Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 10/03/2020
There are some conditions that are absolutely natural and common, yet still carry a stigma. Erectile dysfunction is one such condition.
The Massachusetts Male Aging Study found that by age 40, approximately 40 percent of men experience some kind of erectile dysfunction (and by age 70, that number jumps to 70 percent). Despite this, no one wants to talk about it.
We get it. It’s a private matter and it can be embarrassing.
We believe that’s part of the reason people scour the internet looking for home remedies and over-the-counter supplements to “fix” their sexual problems — it’s much easier than going to a healthcare professional.
The trade-off, however, is that you'll find a lot of misinformation and possibly waste your time (and money) on products that just don’t work.
Beet juice is one such home remedy that is mentioned online for the possible treatment of erectile dysfunction. But like many of the doctor-avoiding solutions you’ll find online, it lacks actual proof of effectiveness.
Beets are loaded with nutrients including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more. In other words, they’re good for you.
Beetroot contains inorganic nitrate, which your body converts to nitric oxide.
As you get older, your body contains less nitric oxide, believed to increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and even Alzheimer’s.
Nitric oxide may play a role in erection health; it’s this theory that forms the basis of claims that beet juice is an effective ED treatment in the absence of scientific studies proving the link.
There is no concrete evidence proving beet juice can help with erectile dysfunction.
You know beets, even if only the pickled form on salad bars. They’re deep red and taste like dirt, or as foodies say, “earthy.”
Beet juice is the juice derived from these root vegetables. Look around the Internet, and you’ll see it called beet juice, beet root juice and beetroot juice. But for the purposes of this article, they’re one in the same.
Beets have been grown for thousands of years. In colonial America they were prized for their resilience in winter months.
Now, they’re less likely to be depended on for sustenance and more likely to be served with goat cheese or at your favorite juice bar.
Beets and thus beetroot juice are rich in fiber, antioxidants, saponins, nitrate (more on that later) and phenolic compounds; vitamins such as retinol, B-complex, and vitamin C; and minerals such as sodium, iron, copper, magnesium, calcium, zinc, phosphorus and potassium.
Yes, beetroot juice is good for you, in large part because of the components found in it listed above. And there is evidence for some of the reported health benefits. Here is a brief summary:
Antioxidant. Beet root is rich in numerous antioxidant compounds, including betalain, a pigment. In lab studies, beetroot juice has been shown to protect against oxidative stress on numerous cell types, including fats, proteins and DNA. Further, when scientists have tested to see if human digestion degrades these beneficial compounds, they’ve found the exact opposite: simulated digestion increased antioxidant power.
Inflammation. There is some evidence that beetroot may provide anti-inflammatory benefits. In one human study, supplementing with beetroot for just 10 days resulted in a reduction of inflammatory markers and pain in patients with arthritis. A few studies in rats had similarly positive findings.
Cardiovascular. Much of the research on beetroot benefits are related to vascular health. This is because beets, and therefore beet juice, are rich in inorganic nitrate which becomes nitric oxide during digestion. Nitric oxide is responsible for mediating the cells that make up the lining of our blood vessels (known as endothelium), but as we age, there is a depletion in the amount of nitric oxide available within our bodies. This decrease in the amount of available nitric oxide has been implicated as a cause of endothelial dysfunction, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries, specifically. Multiple studies have shown cardiovascular benefits associated with beets or beetroot juice, including: reduction in blood pressure, improved muscle oxygenation and less stiff blood vessels.
Cognition. Similar to how beet juice may provide cardiovascular benefits, it may assist in protecting against neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s. This is because a decline in available nitric acid associated with age can affect brain health. A few studies in humans have found beet root supplementation increases blood flow in the brain and reaction time.
The short answer to this question is: we don’t know. But the full answer is a little more complex.
Recall how beet juice or beetroot supplementation can increase nitric oxide in the body. Well, in addition to potential cardiovascular effects, this could be beneficial for erections.
It’s important to point out, however, that there is no scientific proof that beetroot can improve erections or fight erectile dysfunction. But, in theory, it’s possible.
Nitric oxide plays a very important role in your ability to achieve an erection. And just like nitric oxide impairment is thought to play a role in your increased risk of heart disease, it’s believed to play a role in your increased risk of erectile dysfunction. And, as we discussed above, beetroot supplementation can increase nitric oxide within the body.
Beet root is sometimes suggested as a viable treatment for erectile dysfunction. For example, this article from Renal and Urology News suggests drinking beet juice “a few hours before having sexual intercourse,” but this source and others do not share the evidence for their suggestions.
We know beet juice may increase nitric oxide in your body, but we do not know if this has any impact on your sexual health.
There simply isn’t a body of scientific research supporting any such claims.
We do know that beet juice is good for you, so feel free to drink up.
But if you’re in search of proven erectile dysfunction treatment, you’re likely better off going another route like Viagra, Sildenafil (generic for viagra), Cialis, Stendra, or other treatment options.