Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Depending on what day of the week you read this, there’s probably a new “all-star” in the superfood world claiming to be a natural remedy for ED (erectile dysfunction).
We’ve seen a number of fruits, vegetables, herbs, extracts, powders and oils discussed and evaluated over the years, and we’re here to tell you beetroot might just be another blip on the radar. We've even compiled a list of possible foods that may kill ED. But while some research has linked beetroot to potential benefits for ED, potential benefits and real benefits are very different things.
The Massachusetts Male Aging Study found that, by age 40, roughly 40 percent of men experience some kind of erectile dysfunction — and by age 70, that number jumps to 70 percent).
Curiously few men, however, have overcome ED by buying a juicer.
Of course, it’s easier to buy a juicer or scour the internet looking for home remedies and over-the-counter supplements to “fix” sexual problems — much easier than going to a healthcare professional and having to explain that you’re having trouble getting it up.
Below, we’ll explore the (limited) science behind beetroot for ED. We’ll also touch on the benefits of getting more beets in your diet (there are a lot) and suggest a few ED treatment options that may go down a little easier than pulpy red juice when you’re trying to get intimate.
When it comes to erectile dysfunction, there aren’t many compelling studies suggesting that beets are the key to stiffer, longer-lasting erections. The problem is that while the internet may give you a ton of search results for beetroot and ED, there’s not much substance once you look at the scientific studies — or lack thereof.
Most research has focused on the fact that beetroot supplementation can increase nitric oxide in the body, which could be beneficial for erections.
See, nitric oxide plays a very important role in your ability to achieve an erection (to the point that many people supplement nitric oxide too). It helps in the relaxation of smooth muscle that leads to your penis being filled with blood — and generally, it’s also known for promoting better vascular function.
And just like nitric oxide impairment is thought to play a role in your increased risk of heart disease, it’s believed to play a role in your increased risk of erectile dysfunction.
But how do you defeat ED with beets? That’s a harder question to answer.
Beetroot can be juiced or powdered — or simply eaten as it has been for thousands of years. Beets are rich in fiber, antioxidants, saponins, nitrate (more on that later) and phenolic compounds. They also contain vitamins such as retinol (vitamin A), B-complex, and vitamin C, plus minerals such as sodium, iron, copper, magnesium, calcium, zinc, phosphorus and potassium.
Unfortunately, there are currently no official dietary guidelines for how to consume beetroot (as a juice or as a powder) for erectile health benefits — or any health benefits, for that matter.
So, while studies have shown that beets may offer these benefits, getting the “right amount” into your diet isn’t something we (or anyone else) can tell you how to do the right way — at least not yet.
You may find beetroot mentioned alongside digestive system health, cancer cells, cholesterol and other important men’s health topics. But while many blogs talk up the potential of beets, we’re here to focus on the science.
We don’t want to mince (or juice or powderize) words here: Beetroot juice is good for you for many reasons.
While a post-workout shot of it at the juice bar may not have you filling out those gray sweatpants in impressive ways, it can do a number of things for the total body health you’re trying to improve and protect — and many of these things may trickle down to better erections.
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There’s evidence for some of the reported health benefits. The benefits of beetroot powder for men include:
Antioxidant intake. Beetroot is rich in numerous antioxidant compounds, including betalain, a pigment containing nitrogen. In lab studies, beetroot juice has been shown to protect against oxidative stress on numerous cell types, including fats, proteins and DNA. Further, when scientists tested to see if human digestion degrades these beneficial compounds, they found the exact opposite: Simulated digestion increases antioxidant power.
Inflammation reduction. There’s some evidence that beetroot may provide anti-inflammatory benefits. In one human study, supplementing with beetroot for just 10 days resulted in a reduction of inflammatory markers and pain in patients with arthritis. A few studies in rats had similarly positive findings.
Nitric oxide production. Much of the research on beetroot benefits is related to vascular health. This is because beets, and therefore beet juice, are rich in dietary nitrate, which becomes nitric oxide during digestion. Nitric oxide is responsible for mediating the cells that make up the lining of our blood vessels (known as endothelium), but as we age, the amount of nitric oxide available within our bodies depletes.
Lowered blood pressure. Less available nitric oxide has been implicated as a cause of endothelial dysfunction, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or hypertension and hardening of the arteries. Multiple studies have shown cardiovascular benefits associated with beets or beetroot juice, including reduced blood pressure, improved muscle oxygenation and less stiff blood vessels.
Cognition boost. Mental wellness may also get a boost from this root vegetable. Similar to how beet juice may provide cardiovascular benefits, it might assist in protecting against neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. This is because a decline in available nitric acid associated with age can affect brain health. A few studies in humans have found that beetroot supplementation increases blood flow in the brain and improves reaction time.
Generally speaking, beetroot is also part of a well-balanced diet. Eating beets may prevent or improve any number of health conditions, including boosting your heart health, and it may be part of a weight loss plan in certain diets.
Just because it doesn’t directly improve the athletic performance of your penis doesn’t mean it’s not worth drinking beet juice or consuming these root veggies in another way to reap the health benefits of beets.
We know beet juice may increase nitric oxide in the body, but like other superfoods, we don’t know if this has any impact on your sexual health. There simply isn’t a body of scientific research supporting any such claims.
We do know that beet juice is good for you, though, so feel free to drink up. While you’re sipping, here are some big-picture takeaways:
Beets are loaded with nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In other words, they’re good for you.
Beetroot contains inorganic nitrate, which your body converts to nitric oxide.
As you get older, your body contains less nitric oxide, which is believed to increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and even Alzheimer’s.
Nitric oxide may play a role in erection health. This theory is behind the claims that beet juice is an effective ED treatment in the absence of scientific studies proving the link.
There’s currently no concrete evidence proving beet juice can help with erectile dysfunction.
And if you really just want to taste your ED treatment, consider our chewable ED meds hard mints for a convenient, edible delivery of a proven, FDA-approved treatment for ED.
You can’t beet ED, but you can beat ED with the right tools. Get help today.