Different foods are often being touted as having positive effects on various health issues, including sexual dysfunctions. When it comes to lasting longer in bed, the list goes long ranging from foods rich in magnesium, to dark chocolate and garlic.
The male sexual response is a complicated process orchestrated between many body organs and systems, all of which are dependent on hormones such as testosterone and neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, and nitric oxide.
And the truth is that there isn’t a large body of evidence to support many of the claims regarding food and ejaculation. This also begs the question, why aren’t there any food-based treatment protocols for premature ejaculation?
The goal of this article is to review some of the common foods that are thought to help in delaying ejaculation and the research behind them.
What foods are thought to help premature ejaculation?
Food rich in magnesium
Magnesium is an essential mineral that is deficient in the vast majority of people. In some reports, up to 80% of people can be deficient. Many other medical conditions are linked to magnesium deficiency such as high blood pressure, premenstrual syndrome, muscle cramping, and insomnia.
Two studies from the University of Teheran and from Kuwait University found a possible link between low levels of magnesium and PE.
In the first 2007 study, men who had PE were compared to those who did not have PE. The results indicated that men with PE had both significantly lower levels and ratio of magnesium in their semen compared to the men without PE.
The second 2009 study also revealed that there was significantly lower levels of magnesium in the semen of men with PE compared to the others.
What affect might magnesium have on delaying ejaculation?
Magnesium (in conjunction with nitric oxide) is responsible for a process called vasodilation. Vasodilation allows the blood vessels in the penis to stay filled with blood. Vasoconstriction is the opposite process of vasodilation. It squeezes the vessel walls and tends to push or keep blood out of the vessels which would cause ejaculation and release the erection. So, it could be that a lack of magnesium interruptus vasodilation and lead to vasoconstriction.
It’s important to remember that the only way to know if magnesium-rich diets or supplements can help in delaying ejaculation is to perform further research. There are no studies we know of that examined the effect of magnesium-rich diets on ejaculation control, and there are no magnesium-based treatments for PE.
Foods high in magnesium include:
- Cereal, shredded wheat
- Rice, brown, long-grained
- Kidney beans
- Bread, whole wheat
- Whole milk
Like magnesium, nitric oxide is a vasodilator (the process that allows the blood vessels in the penis to stay filled with blood and in theory could delay ejaculation). However, a study (2014) performed on 27 men, 11 healthy and 16 with PE, those with higher levels of seminal nitric oxide had more episodes of PE. Also after treatment with anti-depressant medications, which have a side effect of delayed ejaculation, the seminal nitric oxide decreased and this was suggested to be responsible for retarding ejaculation.
On the other hand, in another study in 2014 of 100 men; 60 with PE and 40 without, nitric oxide levels were statistically significantly lower in patients with PE. After taking anti-depressant medications, nitric oxide levels were increased from baseline. These results indicated that PE is associated with decreased nitric oxide levels.
So, as you can see, different studies show opposite results. Also, none of these studies, and no studies we are aware of, tested to see if eating or avoiding food rich in nitric oxide helped men to delay ejaculation.
Whether nitric oxide helps or hinders PE remains to be determined.
80% of dietary nitrates come from vegetables, fruit, and processed meats.
Garlic has a long history of health benefits such as antioxidant properties and relaxing blood vessels in high blood pressure. Thus, garlic is often being cited as a cure for PE due to its vasodilatory effects.
The only study we could find that link between garlic and delaying ejaculation is this 2017 Italian study. The study was conducted on men taking supplements that contained a combination of Diallyl disulfide (compound derived from garlic), Nuciferine (alkaloid extracted from lotus leaves) and Diosgenin (the product of hydrolysis by acids, strong bases, or enzymes of saponins, extracted from the tubers of Dioscorea wild yam, such as the Kokoro).
The results indicated that this combination was able to improve the control of ejaculation in patients suffering from PE, primary or secondary to ED. Whether the results were due to the combined effects or from just one ingredient is unknow.
Lower than normal levels of the brain chemical serotonin is considered to be one of the causes of premature ejaculation. Stress and performance anxiety can also cause or contribute to a lack of ejaculatory control.
Dark chocolate has been found to have mood elevating effects presumably by increasing serotonin levels. In this 2016 study, it showed that eating coca or dark chocolate can increase levels of serotonin and have mood-lifting effects. It also had vasodilatory effects due to an increased nitric oxide. Therefore, dark chocolate is often being cited as a “cure for PE”.
With that said, there aren’t any studies we know of that directly link between dark chocolate and delaying ejaculation.
Folic acid is vital for human health. A 2014 study showed that man with ED and PE had lower levels of folic acid than the control group. This was thought to be due to folic acid’s effect on the metabolism of nitric oxide, homocysteine, and 5-hydroxytryptamine.
Many foods are fortified with folic acid but dark-green leafy vegetables, legumes (beans, peas), and orange juice, asparagus, eggs, beets, brussels sprouts, nuts, broccoli, papaya, and wheat germ. Again, there aren’t any studies that examined the effect of increasing folic acid intake on delaying ejaculation.
This 2009 study showed that zinc supplements increased ejaculation latency in male rats. Another study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of EndEP®, a drug used to treat mental and mood problems such as depression and anxiety disorders, in the treatment of lifelong PE patients. It contains a plant-based combination of Rhodiola rosea, folic acid, biotin and zinc. The medication improved ejaculatory latency in 60.4% of men, thus giving support for both zinc and folic acid in PE.
Foods that contain high quantities of zinc are:
- Hemp and pumpkin seeds
- Grass-fed beef
Should I try eating different food to overcome premature ejaculation?
The truth is that if you pay a visit to your local sex therapist or urologist, they probably will not offer a food-based line of treatment. In most of the cases we listed above, there just isn’t enough evidence, and there aren’t any food-based treatment protocols for PE we are aware of.
There are a lot of open questions. Most of the studies we cited talked about certain deficiencies that were spotted in men with PE on average.
But what if you don’t have that specific deficiency? No one knows if they are deficient because routine testing is not usually done. Would eating that certain food help? It is unclear and it’s best to eat a wide variety of foods for overall good health.
And what about men who don’t suffer from PE? Will eating those foods help them to last longer as well? Again, the sexual act varies immensely, so only trial and error would be able to show if there is any benefit.
What about quantities? This is also an open question as there aren’t any recommendations for a “premature ejaculation diet”. It’s important to keep in mind to eat the correct portions so that excess calories don’t become a problem. If you are deficient you can always take a supplement like magnesium.
As with any medical topic, there are more open questions than answers. When it comes to premature ejaculation, it’s probably better to stick to the commonly acceptable treatment method which we talk about here.