From promises of an increased libido to a larger penis, natural male enhancement pills lay claim to them all. These herbal dietary supplements, which even purport to treat erectile dysfunction, may seem like a less expensive at-home treatment to address your most private concerns. However, MayoClinic.com and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, or CSPI, warn that the effects of natural male enhancement pills are likely less than transitory — in fact, they may not work at all.
“Natural male enhancement pills” aren’t difficult to find — they’re advertised on the radio, television and Internet. Each purports to be the “best,” cautioning you against inferior similar products. However, these pills that claim to work miracles in the bedroom are not drugs — they’re dietary supplements. Due to this FDA classification, natural male enhancement pills cannot legally claim to prevent, treat or cure any medical condition, including erectile dysfunction, although many of them do. The FTC has taken numerous legal actions against marketers of natural male enhancement pills that use herbs and botanicals as active ingredients. The FTC, CSPI and the Mayo Clinic consider these products fraudulent. Many of the herbs in male enhancement pills have a longstanding or historical use in various traditional medicines; however, they have not undergone rigorous scientific study.
Effects vs. Efficacy
Some dietary supplements purport to increase the size of the penis. However, aside from a surgical procedure, this is an impossible task for any pill to achieve. Three prescription oral medications are approved by the FDA to treat erectile dysfunction — sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil. These products are classified as drugs. However, the natural ingredients in male enhancement pills don’t have a proven track record. Some alternative treatments used to treat erectile dysfunction are of panax ginseng, yohimbine, ginkgo, L-arginine and dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA. Some of these dietary supplements are generally safe to use, while others are more dangerous. For example, DHEA may help men with low levels of testosterone, but the side effects can include acne and decreased high-density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol levels. Before you self-treat with dietary supplements, talk to your treating physician.
Sorting Out the Claims
The CSPI indicates that there’s “little or no evidence” that most of the ingredients you find in natural male enhancement pills do what they purport to do. They neither increase libido or improve sexual performance. The FTC advises you to disregard “herbal” and “all natural” treatments that boast a high success rate, as well as those that claim to be “breakthrough” cures or backed by “scientific studies.” Medical treatments for impotence do exist. Don’t be too embarrassed to talk to a doctor about legitimate treatment options.