Olive oil and lemon for erectile dysfunction: nature's Viagra?

Yael Cooperman, MD - Contributor Avatar

Reviewed by Yael Cooperman, MD, Ro, 

Written by Anna Brooks 

Yael Cooperman, MD - Contributor Avatar

Reviewed by Yael Cooperman, MD, Ro, 

Written by Anna Brooks 

LAST UPDATED: Nov 20, 2023

4 MIN READ

Today erectile dysfunction is more treatable than ever, though many people who experience it may feel desperate for a quick fix. 

Historically, the search for an ED cure has led to some strange and even dangerous treatments – like implanting goat gonads or rubbing baby crocodile hearts on your penis. 

While these types of bogus ED cures have long since been debunked, newer “treatments” often marketed as natural or holistic have made their way onto the scene, such as ginseng, horny goat weed, and fenugreek. One of the latest that’s cropped up is olive oil and lemon juice for ED. 

Buy Cialis® online

Consult a healthcare provider to learn more about Cialis®

Is olive oil and lemon juice effective for ED?

The short answer? Probably not. However, the real answer is a bit more complicated. 

There’s no scientific evidence to prove that swigging lemon juice and olive oil helps ED. That said, numerous studies suggest that diet may play a role in erectile function. 

Erectile dysfunction is often a result of limited blood flow to the penis. Blood flow can be affected by many things, including health conditions like obesity, heart disease, and even diabetes. 

Cardiovascular disease especially is a major risk factor for ED because it affects blood flow throughout the entire body. That means consuming foods that support heart health could help improve blood flow, contributing to better erections. 

Olive oil, for example, is known to contain antioxidants and produce anti-inflammatory properties that may help regulate blood pressure and encourage better circulation. Oleic acid (the main fatty acid found in olive oil) may have additional health benefits like lowering cholesterol; more research is needed, but high cholesterol may increase the likelihood of developing ED.

While there’s not much evidence that lemons specifically improve sexual health, research has found that increasing the intake of flavonoid-rich fruits (including citrus fruits) was linked to a 14% reduced risk for ED.

Can olive oil and lemon juice replace Viagra?

Unfortunately, there’s no magic food that can fix ED. Even though olive oil and lemon juice have properties that may contribute to overall health, they are not natural Viagra and won’t replace ED medications like Viagra.

The difference is that medications, such as Viagra and Cialis, have been rigorously tested in clinical settings and are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat ED, while olive oil and lemon juice are not.

If you have ED, a combination of medication and healthy lifestyle changes may be your best bet. Utilizing short-term treatments like Viagra will help you maintain an erection in the moment while eating nutritious foods and getting exercise will support long-term sexual health and overall quality of life.

Viagra Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

Cialis Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

Can a Mediterranean diet help with ED? 

Consuming olive oil and lemon juice on their own may not do much for ED, but utilizing them in a Mediterranean diet might. 

Both these ingredients are hallmarks of the Mediterranean diet, a heart-healthy eating plan that includes lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Studies have found that men who adhered to a Mediterranean diet had a lower prevalence of ED. These types of nutritious, plant-forward diets also encourage weight loss and may improve testosterone levels in people with obesity, which is another risk factor for ED.

Other large research studies support this, finding that men who followed the Mediterranean diet were less likely to experience ED. Another smaller 2018 study suggests that sticking to a Mediterranean diet long-term increases testosterone levels and supports healthy blood vessels ––a combination of which may improve sexual function.

Though more research is needed, other foods that may lead to better erections include apples, tomatoes, soybeans, eggs, beans, bell peppers, and dark chocolate (with a minimum of 70% cacao). Foods like these are rich in natural compounds – like lycopene, folate, omega 3s, and L-arginine – which could play a role in improving erectile function and other conditions like premature ejaculation.

Alternatives to olive oil and lemon juice for ED 

While consuming olive oil and lemon juice certainly won’t hurt you, the combo isn’t likely to do anything to enhance erections.

The good news is, there are a multitude of medications and alternative ED treatments available that are effective for many men who experience ED: 

  • Medications: PDE5 inhibitors are a class of FDA-approved, oral medications that include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), avanafil (Stendra), and vardenafil (Levitra). These prescription-only drugs work by increasing blood flow to the penis to help you get and maintain an erection when you’re aroused.

  • Penile injections: While effective for ED, medication isn’t for everyone. Some people can’t take it for medical reasons, like those who have serious heart or liver problems, for example. Penile injections may be a good option for those who can’t take medications by mouth.

  • Shockwave therapy: While not approved by the FDA, low-intensity shockwave therapy has been shown to be effective for ED – specifically vasculogenic ED, a common type of ED that impacts the vessels that bring blood to the penis. This noninvasive therapy utilizes sound waves to encourage blood flow and strengthen blood vessels in the penis.

  • Sex therapy: Sometimes the cause of ED is psychological rather than physiological. Working with a sex therapist may help a person with psychogenic ED process any past trauma and learn techniques to reduce anxiety, increase sexual stimulation and intimacy, bolster self-esteem, and address concerns between sexual partners.  

Drinking olive oil and lemon juice may not be considered a scientifically valid treatment for ED, but eating healthy is essential for overall health––including penis health. 

Sticking to more plant-based diets rich in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains while limiting processed foods or those high in saturated fats (like butter, cheese, and red meats) can improve blood flow and bolster erections. 

Eating right and practicing other lifestyle habits like exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and cutting back on alcohol have health benefits and can also prevent conditions linked to ED like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease

If you are experiencing symptoms of erectile dysfunction, a healthcare provider can help you navigate options like prescription ED medication or other treatments so you can feel good about your body and have a more satisfying sex life.

DISCLAIMER

If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

  • Aedín, C., Mary, F., & Rimm, E. B. (2016). Dietary flavonoid intake and incidence of erectile dysfunction. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 103(2), 534-541. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.122010. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002916523121575?via%3Dihub

  • Bauer, S. R., Breyer, B. N., & Stampfer, M. J. (2020). Association of Diet With Erectile Dysfunction Among Men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. JAMA Network Open, 3(11). doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.21701. Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2772916

  • Chrysohoou, C., Skoumas, J., Lazaros, G., et al. (2018). P3479 Mediterranean type of diet and olive oil consumption show beneficial effects on sexual capacity through improvement of aortic elastic properties and testosterone levels in elderly men from IKARIA stud. European Heart Journal, 39(1). doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehy563.P3479. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/39/suppl_1/ehy563.P3479/5083185?login=false

  • Dewitte, M., Bettocchi, C., Carvalho, J., et al. (2021). A Psychosocial Approach to Erectile Dysfunction: Position Statements from the European Society of Sexual Medicine (ESSM). Sexual Medicine, 9(6). doi: 10.1016/j.esxm.2021.100434. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8766276/

  • Santa-María, C., López-Enríquez, S., Sergio Montserrat-de la Paz, S., et al. (2023). Update on Anti-Inflammatory Molecular Mechanisms Induced by Oleic Acid. Nutrients, 15(1). doi: 10.3390/nu15010224. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/15/1/224

  • Sokolakis, I. & Hatzichristodoulou, G. (2019). Clinical studies on low intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy for erectile dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. International Journal of Impotence Research, 31, 177–194. doi: 10.1038/s41443-019-0117-z. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41443-019-0117-z


How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

November 20, 2023

Written by

Anna Brooks

Fact checked by

Yael Cooperman, MD


About the medical reviewer

Yael Cooperman is a physician and works as a Senior Manager, Medical Content & Education at Ro.

Save up to 90% with generics

Start now
0