My friend keeps telling me that curcumin can boost erections and make my sex life better.
I’m not even sure what curcumin is, let alone how it can help with my sexual health.
What’s the skinny? Can it help me with my erectile dysfunction?
Hello Davey, Jason Brick here,
Curcumin is one of the more obscure of the natural remedies for erectile dysfunction. It’s also potentially one of the most effective.
Here’s what you need to know about what it is, what it does and why it works.
Not many people know about curcumin itself, but you have probably heard of turmeric. It’s a bright yellow powder that’s a staple in curries from India and Southeast Asia.
It comes from a plant in the ginger family, similar to galangal root. Besides being used for cooking, its bright yellow color has made it an ingredient in dyes and pigments for thousands of years.
Curcumin is one of the substances found in turmeric, responsible both for the flavor profile and the color.
Over the past twenty years, western studies into the impacts of turmeric have led experts and researchers to identify several sexual health benefits, and to name curcumin as the active ingredient responsible for them.
Since then, supplement researchers and distributors have developed and shipped curcumin as a supplement for sexual health and other aspects of wellness.
But the big question is, does curcumin Boost Erections? Let’s take a look at the science and find out…
Nitric oxide is responsible for several of the physiological processes that make erections, satisfying sex and orgasm happen.
That’s why NO “poppers” were a popular party drug back in pre-AIDS days.
Reduced production of nitric oxide can negatively impact your sex life, just as increased production can help symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
Because nitric oxide modulates several hormones responsible for sexual health and it also opens up blood vessels so blood can flow freely into your penis, among other things.
A 2012 study at the Ohio State University Department of Human Nutrition in Columbus, Ohio gave a low dose of curcumin to healthy people (including a placebo-fed control group) aged 40 to 60 years for four weeks.
They then tested the subjects’ blood and saliva for a variety of factors.
They found the curcumin produced several statistically significant changes in body chemistry. Among those changes was an increase in blood levels of nitric oxide (source).
The placebo group experienced no such rise in the nitric oxide levels or any of the other changes in body chemistry.
Short version: more nitric oxide means better erections, and more curcumin means more nitric oxide.
This one’s a little counterintuitive. Doesn’t a little “local swelling” help with sexual health?
Jokes aside, increased inflammation is bad for tissues all over your body. This isn’t just the swelling you get after twisting your knee or bumping into a corner in the dark.
This refers to chronic inflammation throughout your body, caused by stress, dietary or environmental factors.
That chronic inflammation reduces the health of the cells responsible for healthy and fun inflammation of your penis before and during sex.
Think of it like the elastic in your underwear. ..
It works great for a while, but too much stretching takes the bounce out of it. It becomes flaccid and unable to do its job. So it is with inflammation in the endothelial cells responsible for achieving and maintaining your erection.
A study of 100 patients with osteoarthritis (a painful affliction where tissue around the joints swell) gave each subject 200 mg of curcumin daily.
At the end of the study, those patients experienced a significant reduction in both pain from inflammation and measurable markers for inflammation in the blood (source).
This study didn’t directly examine the sexual health impact of curcumin, but it did show that curcumin reduces chronic inflammation even in bodies suffering from a condition that causes it.
Less inflammation means better erections and curcumin means less inflammation.
If you google curcumin and read for more than ten minutes, you’ll find some comments about how curcumin increases estrogen.
I’ve written before about how more estrogen (or less testosterone, which can be caused by increased estrogen production) can negatively impact erectile function.
So will curcumin spike estrogen and have a negative impact on your erections?
Turns out the impact of curcumin on estrogen is not as advertised. An uncited passage in a 2015 WebMD article started the problem, and even it was couched in terms of “might be” and “in theory.”
People long on promotion mojo and short on research skills shared the idea long and wide until it became an urban legend of erectile health.
But this is a sexual health legend that belongs in a museum next to a jar of powdered rhino horn.
A series of studies between 2008 and 2010 found that curcumin had either no, or minimal, impact on estrogen production.
These studies were focused on women’s health — in particular whether or not curcumin might increase risk for women with hormone-senstive cancers — so they were conducted as professionally as possible.
We can say with almost total certainty that curcumin will not increase estrogen levels in your blood significantly enough to interfere with your sexual or erectile health.
Curcumin is a turmeric extract you can buy as a dietary supplement and take to improve your erections.
Studies indicate it can be used as a natural treatment for cardiovascular issues, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and even to reduce the risk of some cancers.
Meanwhile, the impact of curcumin on two of the key physiological processes responsible for you achieving and maintaining erections has been conclusively proven on numerous occasions.
Taking a daily dose of curcumin (either in a pill form, liquid extract, or just by eating more curry) can help keep you and your partner active in the sack due to its ability to boost erections by elevating nitric oxide levels and reducing inflammation in the pipes leading to your penis.
If your erectile dysfunction comes along with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia you should probably use curcumin in food or supplement form on a daily basis to reduce your risk.