Objective: To investigate the association between the plant-based content of diet and erectile dysfunction in men from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Methods: We collected de-identified information from the NHANES database on demographics, comorbidities, diet, and erectile dysfunction (ED). Exclusion criteria were age <20 or >70 years, incomplete plant-based diet index information, history of prostate cancer, or other missing information. Using the food frequency questionnaire, an overall plant-based diet index (PDI) and healthful plant-based diet index (hPDI) were developed. A higher score on the PDI and hPDI is indicative of greater consumption of plant-based foods. Results: A total of 2549 men were analyzed, of those 1085 (42.6%) have good erectile function and 1464 (57.4%) have some degree of ED [usually have erections 521 (20.4%), sometimes have erection 690 (27.1%), or never have erections 253 (9.9%)]. The median age and BMI were 54 [41-64] years and 28.8 [25.5-32.6] kg/m2, respectively. The median PDI and hPDI were 50 [46-54] and 50 [45-56], respectively. In multivariable adjusted logistic regression analysis, hPDI was negatively associated with ED (OR = 0.98, 95% CI: 0.96-0.99; P = .001). There was no association between PDI and ED. Conclusion: In a well characterized national database, we showed that a healthful plant-based diet is associated with less chance of having erectile dysfunction. Whether interventions with a plant-based diet will improve erectile function remains to be studied.
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