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Lecithin Benefits for Men: Does It Help ED?

Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Reviewed by Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Written by Geoffrey C. Whittaker

Published 11/01/2022

Updated 04/18/2024

Dealing with erectile dysfunction (ED)? Chances are, you’re exploring every treatment option, from prescription medications to dietary supplements. And today, you’re wondering if the potential lecithin benefits for men might be the solution.

Lecithin is a compound purported to do things like lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. Some people even talk about its benefits for sexual performance. So, what are the benefits of lecithin sexually? Can it possibly help guys struggling with ED?

Some research suggests that cholesterol levels, blood pressure and other areas could see health benefits from lecithin. But how much stock should you put in these claims?

Let’s start with the basics.

Lecithin is part of a large group of compounds called phospholipids, which play key roles in brain, blood and nerve function. Also commonly known as soy lecithin, this substance is sometimes used as an emulsifier in foods.

Lecithin can be found naturally in the body and in some foods (even without a soy lecithin additive). Foods containing lecithin include: 

  • Soybeans

  • Wheat germ

  • Peanuts

  • Liver

  • Egg yolks

In addition to foods, lecithin comes in supplement form. You can get it in capsules or as a liquid, sometimes produced from sunflower seeds and sold as “sunflower lecithin for men.” 

Lecithin is used in the metabolic process (how the body produces energy) and also moves fats. In the body, lecithin transforms into choline, which then helps your body make a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

Acetylcholine is critical for cognitive function, memory, learning and other areas of brain activity. It also supports the nervous system. 

In very rare cases, some people may be choline-deficient. This can be a problem that causes muscle damage, kidney problems and liver issues. It’s also associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

ED can be caused by various things, including the natural aging process, low testosterone levels, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, neurological diseases, stress and obesity. Since many factors can be at play, there’s no single pathway to treatment.

However, there’s some buzz that lecithin supplements can help with ED. The theory is that when lecithin turns into choline, it helps move fat in the body. 

In an ideal scenario, the brain sends signals to blood vessels in the penis to open up. This helps blood flow increase. Blood then gets temporarily trapped in the corpora cavernosa (two long chambers in the penis), which helps you get — and keep — an erection

So, if fat is clogging arteries, choline (via lecithin) could help. Choline also keeps your blood vessels healthy — which are key components of how you get an erection.

In other words, lecithin could help improve the function of things involved in getting an erection. Because of this, some think it might help with ED caused by cardiovascular issues.

Have you found your way to this page in a quest to figure out how to increase ejaculate volume with lecithin? There are rumors that lecithin can increase semen volume, sperm count, semen quality or even sperm motility.

But unfortunately, outside of anecdotal accounts from the Internet, we’ve found no substantial evidence to back up this particular claim.

Semen volume and quality depend on numerous factors, including testosterone levels, libido (sex drive), erectile function and overall physical health.

Alternatives to Lecithin for Increasing Semen Volume

If you’re trying to boost semen volume or improve your fertility overall, a healthcare provider will likely tell you to focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as:

  • Getting enough sleep

  • Exercising regularly

  • Maintaining a healthy weight

  • Eating a nutritious diet

  • Limiting alcohol and tobacco use

  • Finding healthy ways to manage stress

Some research suggests that certain vitamins and supplements may improve semen quality and sexual health. This includes vitamin E, vitamin B6, folic acid, zinc, maca root, ashwagandha and fenugreek.

See our blogs for more tips and insight into increasing ejaculation and semen volume and improving testosterone levels.

We don’t have solid proof that taking a lecithin supplement helps with ED, but there are other benefits of lecithin for men. For example, research shows that soybean lecithin can help boost HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and lower LDL cholesterol (the kind you don’t want).

HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein, and HDL cholesterol helps remove bad cholesterol from your bloodstream. LDL is short for low-density lipoprotein. This kind of cholesterol tends to build up in arteries.

Lecithin may also help men who have digestive issues due to ulcerative colitis. This is because it can help reduce mucus lining the stomach, which helps make digestion easier.

A diet rich in choline, which can be derived from lecithin, has been shown to potentially lead to sharper memory and may even help people with Alzheimer’s disease.

There aren’t any official guidelines on how much lecithin to consume or take in supplement form. And the right amount depends on what you’re using it for.

Lecithin supplements usually come in capsules, often containing 1,200 milligrams (mg) per dose, but you can find lower and higher concentrations.

We recommend following the dosing guidelines on the supplement bottle and asking your healthcare provider for advice on how much lecithin to take. 

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Generally speaking, lecithin is safe. The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has deemed adding lecithin to your diet “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). This means the substance hasn’t been found to have any harmful effects — yet. 

You should know the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements, so there’s no official ruling on the safety of lecithin supplements. Still, they’re believed to be safe in most cases.

Potential Lecithin Side Effects and Drug Interactions

Like many supplements, some potential side effects are associated with taking lecithin, including stomach aches, loose stools or diarrhea.

Before you start taking a new supplement, speak to a healthcare professional and tell them about other medications you’re on or if you have any medical conditions. This way, they can make sure lecithin won’t interfere with those things. 

Choose your chew

Erectile dysfunction affects about 30 million American men. As the name implies, it occurs when there’s a dysfunction in how arousal happens. 

The good news is that several medications have been proven to improve sexual function in men.

We’ll go over some common prescription medications used to treat ED below.

Sildenafil 

Sildenafil is the generic version of Viagra®. It’s a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (aka PDE5 inhibitor). 

This type of medication works for ED by relaxing vessels in the penis, which helps increase blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation. Sildenafil can kick in as quickly as 30 minutes after taking it and can last up to four hours.

Tadalafil 

Tadalafil (and the brand-name version, Cialis®) is also commonly prescribed for ED. 

Like sildenafil, this medication is a PDE5 inhibitor. It’s sometimes called the “weekend” ED medication because it lasts up to 36 hours.

Vardenafil

In a clinical trial, 75 percent of men reported getting an erection good enough for sex after using the 10-milligram dose. Even more men got an erection after taking a 20-milligram dose.

This medication works within 30 to 60 minutes of taking it and lasts about five hours.

Avanafil 

Also known by the brand name Stendra®, avanafil is one of the newer ED prescription medications. It’s also a PDE5 inhibitor.

Many gravitate toward avanafil because it works 15 minutes after you take it. Plus, fewer side effects are associated with the medication.

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Erectile dysfunction can impact your romantic life in a major way. If you’re dealing with ED, you likely want to find a solution.

There are rumors that lecithin can help with ED. It’s also said that it can boost sperm count and semen volume.

Here’s what to keep in mind about potential lecithin benefits for men:

  • There are several sources of lecithin. Lecithin can be found naturally in foods (like wheat germ and egg yolks). You can also buy it in supplement form.

  • Lecithin may offer some health benefits. The substance may help reduce bad cholesterol, improve some areas of heart health and alleviate digestive troubles. It might even help in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Research on lecithin for ED is lacking. Some people believe lecithin can help with ED because it may improve cardiovascular issues (some of which can contribute to ED). But the data and research to back up these claims is scarce at best.

  • Lecithin is generally safe. Lecithin is generally accepted as safe to consume, according to the FDA.

Looking for a medication that can really help with ED? Consider scheduling an online consultation with a healthcare professional to talk about the possibility of taking sildenafil or another ED medication.

And, at the very least, if lecithin is something you’d like to explore, consult a healthcare provider for guidance.

16 Sources

  1. Lecithin. University of Rochester Medical Center. Retrieved from https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=19&contentid=lecithin
  2. Definition & facts for erectile dysfunction. (July 2017). Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/erectile-dysfunction/definition-facts
  3. Erection Ejaculaton: How it Occurs (2020). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/10036-erection-ejaculation-how-it-occurs
  4. Symptoms & Causes of Erectile Dysfunction (July 2017). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/erectile-dysfunction/symptoms-causes
  5. Choline. National Institute of Health. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-Consumer/#:~:text=Cardiovascular%20disease,might%20increase%20cardiovascular%20disease%20risk.
  6. Ramdath, D., Padhi, E., Sarfaraz, S., (2017). Beyond the Cholesterol-Lowering Effect of Soy Protein: A Review of the Effects of Dietary Soy and Its Constituents on Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease. Nutrients. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409663/#B25-nutrients-09-00324
  7. Gauss, S., (2013). Lecithin as a Therapeutic Agent in Ulcerative Colitis. Digestive Diseases. Retrieved from https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/354707
  8. Poly, C., Massaro, J., Seshadri, S., et al., (2011). The relation of dietary choline to cognitive performance and white-matter hyperintensity in the Framingham Offspring Cohort. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252552/
  9. Code of Federal Regulations. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=184.1400
  10. Sildenafil (2018). Medline Plus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a699015.html
  11. Tadalafil (2016). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a604008.html
  12. Smith BP, Babos M. Sildenafil. [Updated 2020 Jun 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK558978/
  13. The Food and Drug Administration. (2018). https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2018/021368s030lbl.pdf
  14. The Food and Drug Administration (2007). https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/021400s010lbl.pdf
  15. The Food and Drug Administration. (2017). https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/021400s020lbl.pdf
  16. Audet, I., Laforest, J. P., Martineau, G. P., & Matte, J. J. (2004). Effect of vitamin supplements on some aspects of performance, vitamin status, and semen quality in boars. Journal of animal science, 82(2), 626–633. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14974564/
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Kelly Brown MD, MBA
Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Dr. Kelly Brown is a board certified Urologist and fellowship trained in Andrology. She is an accomplished men’s health expert with a robust background in healthcare innovation, clinical medicine, and academic research. Dr. Brown is a founding member of Posterity Health where she is Medical Director and leads strategy and design of their Digital Health Platform, an innovative education and telehealth model for delivering expert male fertility care.

She completed her undergraduate studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (go Heels!) with a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Science and a Minor in Chemistry. She took a position at University of California Los Angeles as a radiologic technologist in the department of Interventional Cardiology, further solidifying her passion for medicine. She also pursued the unique opportunity to lead departmental design and operational development at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, sparking her passion for the business of healthcare.

Dr. Brown then went on to obtain her doctorate in medicine from the prestigious Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine and Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management, with a concentration in Healthcare Management. During her surgical residency in Urology at University of California San Francisco, she utilized her research year to focus on innovations in telemedicine and then served as chief resident with significant contributions to clinical quality improvement. Dr. Brown then completed her Andrology Fellowship at Medical College of Wisconsin, furthering her expertise in male fertility, microsurgery, and sexual function.

Her dedication to caring for patients with compassion, understanding, as well as a unique ability to make guys instantly comfortable discussing anything from sex to sperm makes her a renowned clinician. In addition, her passion for innovation in healthcare combined with her business acumen makes her a formidable leader in the field of men’s health.

Dr. Brown is an avid adventurer; summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (twice!) and hiking the incredible Torres del Paine Trek in Patagonia, Chile. She deeply appreciates new challenges and diverse cultures on her travels. She lives in Denver with her husband, two children, and beloved Bernese Mountain Dog. You can find Dr. Brown on LinkedIn for more information.

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