Medically reviewed by Mary Lucas, RN
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 9/5/2021
Right now, you’d be hard-pressed to find an ingredient more buzzed about than apple cider vinegar (ACV). In fact, many people believe that it’s a cure-all for just about any affliction.
ACV is essentially apple juice that has been fermented two times. It comes in pasteurized or raw versions and you can buy it at almost any grocery store.
Lovers of ACV will say it helps with everything from hair health to weight loss. There’s also a number of people who say there are apple cider benefits for men — specifically that it can be used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED).
So, what’s the truth about apple cider vinegar and erectile dysfunction? Keep reading to find out more about how it relates to your sexual health! But first, learn a bit more about ED.
Fact: Erectile dysfunction is pretty common. It affects about 30 million American men, a quarter of whom are under forty.
Research shows that over 50 percent of men between the ages of 40 and 70 likely experience ED at some point.
Wondering why ED occurs? When arousal happens, your brain is supposed to send signals to blood vessels in your penis.
As blood flow to the penis increases, it gets trapped in (two) long chambers in the penis called the corpora cavernosa — which causes the penis to expand.
This process is what causes an erection.
Erectile dysfunction is defined as not being able to get or maintain an erection firm enough for sex.
So, if something goes awry with the biological erection process outlined above, it’s considered ED.
Besides age, other things can contribute to ED, including cardiovascular issues, diabetes, neurological diseases, stress, obesity, drinking too much alcohol, illegal drug use and more.
Here’s the truth: There does not appear to be any research on whether or not ACV can treat erectile dysfunction.
So, why would it be touted as being a potential ED cure?
There are some studies that suggest apple cider vinegar could possibly help with conditions that may lead to erectile dysfunction.
For example, a 2009 study found that ACV could possibly help lower body weight in obese people.
As mentioned above, obesity can lead to ED. So, some may think that if ACV is taken for weight loss, it could also help cure ED caused by weight issues.
Type 2 diabetes is another potential cause of erectile dysfunction — and a small study of 16 men found that ACV may lower blood sugar in men with type 2 diabetes.
While there is some minor evidence that ACV may help the above issues (along with a few others), there has not been any research done on this type of vinegar as it relates to erectile dysfunction.
Because of this, if you're dealing with ED, you’re much better off opting for a treatment with proven, science-backed results.
Now for some happy news: There are a number of proven treatment options for ED. It’s really all about finding the right one for you.
Here are six available (and proven) treatments for erectile dysfunction:
Meet the generic version of Viagra®, — a.k.a., one of the most commonly prescribed ED medical treatments out there.
Sildenafil is in a class of medications called phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5 inhibitors).
As with the brand name version, you have to have a prescription to obtain sildenafil.
This medication works by relaxing the muscles in the penis, which increases blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation.
One reason sildenafil is so popular is because it works quickly: It gets going within 30 minutes of consumption, and lasts for around four hours.
Tadalafil and its brand name version Cialis® is another commonly prescribed ED pill. It’s also a PDE5 inhibitor.
As a reminder, this type of medication relaxes blood vessels to encourage blood flow to the penis.
Tadalafil can last for up to 36 hours, which is why it’s often referred to as the “weekend” ED medication.
Meet the active ingredient in Levitra®. Like sildenafil, you need a prescription for this medication and it works within 30 to 60 minutes of taking and lasts for about five to seven hours.
In one clinical trial, 75 percent of men taking vardenafil said they got an erection that was good enough for sex after using the 10mg dose, while 80 percent of men said the same after taking a 20mg dose.
The brand name of this med is Stendra® and it’s relatively newer than the other ED medications. Like sildenafil and tadalafil, it is also a PDE5 inhibitor.
Many like avanafil because it works after just 15 to 30 minutes and is thought to have fewer side effects.
From vibrators, external support devices and implants, there are a number of devices on the market to treat ED.
A penile vibrator is intended to stimulate your penis so that blood flows to the area.
Penis pumps also work to pull blood into the penis, and do so by creating suction. Once you’ve used the pump, you put a plastic ring around the base of your penis to keep the blood there.
Inflatable penile implants work in a similar way.
There is also an external support device for erectile dysfunction called the Erektor®. It has two rings attached to either side of a rod. The penis goes into the rings and the rod provides rigidity for intercourse.
Depression and anxiety can affect your libido and your ability to get an erection.
In fact, research actually shows that 20 percent of ED cases are caused by psychological issues.
Speaking with a mental health provider can help. They will be able to help you come up with a game plan to solve your sexual performance and ED issues.
Apple cider vinegar has become a popular product touted for delivering a variety of health benefits — including helping to manage erectile dysfunction and even herpes. You can read our article on apple cider vinegar and herpes to learn more.
There is some scientific research that has found that apple cider vinegar can potentially address health issues like obesity and type 2 diabetes — which are known to increase ED risk.
But there haven’t been any studies done specifically on ACV as it relates to erectile dysfunction.
And because of this, it’s best to opt for a proven ED treatment method.
Your best first step? Talk to a healthcare provider about your sexual dysfunction. Together you can assess which possible cure for erectile dysfunction is best for you.