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Erection Concerns

I had a less than ideal diet between 2013 and 2018. I enrolled for an MBA program between 2018-19. I'm a vegetarian. Food offered in hostel was pathetic. So, during my MBA, I used to workout regularly despite being on a poor diet and lacking sleep. By the end of my MBA, I started facing erection issues. My morning woods stopped and I also started feeling tingling in my left nerve (right from bicep to the forearm). Got my tests done. Testosterone, diabetes were normal. Lipid profile and other usual blood markers were normal too. TSH was a bit on the higher side though it was in the normal range.
So, I popped up a multivitamin (ALA, Zinc, B12, chromium, selenium and copper) one night before hitting the bed and I started getting rock hard erections every night. The tingling pain in the arm vanished as well.
Now, I've seen that I often require a mineral supplement (alternate days normally and daily if I'm working out) to keep getting the morning woods. I eat healthy. I don't have abdominal fat.
Is it ok to be on a mineral supplement? What else can I do to improve my diet?
1 Responses
Avatar universal
You're getting older, friend, and morning wood is a young man's game.  Many men don't get it at all.  It's not important if you get it or you don't get it.  It's a nothing burger, in other words, just something that sometimes happens to young men as if they keep a schedule that gets them up in the morning that's when most men's testosterone is highest.  It's not a sign of health or ill health or anything.  The test is, when you have sex with a partner, can you get and maintain an erection?  If so, there's nothing wrong here in that area.  If you're taking a multivitamin, okay, but if you're supplementing with individual supplements, some of them you can overdose on, so do be careful with dosages.  Selenium and copper and chromium and zinc are all toxic if you take too much, but most multivitamins, especially if it's just a one a day, won't really have much and if it's not a very high quality vitamin company the form of the minerals is probably not one that is all that well absorbed anyway.  When you're young, you really don't notice poor nutrition all that much just as you don't notice doing exercises wrong or getting too little sleep or a host of things that you will notice when you get old when it catches up to you.  If you do in fact require a mineral supplement rather than just want one to maximize health then your diet is leaving you malnourished.  Many vegans and vegetarians are under the mistaken assumption that eating that way is automatically healthy, but it's only healthy if you eat a balanced diet high in whole grains, veggies, and get sufficient proteins.  The veggies are where the minerals are, and a good variety of them, especially green leafy veggies, should give you enough minerals for health.  Sometimes if we body build or play a sport that requires extra muscle or exertion we need extra nutrients, and graduate school as well can be hard on our systems if the school is a high quality one because they load the work on and that doesn't leave a lot of time for eating properly, but when you graduate you fix that.  You don't say what you eat so we can't really comment on how you can improve your diet.  From your description, you sound like a healthy guy in good shape who exercises regularly but has a misconception of the importance of getting an erection in the morning, so let me assure you, most men don't get that, it's a teenage thing for most of us and then only happens occasionally after that.  Not something to worry about.
5 Comments
I am in decent shape for sure. my body fat percentage is between 17.5-18. I try to vary my diet. I do try to include whole grains, fibre, fruits, salads, nuts & healthy fats in my diet amd I mostly stay away from junk. My energy levels are right up there and I usually have a sound sleep (9/10 times)
Well, I did face erection issues while having sex a few (4-5) times. I was not able to get rock hard and as I said, it got resolved after taking a multivitamin. The multivitamin that I first took just had Zinc, B12, Beta Carotene, Copper, Chromium and Manganese in normal quantities. I am quite careful about not overdosing on any of these and I do keep a tab on the RDAs.
I am quite convinced that my B12 reserves were low as I also had tingling in my left bicep all the way down to my elbow which continued for around 2 months and stopped only after I started the supplement. I did reduce the frequency of supplements to alternate days when I was not working out and did not face any issue.
I do not mind taking a multivitamin daily or alternate days since I am from India and cannot really trust the quality of nutrition in the food irrespective of the brand and price. I just want to figure out if taking a multivitamin daily has any side effects or if my body will stop absorbing nutrients from food if I continue to take a pill.
Most multivitamins are not much more than a scam. Your body absorbs very little nutrition from vitamins and supplements.  You should get the bulk of your nutrition from food.  If you are trying to balance your diet by taking vitamins and supplements, this is not the right answer - you need to balance your diet through food.

There is nothing inherently wrong with a vegetarian diet, but some people have difficulty figuring out how to get nutrients that often come from a diet that includes meat - particularly protein.  You mentioned nuts, but do you consume beans and protein-rich grains as well?
It's not so much the protein that is hard to get from a vegan or vegetarian diet, except for one amino acid, methionine, which is essential for energy and as with all amino acids a host of other things.  It's also true that most multivitamins are so poorly absorbed they are kind of a scam, but a good quality multivitamin may just be essential to us in a world where food is quite old by the time we eat it even if it's grown organically and in good soil, which is usually not the case.  But a multi is prophylactic, it's just kind of an insurance policy just in case you're missing something.  Even if you only absorb some of it, that's why they put such high amounts in vitamins, they know you're not going to absorb all of it.  But that's also true for food.  The "fresh" produce we buy is usually a week old by the time we buy it, even when it comes from a farmer's market.  Unless you're picking it yourself, it is stored on the farm in a walk-in refrigerator because food has to be picked when it's ready to be picked and sold when there's a market for it, and with modern refrigeration food had a pretty long shelf life.  This is even more so with food that isn't organic, as toxic chemicals and radiation are used to preserve the "fresh" produce.  I sold produce for many years managing health food stores, and it never ceased to amaze me that people thought that, say, bananas were "fresh."  I mean, they don't exactly grow here, you know?  On the other hand, no multi that is just a one a day is worth taking.  Minerals in a form you can absorb take up so much space in a pill just the calcium and magnesium would take up the whole pill so obviously there's just not enough of anything in it to do any good.  The best vitamins used to be 6-9 pills a day, but it's hard to find that anymore, most companies have been purchased by conglomerates and mostly do one a days.  It's certainly easier, but pretty useless.  But to the poster, it's not harmful.  It won't block your absorption of nutrients from food.  The body uses nutrients as it needs them and can absorb them, and if it doesn't need them they get evacuated.  The problem comes when your body has something wrong that disables it from being able to properly break down and send nutrients where they're needed, and B12 is a nutrient that is difficult for some to absorb because of genetic factors some people have.  Most of us don't have this problem, but some of us do, but if you had that I'd expect you to notice some problems with energy levels.  Most vegetarians in India eat dairy, and they do this because they know of the methionine problem and always seem to have known this and they also seem to have always known that B12 is almost unavailable in plant food.  That is the biggest obstacle vegans face, though many don't have a clue to this as they eat according to ideology, not health.  There is only one group I know of that developed a vegan diet before the current fad, and those were the Jains in India, and they are not known for long lives or health.  Belief often trumps health, an since nobody lives forever, that may be just fine.  I would say that if a multivitamin makes you notice you feel better, it's either psychological or you have a problem and need to see a doctor.  The same goes for B12, either you're not getting any in your diet because you are vegan, not vegetarian who eats some animal food in order to get your B12 as most vegetarians I know do.  Otherwise you have to supplement it, but you have to do that with the form of the vitamin the body can use, not the form often sold that the body can't use very well.  I also don't know why you wouldn't trust the food in India.  India has the longest tradition of vegetarian eating and of ayurveda, a system of health that has been around when Europeans believed bathing caused disease.  It has a long tradition of paying attention to nutrition and mental health, that is, if you are wealthy enough to take advantage of that and not in a suppressed caste.  India has dual industries in almost every field, the one that makes the really good stuff and the one that is a fraud.  If you know which is which, you can do quite well there.  China has the same system with their traditional medicine and diet, one that is reliable and one that is toxic.  I would assume as you are Indian that you eat a lot of beans and rice, but you might try to use brown rice.  There is a brown basmati rice.  It's not nearly as flavorful as the white, but it is much more nutritious.  If you do need minerals, a blood test would show that, but if you do, taking them singly rather than in a multi would be called for as, again, multis are prophylactic, not usually used to treat a deficiency.  All the best.
Thanks to both of you for this lovely discussion and explaining in detail the pros and cons of multivitamin.
Well, I am sure it is not psychological. I have been to doctors twice. One a urologist who just told me that such things usually happens with a smoke and prescribed L-Arginine which I never took and things changed automatically. He did not find anything else wrong in my blood reports or anything. I guess visiting a doc was just an over-reaction to not getting hard once.
And I happen to visit the doc otherwise and happened to discuss about this. He told me to have any multivitamin. These are all the discussions I have had.

I think I will get my B12 levels checked. It is possible that I had a deficiency because of the nerve pain I experienced and my B12 stores never got completely replenished as the multivitamins are not that easily absorbable and continue to trust the food available.

The reason I do not trust the food in my country is because of the size of our population and poor farming practices followed by the farmers coupled with their poor education. However, I would try to have faith in it and get my B12 levels checked.
I can't claim any expertise on farming in India, but a poor education may not mean a poor education in how to grow food.  I say this because India has such a long history of awareness about health and food that only a few cultures have -- Japan and China being the other two.  But in today's world, a lot we used to know has been beat out of us through propaganda and global marketing, so you may be right but I do know from supplements that some of the best in the world are made in India -- and so are some of the worst.  As for B12, the best way to absorb it is to take it sublingually, and the form you want is methylcobalamin, and avoid cyanocobalamin, and also know that although B12 is largely water soluble some is stored in the liver.  But a good blood test should tell you, although to be sure with any nutrient you need a couple of tests at different times just to be sure that day was a bad B12 day for you and not a chronic problem.  But so it goes.  I think he mentioned the Arginine because it does help the body do what it needs to do to get an erection, as does L-citrulline.  A key factor here isn't the testosterone most people talk about but nitric acid, which is necessary for an erection.  But whether these would help you or not I don't know and I don't know that you actually have any real problem there.  Peace.
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