve the erectile function in patients suffering from moderate to severe ED and dyslipidemia.” Dyslipidemia is the medical term used to describe the presence of abnormally high levels of lipids in the bloodstream.
Vitamin B3 is a naturally occuring nutrient found in a wide array of animal and plant foods, including grass-fed beef, chicken and turkey breast, green peas, liver, mushrooms, peanuts, and tuna. However, to get anything approaching 1,500 milligrams of the nutrient daily, you would have to take a supplement. But be aware that some niacin supplements cause bothersome but harmless flushing of the skin caused by an expansion of capillaries that temporarily increases blood flow to the skin’s surface.
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