Do you have erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depression, back pain, or muscle pain, then you might be suffering from low vitamin D levels, also known as vitamin D deficiency. There’s been a lot of interest in vitamin D recently because of coronavirus or COVID-19.
Some studies published in the Irish Medical Journal hypothesized that a vitamin D deficiency might be linked with a higher chance of dying from COVID-19. Maybe you saw this article and even went out and bought a bunch of vitamin D from the store.
I’m not an infectious disease doctor, so I can’t tell you if taking more vitamin D will actually prevent you from getting COVID-19. As a urologist, I can tell you that low levels of vitamin D are associated with erectile dysfunction. One study out of Italy looked at 143 Italian men and found that men with severe erectile dysfunction had significantly lower levels of vitamin D and those men with just mild erectile dysfunction.
Researchers thought the vitamin D deficiency led to endothelial dysfunction. This and then contribute to erectile dysfunction. So, could the vitamin D that you are taking for COVID-19 improve your erections and erectile dysfunction?
First, let’s learn some of the basics of vitamin D:
What does vitamin D do?
Vitamin D is essential in absorbing calcium and bone growth.
Where to get it?
It’s synthesized in the skin from sunlight, but you can also get it from certain foods like salmon, tuna, fortified milk, eggs, fortified grains.
Usually, we recommend 30 minutes of sun exposure at least twice a week. It’s important not to wear sunscreen.
How much should you take?
600 international units is the recommended daily allowance, but I’ve seen as much as 1000 international units as being a reasonable dose to take on a daily basis.
Who is susceptible to low vitamin D?
People with darker skin pigmentations tend to have low vitamin D because the melanin in the skin blocks the UV from the sunlight.
Obese people. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so it tends to be stored in the fat. So obese people tend to need to eat more vitamin D in their diet to compensate for this.
Elderly people. Older adults tend not to be able to get outside as much, thus eliminating their sunlight exposure.
What happens if you overdose and take too much?
Bone pain, kidney stones, and even nausea.
So to circle back to our original question…
Could the vitamin D you are taking for COVID-19 also help with improving your erections?
The most important thing to realize with all these studies is that association is not causation. When these studies find a link between one thing, say low vitamin D, and another, erectile dysfunction, it doesn’t mean that low vitamin D levels cause erectile dysfunction.
As a result, it’s hard to say whether taking more vitamin D will actually reverse erectile dysfunction if it’s already occurred. Vitamin D is not a miracle drug, so don’t go run to the store and buy a bunch of vitamin D and take massive amounts of this stuff just because you want to prevent yourself from getting COVID-19.
It won’t do that. These studies suggest that once infected, vitamin D may reduce the risk of death and complications. BUT it needs to be further studied. The same goes for vitamin D and erectile dysfunction: having low levels may be involved with the underlying mechanism that leads to rectal dysfunction, but it doesn’t mean that low vitamin D causes it.
The bottom line is if you’ve got some of the symptoms of low vitamin D, then go to your doctor and get a lab test to see what your vitamin D levels are at. If low, then replacement is needed, but don’t take massive amounts of it, so my conclusion is that there may be benefits to taking vitamin D, and there’s minimal risk to taking the daily recommended dose.