Dietary factors, Mediterranean diet and erectile dysfunction

J Sex Med. 2010 Jul;7(7):2338-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.01842.x. Epub 2010 May 4.


Introduction: Although epidemiological evidence seems to support a role for lifestyle factors in the pathogenesis of erectile dysfunction (ED), limited data are available suggesting that dietary changes may improve ED.

Aim: To provide an update on clinical evidence regarding the role of dietary factors in ED.

Methods: A systematic literature search was performed using MEDLINE and other database (EMBASE, SCOPUS) with MeSH terms and keywords for "erectile dysfunction", "diet", "dietary patterns", "Mediterranean diet", and "lifestyle".

Main outcome measures: To examine the data relating to erectile dysfunction with dietary factors, its relationship and the impact of dietary treatment.

Results: Only few studies assessed the role or the effect of diet on ED. A dietary pattern which is high in fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and fish but low in red and processed meat and refined grains is more represented in subjects without ED. Mediterranean diet has been proposed as a healthy dietary pattern based on evidence that greater adherence to this diet is associated with lower all-cause and disease-specific survival. In type 2 diabetic men, those with the highest adherence to the Mediterranean diet had the lowest prevalence of ED and were more likely to be sexually active. In clinical trials, Mediterranean diet was more effective than a control diet in ameliorating ED or restoring absent ED in people with obesity or metabolic syndrome.

Conclusion: The adoption of a Mediterranean diet may be associated with an improvement of erectile dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Diet, Mediterranean / statistics & numerical data*
  • Edible Grain
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / pathology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / prevention & control
  • Fruit
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / pathology*
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / pathology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Vegetables