Wine and tea may decrease risk of erectile dysfunction: Study

By Hal Conick contact

- Last updated on GMT

Can wine help prevent ED? One study says yes.
Can wine help prevent ED? One study says yes.
Wine, tea and other flavonoid-rich beverages and foods may help reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction, according to a recent study.

Researchers from the UK’s University of East Anglia and the US’ Harvard University said that these flavonoids are of the greatest benefit to men 70 years or older. The study​ is titled Blueberries, citrus fruits, red wine associated with reduced erectile dysfunction​ and was featured in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

How the study was conducted

This has been the first study of its kind to look at the association between flavonoids and erectile function, according to researchers. It looked at an in-depth look into the relationship between habitual intake of flavonoids and incidences of erectile dysfunction among 25,096 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, using the study’s food-frequency questionnaires that were collected every four years.

During a 10 year follow-up, 35.6% of men reported erectile dysfunction in some capacity. After adjusting subclasses related to cardiovascular disease, consumption of three flavonoids was positively associated with a reduction in erectile dysfunction.

“In analyses stratified by age, a higher intake of flavanones, anthocyanins, and flavones was significantly associated with a reduction in risk of ED,”​ according to the study, which reported a 11% to 16% reduction in risk from three types of flavonoids.

Where flavonoids come from and how they can help

Flavonoids are present in food and beverage items such as fruits, vegetables, teas, herbs and wine, researchers said. Researchers found that the best flavonoids to prevent erectile dysfunction included anthocyanins, flavanones and flavones. The top five sources of these include strawberries, blueberries, red wine, apples/pears, and citrus products, according to the study.

In addition, the study said increasing fruit intake was associated with a 14% reduction in the risk of erectile dysfunction, while combining flavonoid-rich foods with an exercise routine could decrease occurrence of the dysfunction by 21%.

On UEA’s website, lead researcher Prof Aedin Cassidy said men who regularly consumed foods higher in flavonoids were 10% less likely to suffer erectile dysfunction.

“In terms of quantities, we're talking just a few portions a week,” ​he said.

Dr Eric Rimm, senior author on the study and a Harvard professor, said in a statement on the study that erectile dysfunction can be an early indication of poor vascular function. Eating the correct foods “offers a critical opportunity” ​to prevent heart attacks, cardiovascular disease and perhaps even death.

While researchers noted that the predominant reason for erectile dysfunction is vascular, there has been data that the diet also plays a role. This has been the first study of its kind to look at the association between flavonoids and erectile function.

“These data suggest that a higher habitual intake of specific flavonoid-rich foods is associated with reduced ED incidence,”​ the study’s conclusion section said. “Intervention trials are needed to further examine the impact of increasing intakes of commonly consumed flavonoid-rich foods on.”

Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Blueberries, citrus fruits, red wine associated with reduced erectile dysfunction

DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.115.122010

A. Cassidy, M. Franz, E. Rimm

Related topics: Research

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