Fact Check

Marmite Cures Premature Ejaculation?

New research suggests a connection between Vitamin B12 deficiencies and premature ejaculation, but no research paper has ever tested either B12's or Marmite's efficacy as a therapy for the condition.

Published Oct 13, 2016

Credit: WestportWiki
Credit: WestportWiki
New research suggests that Marmite helps combat premature ejaculation.
What's True

A study of 109 men published in an issue of scientific journal Andrologica demonstrated a significant correlation between premature ejaculation (PE) and deficiencies in vitamin B12 — a connection that other work has hinted at for decades; Marmite is fortified with B12, and a good source of this vitamin.

What's False

The research did not test the efficacy of Marmite as a therapy for PE, and it didn’t even test vitamin B12 in general as a therapy for PE; the study did reinforce observations suggesting a link between PE and B12 deficiencies that has been proposed, but not tested.

In the September 2016 issue of the journal Andrologica, a team of researchers published a study that concluded:

[V]itamin B12 concentrations in the blood were significantly lower in patients with PE than the subjects without PE (p < .0001).... Moreover, the vitamin B12 levels correlated positively with [intravaginal ejaculation latency time] IELT values and correlated negatively with [premature ejaculation diagnostic tool] PEDT scores. This work has also demonstrated that plasma vitamin B12 levels in patients with PE showed an increasing trend with decreasing PE severity.

On October 7, 2016, The Daily Mail inexplicably decided to use this study to advance a pro-Marmite agenda:

[S]ales of Marmite may be in for a boost after scientists discovered it could hold the secret to making men last longer in the bedroom.

New research suggests a diet rich in daily helpings of vitamin B12 can combat premature ejaculation, a problem which affects one in four men in the UK.

And Marmite is one of the richest sources of the vitamin – along with meat, fish, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals.

The connection they made sounds — and may be — reasonable, but it relies on the untested assumption that increasing B12 would reduce premature ejaculation. Correlation, after all, does not necessarily equal causation, as the authors of the study state:

It is not yet known whether this finding could be translated into a solution for PE; however, vitamin B12 supplementation for the treatment of PE merits further evaluation.

The Daily Mail claim also relies on the assumption that all PE is caused by the same factor, a notion that is not supported by current research:

The pathophysiology of premature ejaculation appears to be multifactorial, implicating the need for multimodal therapeutic regimens to successfully treat premature ejaculation. Multiple treatment regimens have been shown to be effective in extending the time between penetration and ejaculation.

Still, Marmite is fortified with vitamin B12, and it contains 25% of the recommended daily intake of the vitamin. Meat, however, is a much more plentiful source of B12. Because Marmite is completely vegetarian, however, it is a good option for those who do not eat meat.

If you want to get your B12 from a source that is not Marmite or meat, have no fear! Many breakfast cereals are fortified with 25% of your daily intake of the vitamin, too.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.

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