Long regarded as the super-defender against free radicals, vitamin E is also thought to help prevent cataracts and even postpone the effects of aging. Currently, there is growing evidence that taking vitamin E in larger doses helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, thereby enhancing penile health in the process.
A recent study of fifty thousand men aged forty to seventy-five found a 39 percent decrease in heart disease risk in those who took at least 100 IU of vitamin E daily. This showed that the substance works to prevent build-up of fatty deposits (plaque) on arterial walls. The same deposits can decrease blood flow to the penis.
Another study, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, divided forty-eight men into six random groups. They were given either a placebo or vitamin E capsules in dosages of 60, 200, 400, 800, and 1,200 IU daily for eight weeks. Blood cholesterol levels were checked before and after the study. Those men who took 400 IU had substantially less oxidation of LDLs—and therefore less likelihood of it sticking to artery walls—than that of any other group.
Studies also show that it is necessary to use supplements in order to get the full benefit of vitamin E, since it’s impossible to get adequate quantities from food alone. The RDA is currently 10 mg for men and 8 mg for women—enough to prevent a deficiency, but hardly sufficient to provide full antioxidant protection. Most of my patients who adhere to low-fat, heart-healthy diets never take in enough of the supplement through diet alone. That’s because it’s found primarily in high-fat foods like nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and mayonnaise.
The best way to ensure that you’re getting enough E daily for penile protection is with a supplement of at least 400 W (one milligram equals 0.91 IU). But since high doses of the vitamin may interfere with the clotting ability of the blood, check with your physician first if you are taking blood-thinning medication.
A powerful antioxidant that not only prevents damage on a cellular level, vitamin C can also reverse free radical injury. Researchers have long noted the critical role that this substance plays in the prevention of atherosclerosis, once again helping both the heart and the penis. It does so by reducing both cholesterol and fat levels and increasing the permeability, as well as the strength of, all capillaries, the smallest blood vessels in the body.
In addition, research points to a much lower death rate among men who take vitamin C supplements compared to those who took in adequate dietary amounts but no additional supplementation. One study, at the University of California at Los Angeles, observed the correlation between vitamin C intake and death rates of more than eleven thousand people. As a group, the more vitamin C the men consumed, the fewer deaths they suffered—particularly from heart disease. Another large study at UCLA demonstrated that men who took 300 to 400 mg of vitamin C daily had 15 percent fewer deaths from heart conditions, and lived six years longer than those who didn’t.