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Aging Male. 2018 Jun;21(2):116-120. doi: 10.1080/13685538.2017.1404022. Epub 2017 Nov 20.

Folate: a possible role in erectile dysfunction?

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a Department of Experimental Medicine , Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza Università di Roma , Rome , Italy.
b Department of Movement Human and Health Sciences , Unit of Endocrinology, Università degli Studi di Roma "Foro Italico" , Rome , Italy.


A growing body of evidence suggests a role for homocysteine (Hcys) and folate (FA) in erectile function (EF): Hcys appears to impair EF affecting endothelium via several mechanism whereas the role of FA remains to be elucidated, besides decreasing Hcys. To assess correlation between erectile dysfunction (ED) and serum levels of FA, Hcys, and B12, we enrolled 31 patients affected by ED (Group A; age 52.83 ± 11.89 years) and 31 healthy adults (Group B; age 49.14 ± 13.63 years). Fasting blood samples were taken for each subject. ED was assessed by the International Index of Erectile Function-5 (IIEF-5). IIEF-5 mean score was significantly lower in Group A than in Group B (10.71 ± 4.24 versus 23.32 ± 1.33, p < .001). Compared to Group B, Group A also showed significantly lower serum FA levels (5.11 ± 1.79 versus 7.9 ± 3.55 ng/ml, p < .001) and significantly higher serum Hcys levels (13.61 ± 3.55 versus 9.17 ± 2.32 µmol/L, p < .001). No significant correlation was observed between Hcys and FA both groups. Our results showed a significant association among ED, FA deficiency and hyperomocisteinemia. Lack of correlation between FA and Hcys suggests that FA deficit may directly impair EF.


Folic acid; erectile dysfunction; homocysteine; nitric oxide synthase; tetrahydrobiopterin

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