There are several reasons why a man may develop erectile dysfunction (ED), from his lifestyle choices to underlying health concerns. ED could be a sign that your body is struggling with something that may not even be on your radar. Not only can your mental health play a role in your sexual functioning, but so can a lack of sufficient vitamins. For example, various studies have found a connection between ED and exposure to sunlight, particularly due to vitamin D deficiency. Let’s get into why vitamin D and sunlight could play a role in your sexual health, as well as how you can get a boost of it to hopefully see some improvement in your erections.
The Connection between ED and Sunlight
A significant number of men struggling with erectile dysfunction have been found to have low levels of vitamin D. This could be due to the role vitamin D plays in the production of free radicals, which can affect healthy levels of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is crucial to blood vessel health. As a man’s nitric oxide levels deplete due to low levels of vitamin D, his blood vessels are unable to carry sufficient blood flow into the penis. Because of this, a man is unable to get an erection.
Vitamin D deficiency and lack of sunlight have also been closely associated with cardiovascular disease, which is one underlying health condition that could manifest itself in erectile dysfunction. ED is usually a strong indicator of cardiovascular disease, especially when men are asymptomatic and may not even realize they are struggling with heart problems.
Exposure to sunlight has been shown to counteract these problems. Specifically, sunlight aids in the production of nitric oxide and decreases blood pressure due to a type of light called UVA. As UVA light boosts nitric oxide and produces vasodilation, the dilation of blood vessels, men are better able to get an erection as blood flow increases to the penis.
Easy Ways to Get a Boost of Vitamin D
There are a variety of ways you can get a boost of vitamin D on a daily basis. You don’t have to drastically change your lifestyle to get the vitamins and minerals you need to live a healthy life. Here are a few ideas for how you can get some more vitamin D:
- Get outside! This is the best way to take advantage of vitamin D and all the other benefits sunlight can provide. Not only will this improve your physical health, but you’ll feel happier once you get out, too.
- Take a supplement. This is one of the most convenient options as you are always guaranteed to get an adequate intake of vitamin D even if you don’t go outside for the day.
- Eat more seafood. Fatty fish and seafood are some of the most natural vitamin D-rich foods you can find.
- Sit by a window. If you don’t have time in the day to get outside, sitting by a window is a great way to ensure you still get some sunlight and vitamin D.
- Eat fortified foods. These foods have vitamin D added to them because so few foods have naturally produced vitamin D. Some common fortified foods include milk, orange juice, cereal, tofu, and certain types of yogurt.
Other Lifestyle Changes That May Improve ED
Erectile dysfunction may also improve with other lifestyle changes alongside those that would boost your intake of vitamin D. Some of these choices include eating a healthier diet, exercising more often, cutting back on alcohol and smoking, and finding healthy coping strategies to deal with stress.
As you identify opportunities in your life to improve your health in terms of sunlight, now is the perfect time to look for other areas where you can prioritize your well-being. Come up with a plan that suits your fitness goals and identify some changes you can make to ensure the healthiest lifestyle for you.
Making small, healthy choices every day could be the key to improving your sexual health. Due to the connection between sunlight and erectile dysfunction, one of these choices could include incorporating some more vitamin D in your life however you can. This would be particularly effective when done along with other healthy lifestyle decisions like cutting back on alcohol and getting more physical activity. If you are a man struggling with ED, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor to ensure it isn’t a sign of another underlying health concern.