You’ve probably heard of whiskey dick, but can pre-workout cause ED?
Erection issues are no joke; you don't want to leave the gym pumped only to fall flat in the bedroom. There’s growing concern that pre-workout supplements are causing erectile dysfunction.
In this article, we'll tell you everything you need to know about how pre-workout might impact your body.
Does Pre-Workout Cause ED?
Pre-workout supplements are designed to increase performance in the gym, but there are already a range of known pre-workout side effects, including nausea, skin reactions, and heart abnormalities.
There’s now increasing evidence that pre-workouts do impact sexual performance, and to understand how and why, let's take a closer look at the pre-workout ingredient list.
Pre-workouts come in a variety of forms, most commonly as pre-workout powders or pills. They contain a mix of natural and artificial ingredients, but the most common pre-workout supplements will have:
- Beta-alanine is an amino acid designed to reduce muscle fatigue.
- Other non-essential amino acids to increase blood flow to your muscles.
- Nitric oxide compounds to increase nitric oxide production and stimulate your blood vessels.
- Creatine, which influences hormone production to give you more energy.
- Caffeine or some other stimulant to improve your focus and energy levels.
What Ingredients In Pre-Workout Can Cause ED?
Every pre-workout supplement is slightly different, but these are usually the key ingredients. Now, erectile dysfunction can be caused by many different factors, and there may be several reasons you can't maintain erections.
The most common erectile dysfunction causes are high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, or blood flow issues, but there are a lot of other causes.
To date, no scientific study has formally linked erectile dysfunction to pre-workout supplements, but there are increasing numbers of bodybuilders seeking help with erection trouble. So is there a link?
Well, even though there’s no study to provide it, there’s a good chance that your pre-workout is impacting your erections, and this is down to a few specific ingredients within it.
Pre-workout supplements almost always contain stimulants, and more often than not, it's caffeine.
The caffeine level in pre-workout is often very high, and some pre-workout supplements contain over 400mg in a single scoop. That’s the equivalent of 4 cups of coffee in one go.
Caffeine has been shown to increase your heart rate and blood pressure, and actually stop blood from getting to all areas of your body.
When you have too much caffeine, then the possible side effects become worse, and it can cause erectile dysfunction.
2. Artificial Sweeteners
Many pre-workout supplements contain artificial sweeteners to help improve the taste.
These artificial sweeteners can have a surprising impact on your body and leave you struggling to achieve an erection.
This is because most artificial sweeteners contain aspartame, which has been shown to influence your production of serotonin and impact your mental health.
This can decrease your libido and effectively put your penis to sleep, which is less than ideal if you’re looking to have sex.
Alongside the ingredients listed above, there are some other reasons why pre-workout supplements can cause erectile dysfunction, specifically mixing supplements, and extreme diet changes:
3. Mixing Supplements
Many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts like to stack different supplements to try and improve their training performance.
These individual supplements may be fine on their own, but when taken together, they could have an unknown effect on your body.
This mix of supplements can impact your body’s natural hormone production or impact your blood vessels to restrict your blood flow.
Either of these can make it difficult to maintain an erection, so it’s really important you know what you’re putting in your body.
Learn More - Can You Mix Creatine With Pre-Workout?
4. Diet Changes
This isn’t specifically caused by pre-workout, but often when you’re taking pre-workout supplements, you may be altering your diet.
Protein and other dietary supplements won't cause erectile dysfunction, but a dramatic reduction in carbohydrates can make it difficult to get an erection.
It's important you maintain a balanced diet, especially if you're worried about ED.
So, can pre-workout supplements cause erectile dysfunction? Like we said, there's no scientific evidence proving it conclusively, but there are definitely a few reasons why it could be a risk.
If you're focused on nutrition and leading a healthy lifestyle, then it probably won't, but if you're already struggling with impotence, or know that there are issues with your sexual activity, then taking pre-workout supplements may exacerbate erectile dysfunction.
Learn More - Can You Break A Fast With Pre-Workout?
How Does Pre-Workout Affect Your Endocrine System?
The stimulants in your pre-workout supplement can affect the endocrine system by increasing your heart rate and impacting the blood flow around your body. This can lead to a reduction in testosterone production and can even increase your anxiety.
Your endocrine system is vital to your health and influences all your bodily processes. It's made up of a series of glands that produce and maintain the different levels of hormones in your body.
These hormones influence everything from your muscle development to your brain and can also have an impact on your sex organs.
Your endocrine system helps to produce testosterone, which is linked to increased muscle building. Many pre-workouts are designed to stimulate your body to create more testosterone, so your endocrine system is actually working with you to support your muscles.
However, your endocrine system is fragile, and even a small change or outside influence can impact your health.
If you have any existing issues with your endocrine system, then pre-workouts are much more likely to have an impact on it, which in turn can negatively impact your sex life.
Learn More - What Happens When You Take Too Much Pre-Workout?
What Is Stim Dick?
Stim dick is when a man is unable to achieve an erection after consuming too many stimulants. It's generally linked to pre-workouts, but here's why it happens and how to fix it.
What Causes It?
Sometimes your body makes it difficult to get an erection for no real reason, but stim dick is caused by a sudden reduction in blood flow.
This is caused by stimulants (usually caffeine) in your pre-workouts which constrict your blood vessels and limit blood flow to your crotch. It can come on quite suddenly, and you’ll find that you just can’t get it up no matter what.
This is one of the negative effects of taking pre-workouts before you exercise because you’re literally improving your energy levels for your workout by taking energy from your penis.
How To Fix It?
To fix stim dick, you need to improve blood flow to your penis. The easiest way to do that is to stop taking the supplement which caused it in the first place.
This may make exercise a bit more challenging but should improve the health of your sex life.
If testosterone is the issue, it can sometimes be fixed by taking anabolic steroids. These are made from natural ingredients and help to support muscle growth and improve your libido.
In some cases, this can fix stim dick, but these steroids should only be prescribed by a doctor because there are some long-term impacts.
There are anecdotal stories about stim dick lasting for days, weeks, or months, but if you have no underlying health conditions, this shouldn't be the case. By cutting out the stimulants for a few hours then, it should start working again.
If you have stopped consuming stimulants and the erectile dysfunction continues for more than a week, you should see your doctor.
They will probably check to ensure you have healthy testosterone levels and may recommend a change in your nutrition. In some cases, they may even prescribe specific treatments to help you.
3 Pre-Workout Ingredients That Help With Erectile Dysfunction
Many of the ingredients in your supplement can contribute to erectile dysfunction, but there are actually a few which can help:
Creatine is a common supplement taken in pre-workout or on its own. It has been proven to support performance and can lead to greater muscle gains by improving your testosterone production.
This increased testosterone can lead to a higher sex drive, which can help you overcome erectile dysfunction.
However, you do need to be careful with creatine because taking too much can lead to adverse skin reactions or even kidney failure if you don't stay well hydrated.
Related Article - Creatine Vs Pre-Workout
2. Citrulline Malate
Citrulline, sometimes called L citrulline, works alongside L arginine to support nitric oxide production.
By increasing nitric oxide levels, these amino acids increase blood flow throughout your body. This can lead to increased muscle building but should also help you get an erection.
3. NO Booster
A nitric oxide booster is usually made up of a few different amino acids, which all increase blood flow. It's not contained in every pre-workout, but finding one with a NO booster could help you overcome your erectile dysfunction.
If possible, look for a stim-free pre-workout because it's generally the caffeine content that will determine if you can get it up or not.
By switching to a stimulant-free blend, with a nitric oxide booster, you should be able to train hard, reach your weight loss goals, and maintain erections.
Pre-Workout & Erectile Dysfunction FAQs
Yes, certain substances in pre-workout, most notably L citrulline, can help improve blood flow. This can make it easier to achieve and maintain a hard erection.
Certain blends of C4 contain a lot of stimulants, and the potential C4 pre-workout side effects include erectile dysfunction, increased anxiety, and jitters. However, if you take the recommended dose, then you should be fine. Just make sure you stop taking it if you experience negative side effects.
Mr. Hyde pre does have a healthy dose of caffeine (about 195mg a scoop), but it's actually less than many other pre-workout brands. It does increase your chances of erection issues but shouldn’t be an issue if you stick to the right dose.
Heavy lifting should have a positive impact on your circulation and help to reduce anxiety and stress, which can cause erectile dysfunction. However, overtraining can disrupt your sleep and cause hypertension which may impact your erections.
No, creatine is not one of the substances linked to ED, and it can help you produce more testosterone to counteract it.
Nobody wants to be in the nightmare scenario where you’re at home, curtains drawn, candles lit, but you can’t get an erection.
Taking pre-workout can make it harder (excuse the pun) to get an erection, but if you manage your dose and lead a healthy lifestyle, then it alone shouldn't kill your sex life.
Hopefully, this guide has helped explain why supplements can impact your erections and has given you some useful advice about what you can do about it.