Medically reviewed by Jill Johnson, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 4/18/2022
Premature ejaculation, or PE, is a common sexual performance issue that affects up to an estimated 39 percent of adult men. If you’re affected by premature ejaculation, you may find it difficult to have sex without reaching orgasm and ejaculating quickly.
A variety of options are available for treating PE, including over-the-counter topical treatments, prescription medications and even forms of behavioral therapy.
If you’ve looked into PE treatments before, you might have heard of supplements and vitamins for premature ejaculation.
Currently, there’s very little scientific research to suggest that vitamins for premature ejaculation are effective. However, some studies do suggest that deficiencies of certain vitamins may play a role in the development of PE.
Below, we’ve explained what PE is, as well as the factors that are believed to cause it.
We’ve also discussed your options for treating premature ejaculation, including the latest studies on vitamins, minerals and other natural treatments.
PE is a form of sexual dysfunction in which orgasm and ejaculation happen sooner than a man or his partner would like during sexual activity — usually penetrative, vaginal sex. This type of rapid ejaculation is a common problem that can affect men of all ages and backgrounds.
Like other sexual health issues, PE can vary in severity. If you have mild PE, you may be able to have sex for 30 seconds to a minute before ejaculation. If you have severe PE, having sex for a short period of time may be difficult due to rapid ejaculation that occurs before sexual activity or within 15 seconds.
Currently, research suggests that a variety of physical and psychological factors are all involved in the development of PE.
Physical issues that can cause or contribute to PE include abnormal levels of certain hormones that control behavior, brain activity and sexual functions, such as luteinizing hormone, serotonin, prolactin and thyroid-stimulating hormone.
Certain types of infections and inflammation that affect your prostate and/or urethra may also be involved in PE.
Psychological issues that can contribute to PE include anxiety, depression, guilt, stress and lack of sexual self-confidence. Certain life events, such as relationship issues or a personal history of abuse, may also be involved in the development of PE.
Our guide to premature ejaculation discusses these factors and the roles they may play in PE in more detail.
Over the years, researchers have looked at various nutritional factors that could be involved in the development of PE.
Several studies of PE have looked at the potential role of vitamins in male sexual function and performance. Interestingly, some of these studies have discovered a potential link between low levels of certain vitamins and an increased risk of premature ejaculation.
For example, a study published in the International Brazilian Journal of Urology in 2019 found that men with acquired premature ejaculation usually have lower serum vitamin D levels than men with normal sexual function.
The researchers found that low levels of vitamin D were an independent risk factor for PE and suggested that supplementation may be helpful for treating premature ejaculation.
A different study published in the journal Andrologia in 2017 found a link between low levels of vitamin B12 and premature ejaculation.
While the studies above are interesting, it’s important to keep in mind that the total amount of research on vitamin levels and premature ejaculation isn’t very large right now.
It’s also important to consider that while low levels of certain vitamins may be associated with PE in a few small studies, there isn’t any evidence that suggests that using vitamin supplements treats PE for everyone.
Put simply, although there might be a link between vitamin D levels and PE, consuming a daily vitamin D supplement isn’t a guaranteed fix.
PE can develop for a variety of reasons, and while vitamins may be helpful for some cases of PE, they may not be helpful for others.
For example, if you have premature ejaculation that’s caused by anxiety, depression or stress, it’s unlikely that taking a vitamin supplement will produce any noticeable improvements in your ejaculation time or general sexual function.
If you’re worried about PE and think you may have a vitamin deficiency, the best thing to do is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Most vitamin deficiencies can be diagnosed with simple tests. For example, it’s easy to check your serum levels of vitamin D and vitamin B12 — two vitamins that are associated with PE — with a blood test.
If you have a vitamin deficiency, your healthcare provider may suggest that you use a vitamin supplement to bring your levels back to a healthy range.
Taking a vitamin supplement may be helpful if you have PE that’s caused by a specific vitamin deficiency, such as a low serum level of vitamin D or B12.
However, if your PE is caused by something other than low levels of certain vitamins, you’ll likely get better results from treatments that specifically address the causes of premature ejaculation.
Currently, the most effective treatments for PE include behavioral techniques, over-the-counter sprays, creams and wipes, and prescription medications.
If you have mild premature ejaculation, you may be able to delay ejaculation and improve your sexual performance by using simple behavioral techniques, such as the squeeze technique or the stop-start technique.
The squeeze technique involves waiting until you’re about to reach orgasm and ejaculate, then squeezing (or getting your partner to squeeze) the area between the glans (head) of your penis and the shaft until you feel comfortable to continue again.
The stop-start technique involves simply stopping during your next sexual encounter when you feel an orgasm approaching, then continuing again once the sensation passes.
Both of these techniques can be repeated as-needed during sex, helping you to last longer and avoid ejaculating too early.
Several over-the-counter medications are available for PE, including sprays, creams and wipes that contain topical anesthetics.
These medications work by reducing sensitivity in your penis, allowing you to have more control of ejaculation. For example, our Delay Spray for Men contains the anesthetic lidocaine, which is used to reduce sensitivity without overly numbing your penis.
Most over-the-counter treatments can be used 10 to 15 minutes before sex, making them useful if behavioral techniques don’t quite give you enough results.
Our guide to lidocaine spray for premature ejaculation goes into more detail about how topical medications for PE work, as well as how you can use them to increase your stamina and have more satisfying sex.
If behavioral techniques and over-the-counter products aren’t enough to treat your PE, you may want to consider prescription medication.
Although there’s currently no FDA-approved medication for premature ejaculation, several drugs are used off-label as PE treatments. These include antidepressants and medications for erectile dysfunction (ED) that are linked to improvements in sexual stamina.
Right now, the most common prescription drugs for treating PE are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. These medications, which are generally used to treat depression, work by increasing the activity of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, in your brain.
Research suggests that serotonin, which plays a key role in regulating mood and feelings, helps to inhibit the process of orgasm and ejaculation.
Several common SSRIs are used to treat premature ejaculation (or help with the regulation of ejaculation), including sertraline (the active ingredient in Zoloft®), paroxetine (Paxil®), citalopram (Celexa®), escitalopram (Lexapro®) and fluoxetine (Prozac®).
Some research also suggests that PDE5 inhibitors such as sildenafil (Viagra®) also help to slow down orgasm and treat premature ejaculation. Your healthcare provider may suggest combining this type of medication with an SSRI for optimal results.
Although low vitamin levels are a potential risk factor for premature ejaculation, they generally aren’t viewed as a major cause.
However, research into the potential link between vitamins and premature ejaculation is still in its early stages, meaning we could find out more in the future.
If you’re affected by PE and think it could be related to a vitamin deficiency, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider. They may ask you to take a blood test to check your vitamin B12 or vitamin D levels and, if appropriate, suggest using a vitamin supplement or other medical treatment like a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
Worried about PE? We offer a selection of evidence-based premature ejaculation treatments online, including prescription medications and over-the-counter options such as Clockstopper Climax Delay Wipes and our Delay Spray for Men.