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Supplements, Heart Disease, and Erectile Dysfunction

First, ED is often an early sign of heart disease. For example, men with coronary artery disease (a type of heart disease) have atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries – which narrows blood vessels and makes it harder for blood travel around the body. Arteries in the penis are small and among the first to be affected by atherosclerosis. And since an erection depends on good blood flow to the penis, erectile dysfunction (ED) can result.

Second, as with heart disease, many people buy supplements and products that claim to improve sexual function. But such claims are not always backed by scientific evidence. In addition, supplements are not always approved by regulatory agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some contain undeclared ingredients that can cause dangerous interactions with other drugs.

Most likely, better sex can be achieved without the use of supplements. Treating underlying conditions like diabetes and heart disease, fostering better communication with partners, getting regular exercise, and eating healthy foods can all contribute to better sexual health. A doctor can provide the best guidance on one’s personal situation.

To learn more about sexual health supplements, please see the following links:

What’s Really in Your Dietary Supplement?

FDA Issues Supplement Warnings

ED and Sexual Enhancement Products

The Dangers of Over-the-Counter Male Enhancement


American College of Cardiology

“Most Vitamin, Mineral Supplements Not Shown to Lower Heart Disease Risk”

(Press release. May 29, 2018)

International Society for Sexual Medicine

“What is the link between erectile dysfunction (ED) and coronary artery disease?”


Kantor, Elizabeth D., PhD, et al.

“Trends in Dietary Supplement Use Among US Adults From 1999-2012”

(October 11, 2016)


Labos, Christopher, MD CM, MSc, FRCPC

“Supplements and CVD: Why Negative Data Don't Dampen Sales”

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