Erectile dysfunction

Updated 08 March 2017

Caffeine gives erectile boost

Caffeine could help restore potency in men with erectile dysfunction due to diabetes, the results of a new study in rats suggest.

Caffeine could help restore potency in men with erectile dysfunction due to diabetes, the results of a new study in rats suggest.

But drinking coffee won't cure erectile dysfunction in diabetic men, Dr. Run Wang of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, one of the study's authors, told Reuters Health.

If the findings in rodents do translate to humans, he added, it is possible that coffee drinkers might need to take less medication for treating diabetes-related erectile dysfunction.

As many as 75 percent of men with diabetes have erectile dysfunction, Wang and his team note in their report, published in the Journal of Andrology.

Erectile dysfunction in diabetic men is chiefly related to poor function of the endothelium, which is responsible for responding to chemical signals to increase blood flow by dilating blood vessels.

Caffeine could help promote erections
Existing drugs for treating erectile dysfunction are phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors, which prevent the breakdown of an erection-promoting chemical called cGMP, Wang explained.

While Viagra, Cialis and other drugs target PDE-5, which is specific to the penis, caffeine blocks the action of several types of PDE inhibitors, thus inhibiting the breakdown of cGMP throughout the body.

To investigate whether caffeine might help promote erections through these non-specific effects, the researchers treated diabetic rats with caffeine for eight weeks and then tested their erectile function.

Before treatment, the diabetic animals had lower pressure in the erectile tissue of the penis during stimulation and lower levels of cGMP compared to the normal control rats. But after the diabetic animals were given caffeine, penile pressure during erection increased and levels of cGMP rose, although not to the same levels as seen in the non-diabetic animals.

Clinical trial planned
When rats were given 10 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight per day (mg/kg/day) or 20 mg/kg/day, there was no difference in response between the two groups.

The lower dosage is equivalent to a person consuming 250 mg of caffeine daily, the researchers note, or the average daily caffeine dose for humans.

Wang's colleague Dr Yutian Dai of Nanjing University School of Medicine China, said he is now investigating whether caffeine may have erection-promoting effects that aren't related to cGMP, and he is planning a clinical trial of caffeine for treating erectile dysfunction in humans. – (Reuters Health, May 2008)

Read more:
Erectile blues a heart alarm
Better lifestyle, better sex


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Erectile Dysfunction Expert

Dr Kenny du Toit is a urologist practicing in Rondebosch, Cape Town. He is also consultant at Tygerberg hospital, where he is a senior lecturer at Stellenbosch University. He is a member of the South African Urological Association, Colleges of Medicine South Africa and Société Internationale d’Urologie. Board registered with both the HPCSA (Health professions council of South Africa) and GMC (General medical council UK). He has a keen interest in oncology, kidney stones and erectile dysfunction.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules