What’s more, men with severe cases of ED had vitamin D levels that were about 24 per cent lower than those of men with mild forms of the condition.
Insufficient levels of D may spur the production of free radicals called superoxide ions, according to study author Dr Alessandra Barassi and her research team.
These free radicals deplete your nitric oxide, a molecule that helps your blood vessels function properly.
The result: It makes it hard to, well, get hard.
“Nitric oxide causes the blood vessels to relax, which increases the blood flow and causes an erection under normal circumstances,” says Dr Larry Lipshultz, a Men’s Health urology advisor. Without the necessary amounts of nitric acid, though, your blood vessels may not relax enough to allow for an erection.
So go and have a lay down and enjoy the sunshine (making sure you apply sunscreen). Your erection will thank you for it.
A version of this article was first published on MensHealth.com
If you suffer from ED, ask your doctor to check your vitamin D levels. For ED patients with low levels, the study recommends taking supplements to get back to the optimal level of 30 ng/mL or above.
Related: 10 Simple Ways to Protect Your Erection Right Now
As for men with normal erectile functioning, Dr. Barassi says she’s currently studying whether vitamin D supplementation may act as a preventive measure to delay ED.