Cereal vitamin could aid sex problems, study claims

By Helen Glaberson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Niacin

A vitamin contained in breakfast cereals could help men with impotence problems, according to new research.

The study, published in The Journal Of Sexual Medicine ​claims that consuming high doses of niacin, or B3 can improve erectile dysfunction (ED) and dyslipidemia.

Previous research suggests that statins, drugs which lower the level of cholesterol in the blood, help with impotence, therefore the researchers wanted to find out if niacin had the same effect.

The researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong claim that volunteers who took two to three 500 milligram niacin pills every day for 12 weeks reported significant improvements to their erectile troubles, compared to those who took a placebo tablet.

In the study, the most severe cases benefitted the most and the vitamin did not work for those with mild and mild-to-moderate ED.

According to the researchers, niacin works by boosting blood flow to the pelvic area.

Common condition

The scientists said ED is a common condition affecting more than 50 per cent of men aged between 40 and 70.

Despite the success of the drug phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitor (PDE5i), which is currently used to treat such problems, only around 60–70 per cent of patients have a satisfactory response to the drug.

This is why the scientists said there is a need to develop other therapeutic agents for those patients who do not respond satisfactorily to PDE5i.

The main difference between this study and previous research is that niacin was used alone rather than in combination with PDE5i, said the scientists


160 male patients with ED and dyslipidemia were randomly put into two groups; those that received up to 1,500 mg oral niacin daily or a placebo for 12 weeks.

The results were measured through a recognised scoring system, the International Index of Erectile Function, (IIEF) which measures the ability to obtain and sustain an erection.

The improvement in erectile function as primarily assessed by question three, (frequency of penetration), and question four, (frequency of maintained erections after penetration) of the IIEF. In addition the total IIEF score, IIEF-erectile function domain, and Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM) score was used.

However, the scientists did note that a third of participants suffered from one of niacin’s adverse effects; facial flushing, itchy skin is another negative result of the vitamin.

Effect of Niacin on Erectile Function in Men Suffering Erectile Dysfunction and Dyslipidemia

Source:​The Journal Of Sexual Medicine

Article first published online: DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02414.x

Related topics R&D