Can what’s coursing through your veins predict a penis problem?
Blood is obviously an important component of your erection: If there’s not enough of it flowing to your penis, you won’t be able to inflate to full mast—and stay that way. But can your blood type affect how hard it is for you to, well, get hard?
Researchers from Turkey say that it can. In their study, they discovered that men with type O blood were significantly less likely to have erectile dysfunction (ED) than those with type A, type B, or type AB blood. In fact, guys with type A and type B blood were about 4 times as likely to suffer from ED than men with type O blood—and men with type AB blood had nearly 5 times the risk.
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The link isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem. Scientists have previously determined that some blood types—particularly AB—have been linked to other health conditions, including heart disease, higher cholesterol, and blood clots.
And the same mechanism responsible for those kinds of issues may be driving the link between blood type and ED. In fact, prior studies have concluded that problems with erections may pop up three years before heart disease surfaces. That’s because the arteries in your penis are much smaller than the arteries around your heart, so they’re more likely to show effects from damage or buildup first.
It’s possible that people with type A and type B blood have greater levels of adhesion molecules in their blood, which can lead to the development of plaque buildup in the arteries. This can affect blood flow, both to the heart and to the penis—leading to an increased risk of heart disease and erectile dysfunction.
It’s also possible that other genetic components of the A and B blood types may lead to blood vessel damage, which can disrupt the biological processes necessary in getting an erection. (Want to keep your erection hard for life? Try the Men’s Health Guide to Erectile Dysfunction.)
Now, this was a retrospective study, meaning that the researchers can’t determine cause and effect. More research must be done first to solidify the link.