Regular intake of Vitamin B12 in small dosages is essential for maintaining erectile function. Vitamins are substances that are needed by the body in small amounts, and they act as cofactors. Without them, many crucial chemical reactions cannot happen in the body, resulting in various health issues.
Vitamin B12 is not a single vitamin, but a group of compounds that are very similar in structure and have mineral cobalt in them. That is why B12s are also called “cobalamins.” Two of its most active forms are methyl-cobalamin and deoxyadenosylcobalamin (1).
Vitamin b12 Is One of the Essential Vitamins for Good Health
Vitamin B12 participates in hundreds of vital metabolic processes. Thus, it is necessary for the production of energy, red blood cell, DNA and RNA, proteins, and lipids metabolism. It is suitable for nerve health (2).
People are prone to vitamin B12 deficiency as it is present only in products of animal origin. Thus vegans, those living with chronic ailments, are particularly at risk. Although the body has vast stores of vitamin B12, a prolonged illness or lack of it in the diet may lead to severe deficiency.
Vitamin B12 is not easy for the body to absorb as dietary B12 is bound to protein. The body separates dietary B12 from proteins with the help of gastric juices. After that, it attaches to the so-called intrinsic factor produced in the stomach to get absorbed. It means that individuals with stomach diseases might not absorb them well (3).
However, vitamin B12 supplements are better absorbed by the body, as they are not bound to proteins, and thus require less effort for absorption.
How Can One Identify Vitamin b12 Deficiency?
It is not a rare condition, and most people in modern times would have a subclinical deficiency. It means that people living with its deficiency may have very vague symptoms, and they might not understand that reason for suboptimal health is its deficiency. One such vague symptoms of its deficiency could be poor sexual health.
Those living with its deficit might have a chronic weakness, fatigue, constipation, changes in appetite, weight loss, and megaloblastic anemia. Severe cases may have symptoms related to nerve damage like a tingling sensation, numbness. Individuals with its deficiency are at a higher risk of mood disorders, low libido (4).
One should take Vitamin B12 deficiency seriously. Else it may have severe health implications. One should always consider it lack if there are other symptoms associated with erectile dysfunction like general weakness, nerve pains, anemia.
Role of Vitamin b12 in Erectile Dysfunction
Vitamin B12 deficiency may cause severe erectile dysfunction in many, and yet it remains one of the least discussed topics in medical science. Awareness regarding the role of vitamin B12 in male sexual health is so low that even many doctors or specialists are unaware of it. Its deficiency rarely comes to mind when someone reports problems with sexual performance.
Most studies regarding the association between Vitamin B12 and erectile dysfunction were done in the last 20 years. Studies show that older men are particularly at risk.
Vitamin B12 suppresses systemic inflammation. Studies show that its regular supplementation may help lower the levels of homocysteine, one of the well-known markers of inflammation. Researchers suggest that this could be the way that vitamin B12 might help get rid of poor erectile function. It also means that vitamin B12 may even help those with more or less normal levels of B12, by suppressing inflammation and thus improving libido and erection quality (5, 6).
There could be other, less understood, ways through which vitamin B12 might boost sexual performance and desire. It is suitable for heart and nerve health. It helps boost red blood cells. It improves energy metabolism. All these benefits may ultimately boost sexual performance.
Vitamin b12 Dosage for Erectile Dysfunction
How much vitamin B12 should one take will depend on the cause of its deficiency. The daily requirement of vitamin B12 in healthy adults is merely 2.4 mcg (micrograms). However, older adults or those living with disease conditions may need more. Moreover, there is a need for a higher dose for boosting sexual function.
If the cause is a severe gastrointestinal disorder or proven disease of the stomach, or due to medications that one may be taking to suppress gastric acid, then the recommended dose to start with is 1000 mcg.
However, most individuals will benefit from much smaller doses too. They may start with a higher dose like 500 mcg of a few weeks and then take a low maintenance dose.
Taking a high dosage is not necessarily good as the body has limits of absorbing, utilizing, and storing it. Thus, there is no value of taking it more than 1000 mcg a day. Even when one takes 1000 mcg, studies show that the body absorbs only about 15% of it (7). Nevertheless, it is enough to rectify deficiency and boost body functions like erectile function.
There is some misinformation about vitamin B12 that only injectables can help treat its deficiency. However, this is an old notion, and even many doctors are not aware of it. Doctors think that if a person cannot absorb dietary vitamin B12, then he/she cannot absorb oral supplements. But this is not true as supplements have free unbonded (to proteins) vitamin B12 that body can absorb more readily.
Vitamin B12 dosage for those living with erectile dysfunction could be 1000 mcg for the first few weeks, and then one may follow with some small maintenance dosage for the next few months.