BCAA might help to improve erectile dysfunction via a few different mechanisms.
But you want to make sure that you use it correctly, or else it might backfire.
Let’s go over the mechanisms and then I can show you how to use it correctly.
Here are 5 potential mechanisms how BCAA supplements can help with erections.
BCAAs on testosterone levels
Testosterone is crucial for getting strong erections.
Testosterone helps with erections by:
- Increasing nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is a molecule that helps to relax the smooth muscles in the blood vessels, thereby increasing blood flow to the penis.
- Enhancing penile sensitivity, which makes it easier to achieve and maintain an erection.
- Stimulating libido. Having high libido helps to boost erections.
- Increasing muscle mass, which can help support the pelvic floor that is responsible for maintaining an erection.
- Improving mood. Testosterone helps to regulate mood, reducing anxiety, depression, and stress that can contribute to erectile dysfunction.
- Converting stem cells to smooth muscle cells, ensures optimal penile integrity.
- Allowing for proper relaxation of smooth muscle cells so that blood can flow into the penis.
According to this study, BCAA supplementation during a 28 day training cycle helped to increase testosterone, whereas the placebo group experienced a decline (R).
This study was only 28 days long and there wasn’t a group who used only BCAA and didn’t exercise. So ideally, if you’re going to train hard like a maniac, then BCAA (or just extra protein) might help to increase testosterone.
In this animal study, low-dose BCAA increased testosterone significantly, especially when combined with exercise.
BCAA can help to increase IGF-1
IGF-1 plays a role in getting erections. This study found that plasma IGF-1 levels were significantly lower in men with ED compared to men without (96.5 ± 38.3 and 132.5 ± 53.3 ng/ mL). IGF-1 levels correlate positively with erectile function (R).
- Promotes vascular health in the penis
- Regenerates nitric oxide synthase (NOS) containing nerve fibers in the dorsal and intracavernosal nerves (R).
- Increases eNOS expression and nitric oxide levels (R).
- Increases cGMP concentrations. PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra also increase cGMP levels (R).
Combining exercise with BCAA leads to significantly higher IGF-1 levels. BCAA and exercise by themselves were also effective, but combining them had the best effect (R).
In the graph below, BCAA is AA, resistance training is RT and BCAA + RT is AART.
BCAA can help to lower cortisol
Cortisol has strong inhibitory effects on erections and libido. Low libido can make it difficult to get a proper erection. Up to 69% of men with endogenous hypercortisolism complain of decreased libido.
In healthy men, serum cortisol levels significantly decreased in the systemic circulation and the cavernous blood with increasing sexual arousal as they got an erection (R).
4g of BCAA supplementation during an intense 28 day training cycle helped to lower cortisol, whereas the placebo group experienced an increase (R).
BCAA lowers serotonin and dopamine
Dopamine promotes and serotonin inhibits libido and erections.
A common side effect of dopaminergic drugs is hypersexuality. And common side effects of serotoninergic drugs are fatigue, sexual dysfunction, low libido and erectile dysfunction.
Serotonin inhibits libido and erections via a neural mechanism and by causing contraction of the corpus cavernosum tissue, thus inhibiting an erection (R). Inhibiting various serotonin receptors (5-HT1A and 2A) promotes erections.
Cyproheptadine, mianserin, ketanserin and mirtazapine inhibit the 5-HT2A receptor (among others) and promote sexual function. These drugs are used to reverse (post) SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction.
BCAAs are large neutral amino acids that compete with other large neutral amino acids (e.g. phenylalanine, tyrosine and tryptophan) for entry into the brain. This means that when you take BCAA on its own, it lowers both dopamine and serotonin in the brain (due to lower precursor amino acids).
Taking tyrosine or phenylalanine with BCAAs increases dopamine and catecholamine production in the brain.
In summary, BCAA, by lowering serotonin, can:
- Increase libido
- Improve erections
- Reduce fatigue
But only if you take it with tyrosine and phenylalanine.
BCAA boosts α-MSH and oxytocin
Oxytocin helps to promote libido and erections and α-MSH facilitated penile erection, ejaculation, and copulatory behavior (R).
Leucine (one of the BCAAs) stimulates the hypothalamic POMC neurons to activate the melanocortin receptors, which in turn promote the release of oxytocin (R).
As you can see in this graph, from POMC, ACTH and α-MSH (a melanocortin receptor agonist) are created.
BCAA might be able to improve erections by:
- Increasing testosterone
- Lowering cortisol and helping manage stress
- Lowering serotonin which can help increase energy levels and libido
- Increasing IGF-1
- Increasing POMC, α-MSH and oxytocin
If you want to supercharge your results from BCAAs, take it with citrulline and phenylalanine or tyrosine. This will boost NO and dopamine and give you even better results.
However, if you’re eating a lot of protein already (1g/lb of BW), then adding BCAAs is very unlikely to give you an additional boost. The best dietary sources of BCAAs are red meat, dairy products, white meat, eggs, etc. Whole animal foods.
If you’re using BCAAs before a fasted workout, I’d rather use EAAs instead to get all your essential amino acids, and not just 3.
Related articles for stronger erections:
- BPC-157: a super peptide for erectile dysfunction
- HCG and erectile dysfunction: can it cause or help ED?
- Vitamin C for erectile dysfunction: the best vitamin for ED?
- Honey for erectile dysfunction: the sexual aphrodisiac food
- Erectile dysfunction Part 4: effective supplements
- MK-677 and erectile dysfunction: how to use it correctly
- Acoustic wave therapy for erectile dysfunction
- Bee pollen for erectile dysfunction: the natural sexual booster
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