Dietary supplements are big business particularly in the areas of weight loss and male enhancements. But, do these dietary supplements really work and safe? Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers conducted a study on many top ingredients used in dietary male enhancement supplements including maca, ginseng, ginkgo Biloba, horny goat weed also known as epimedium, and among many others to find out whether they really work as claimed by their manufacturers.
The complete details of the study is published at The Journal Of Sexual Medicine1, and the researchers’ conclusion;
Despite the dearth of evidence supporting nutraceutical agents in the men’s health arena, these substances are still commonly used by patients. As these products can affect the health and well-being of men presenting to a urology clinic, a familiarity with commonly used agents can help the urologist appropriately counsel their patients.
According to Ryan Terlecki, M.D., senior author of the study and associate professor of urology they were able to find some natural supplementation with promising results and have some improvements on mild sexual dysfunction on animal studies, yet they lack solid evidence when it comes to human application. In the detailed study, the researchers listed 30 male enhancement supplements they’ve tested including ExtenZe, various GNC products, plus many others.
Ther researchers were concern about the quality and safety of the supplements as the ingredients may be weak or impure. So, they don’t recommend their patients to take these supplements. Some dietary male supplements have been found no scientific evidence to back the manufacturers’ claims including improve erections and sex drive or libido, and enhance performance in bed. Moreover, they found some worrying evidence about on some supplements that are advertised as natural contain an active ingredient used in erectile dysfunction medications like Viagra. The active ingredient is called PDE5I(phosphodiesterase-5-inhibitors), and there have been many FDA recalls in the past in which this active ingredient was found in natural and dietary sexual enhancement pills for men.
This is an alarming information as this ingredient is supposed to be on medications that are prescription-based due to potential side-effects. In 2015, one study2 found 81% of over the counter dietary male enhancement pills sold in the U.S. and Asia have been found to contain traces of PDE5I.
In the U.S., PDE5Is cannot be sold to a consumer without a doctor’s prescription. This is also true in many other countries because taking a supplement containing PDE5I involve risks if taken inappropriately. This risk is true3 for those who are taking medication for heart disease like nitrates as it can cause an interaction with PDE5I causing the blood pressure to drop to an unsafe level. Similarly, men with severe impairment of the liver or kidney disease that requires dialysis should avoid taking a drug containing PDE5I.
These are just a few of the risk. This is why it’s vital to closely communicate with your health provider before taking any supplementation because even natural ones that are authentic may have the possibility of interacting certain medications.
Moreover, PBS Frontline and CBC(Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) joined forces to expose supplements safety and efficacy. You can watch the report below to learn more about the secrets behind supplements.
Note that, this is by no means to discredit and ignore the effectiveness of supplements. For instance, Vitamin C has been found to have anticancer properties. The same is true with Niacin, which has been found helpful for depression according to the CSCOM(Canadian Society of Orthomolecular Medicine).
As always, it is a smart idea to put effort on healthy lifestyle practices as it has been found helpful in many aspects of life including erectile dysfunction. One study found that eating flavonoid-rich foods can reduce risk of erectile dysfunction. Another article4 supported that lifestyle changes play an important role as an integral part of the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
- A Urologist’s Guide to Ingredients Found in Top-Selling Nutraceuticals for Men’s Sexual Health Cui, Tao et al. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 12, Issue 11, 2105 – 2117 ↩
- Adulteration of Purported Herbal and Natural Sexual Performance Enhancement Dietary Supplements with Synthetic Phosphodiesterase Type 5 Inhibitors. Campbell, Neil et al. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 10, Issue 7, 1842 – 1849 ↩
- New Drugs and Technologies: Drug Interactions With Phosphodiesterase-5 Inhibitors Used for the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction or Pulmonary Hypertension. Bryan G. Schwartz and Robert A. Kloner. Circulation. 2010;122:88-95, doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.944603 ↩
- Cohen SD (2014) Update on Short-Acting vs. Long-Acting PDE5i + Life-Style Changes vs. PDE5i. J Anc Dis Prev Rem 2:116. doi: 10.4172/2329-8731.1000116 ↩