Plant-based diets and risk of erectile dysfunction in young men
Neitling, Cassandra A.
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CitationNeitling, Cassandra A. 2021. Plant-based diets and risk of erectile dysfunction in young men. Master's thesis, Harvard University Division of Continuing Education.
AbstractErectile dysfunction (ED) is the most common medical issue associated with aging. Beyond the obvious impact on sexual quality of life, data suggests that ED may be an early indicator cardiometabolic disease. In fact, research in the past few decades has reported that ED, vascular dysfunction, and metabolic diseases share common pathoetiologies. Interestingly, multiple studies have noted that lifestyle factors associated with cardiovascular disease risk are also associated with ED risk. Recently, healthy dietary patterns have been associated with a reduced risk for erectile dysfunction in middle-aged and older men. However, the extent to which findings on the relationship between diet and ED is generalizable to younger men is uncertain. I hypothesized that greater adherence to a plant-based diet was correlated with lower risk of ED in young men, similar to that of men over 40. To test this hypothesis, I utilized data from 1,964 men, aged 18 to 31, participating in the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS) – an ongoing prospective cohort. Plant-based diet adherence was scored according frequency and consumption of foods reported in a food frequency questionnaire. ED was self-reported after a 2-year follow-up using the validated International Index of Erectile Function-5 (IIEF-5). Of the 1,964 men, 4.7% (N=92) reported moderate or severe ED (Score=5-16), and 19.5% (N=382) reported ED of any severity (Score=5-21). Men in the highest quartile of plant-based diet adherence had 26% lower risk of ED (RR=0.74; 95%CI, 0.52 to 1.06; P trend=0.04) compared to
the lowest quartile after adjustment. Results were similar in analyses using moderate to severe ED as the study outcome. These data suggest that greater adherence to a plant-based diet may be associated with lower risk of ED in young men. Given the novelty of these findings, it is important that additional studies evaluate this relation again. Should these results be replicated, clinical recommendations to prevent or treat erectile dysfunction should include plant-based dietary adherence.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367612
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