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If you’ve been experiencing less than stellar erections or are unable to maintain an erection at all during sex, you may be struggling with erectile dysfunction (ED).
With so much information available online, you may have read that you can supplement magnesium for erectile dysfunction, to get better erections and last longer.
While it is true that magnesium plays a significant role in regulating many of your body’s reactions, there is very little evidence that it can directly negate, cure, or help erectile dysfunction.
Instead, what we do see is that magnesium can help with other causes that contribute to erectile dysfunction, like heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney stones, and blood vessel relaxation.
The Link Between Heart Disease & Magnesium for ED
While erectile dysfunction does not always indicate that there is an underlying heart condition, men who suffer from ED without an apparent cause and who do not have heart problem symptoms should be screened for Ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease.
This is because ED and IHD share many of the same risk factors, such as hypertension, obesity, and smoking, and often occur simultaneously as a result (1).
To give an example of this, the incidence rate of erectile dysfunction in men who have coronary artery disease is 42-57%, but only 4.7% in men without silent coronary artery disease (2, 3).
Why Does ED Serve as a Warning System for Heart Disease?
It is believed that having issues with sexual function can serve as an early warning sign of later cardiac events, mainly the clogging of the arteries.
When plaque builds up in your arteries through the process of atherosclerosis, it narrows the arteries and limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout your body (4). This can lead to serious cardiac events, such as heart attacks and strokes.
In one study that examined the link between ED and coronary artery disease showed that almost 70% of patients had erectile dysfunction for 38.8 months before developing symptoms of coronary artery disease (5).
This is likely due to a preceding dysfunction that can occur in the penile artery, called Endothelial dysfunction (6).
This causes inadequate blood supply to the heart and impairs the penis, resulting in the development of atherosclerosis. Because the penile artery is only 1-2mm in diameter while the coronary arteries are 3-4mm in diameter, the symptoms show through ED first (7).
How Can Magnesium Help?
While there isn’t direct evidence that magnesium for erectile dysfunction helps, studies do show that there is a close relationship between serum magnesium (Mg2+) and cardiovascular disease (8).
When magnesium intake is too low for an extended period, this can lead to latent magnesium deficiency (9), which is associated with clinical manifestations of atherosclerosis, stroke, cardiac arrhythmias, hypertension, and more (10).
It appears that magnesium plays a protective role in preventing vascular calcification or clogging of arteries due to a buildup of plaque (11).
It may be safe to reason that if an individual has low magnesium intake, causing a buildup of plaque, this could be contributing to pre or current erectile dysfunction symptoms. Thus, taking magnesium for erectile dysfunction may aid as an indirect aid.
How Does Magnesium Help High Blood Pressure?
Known as hypertension, high blood pressure is a condition where the pressure of blood that is pumping through your arteries is too high (12). This increases your chances of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and even kidney damage. Common causes of this condition are the clogging of your arteries, adrenal causes (associated with hormones), and kidney disease or injury.
Magnesium for erectile dysfunction may indirectly help as magnesium is involved in the regulation of blood pressure (13). It also protects the body from calcium deposition and helps maintain the elasticity of your blood vessels. Consuming a healthy diet with an appropriate amount of magnesium may help in controlling blood pressure, a common cause of ED.
Magnesium & Blood Vessel Relaxation
One of the issues noted with ED is an impairment in blood vessel relaxation. When your body does not send out enough nitric oxide to your penis, it cannot relax, widen, and increase blood circulation. This may restrict erections or cause impotence.
In taking magnesium for erectile dysfunction, men may be able to increase the relaxation response they get from their penile blood vessels, making erections easier (14).
Another way that magnesium for erectile dysfunction can be beneficial is that magnesium does have a strong connection with testosterone.
While low testosterone is not a direct cause of ED, it does impact the sex drive of men (15).
A lower sex drive can cause symptoms of impotence due to a lack of sexual desire and sexual satisfaction. If he cannot become aroused due to a low sex drive, one may believe that they have erectile dysfunction.
Wrapping It Up
While magnesium supplementation may not directly impact one’s ability to achieve an erection, there is quite a bit of information out there that suggests that magnesium can be used to address underlying health conditions.
In treating these underlying conditions with magnesium for erectile dysfunction, such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, poor blood vessel relaxation, and low testosterone, you may be able to combat your ED.