This study measured the serum folic acid (FA) level in patients with erectile dysfunction (ED) and evaluated the possible association between the serum FA level and erectile function. The study divided 120 patients with ED into 3 groups of 40 patients each: those with severe, moderate and mild ED. Forty healthy men served as controls. Fasting serum samples were obtained, and the total testosterone, cholesterol and FA levels were measured using chemiluminescent immunoassays. There were no significant differences in the mean age, mean body mass index or mean serum total testosterone and cholesterol levels among the three ED groups and controls (P > 0.05). The mean serum FA concentrations were 7.2 ± 3.7, 7.1 ± 3.2, 10.2 ± 4.6 and 10.7 ± 4.6 ng ml−1 in the severe, moderate and mild ED and control groups respectively. The mean serum FA concentration was significantly higher in the control group than in the severe and moderate ED groups (both P < 0.001), but not the mild ED group (P = 0.95). Considering the significant differences in the serum FA levels between the control and ED groups, serum FA deficiency might reflect the severity of ED.