Melatonin Might Improve Men's Sexual Health. Here's How.

For many people, that special time in the bedroom with their partner is something they look forward to. It is exciting and arousing. But for males, not everyone has success when it comes to giving their best performance. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition where a person is consistently unable to get or keep an erection for adequate sexual performance, says Johns Hopkins Medicine. It is a common problem across the globe, potentially affecting over 330 million men by 2025.

There are two main types of erectile dysfunction: premature ejaculation and organic erectile dysfunction. With premature ejaculation, the male reaches an orgasm within a minute of vaginal penetration. On the other hand, organic erectile dysfunction is when the male cannot sustain an erection due to poor blood flow from abnormalities in the arteries or veins of the penis.

Luckily, there are many treatments for erectile dysfunction that include drugs like sildenafil, or generic Viagra. You might wonder if there are any other options, such as an over-the-counter drug like melatonin, that can help with erectile dysfunction. The answer may surprise you.

What is melatonin?

When it starts to get dark out, many of us start to feel tired. Do you ever wonder why that is? Turns out, our brain and body have an internal clock that creates a daily cycle or circadian rhythm (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). This internal clock mainly responds to the shifts between day and night. In fact, when it gets dark out, the brain releases a hormone called melatonin, which helps us quiet down, unwind, and prepare for sleep.

However, certain things, like travel, jet lag, working a night shift, or even spending too much time on your phone before bed, can disrupt the internal clock and the efficacy of melatonin. So people turn to supplemental forms of melatonin in order to try to get better sleep.

But melatonin may play a role in sexual health. Keep reading to learn if melatonin can help treat erectile dysfunction.

Can melatonin help treat erectile dysfunction?

A 2018 study published in the International Brazilian Journal of Urology investigated the relationships between melatonin and erectile dysfunction. The researchers found that patients with erectile dysfunction had notably lower serum levels of melatonin. So, they concluded that the measurement of melatonin levels was a potential diagnostic method for erectile dysfunction and that melatonin could be a potential treatment.

An older 2014 animal study published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology also found that melatonin was effective in treating erectile dysfunction — perhaps because melatonin has antioxidant properties.

However, animal studies are not enough to prove that melatonin can treat erectile dysfunction in humans. Clinical trials and more research are needed. A 2022 clinical trial published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, which claims to be the first of its kind, did find that melatonin could improve male sexual health, but mostly for sexual satisfaction. Erectile dysfunction did improve but was the least improved category of the sexual health profile.