Two Cups of Coffee a Day May Keep Erectile Dysfunction Away

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 Asem El Alaily Yehia / Getty Images

In the U.S., an estimated 18 million men report being unable to hold an erection for long enough to have satisfying sex. To be extremely specific, the problem comes down to blood flow — after arousal, a burst of nitric oxide is released in the body to relax muscles around the penis so that an erection can occur. There are ample ways to address the issue — like medication — but there are also preventive measures including eating right and regular exercise. One new study also suggests you should think about drinking more coffee.

According to their report, men who drink the equivalent caffeine level of two to three cups of coffee a day are 39 percent less likely to experience erectile dysfunction. We usually rely on caffeine to get us moving, but this report suggests that caffeine may have a calming effect on penile muscles, helping much needed blood rush to the region.

"It is counterintuitive since caffeine usually has the opposite effect on smooth muscle in blood vessels, causing them to contract rather than relax," says Dr. Robert Mordkin, chief of urology and director of robotic surgery at Virginia Hospital Center, who did not contribute to the research. "It's intriguing data."  

The study reviews data from over 3,700 men and includes other caffeine sources like tea, soda, and energy drinks. Caffeine lowered erectile dysfunction risk in overweight, obese, and hypertensive men, but had no impact on men with diabetes. According to Dr. David S. Lopez, an author of the study at the University of Texas School of Public Health, diabetes wreaks havoc on all types of arteries in the body, including those found below the belt. For this reason, Lopez says that researchers were not surprised to see that caffeine had no impact on ED in diabetics. 

But don't run for an energy shot just yet. Lopez says the study only accounted for caffeine, not the sugar, milk, and additives included in other caffeinated drinks. Instead, grab a cup of black coffee, since there is much research that a coffee habit can also lead to a healthier liver, heartbrain, and teeth.