Do They Really Work?

Health Alert 250

Dear Subscriber:

Enzyte, Actra-Rx, Viagra… you hear the claims for sexual enhancement on the radio and TV, and read ads in magazines. The promises may appeal to you but do they work? Are you putting yourself at risk by trying these supplements?

Contrary to what I often hear uninformed sources repeating, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does regulate what supplement manufacturers can claim their product will do for you. But, the FTC usually restricts their enforcement to claims made about diseases. If the ad doesn’t mention a disease, there is no guarantee that statements are “backed by sound, scientific evidence.”

Today I’ll tell you the best way to make an informed decision about these products.

* Does Science Back Them Up? *

First, let’s look at Enzyte. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recently concluded that the manufacturer fails to give any scientific evidence for their claims. Furthermore, an analysis of their supplement label shows no ingredients that are extraordinary or particularly good at helping with sexual function.

On the other side of the coin are supplements that work too well. Recently, Actra-Rx and Viagra came under suspicion when the FDA realized each “all natural” capsule contains large doses of sildenafil, the active chemical in Viagra.

These supplements did work but unfortunately for many men, sildenafil can lower blood pressure to unsafe levels and interacts with prescription drugs that contain nitrates.3 They should not be sold without informing the buyer of the prescription drug contained and its potential side effects.

* Most Sex Pills on the Market Are Harmless *

Most of the other sexual enhancement products on the market are safe. Many of these pills work – but only in certain people. When you’re dealing with the frustration of erectile dysfunction or low sex drive, having a tool like this is priceless. Yet I can’t give blanket advice on which ones to use because it depends on your physiology, your problem and your hormone balances.

In my experience, most sexual function problems result from hormonal disruptions. Our altered environment causes hormonal imbalances that tend to accumulate with age.

Low libido in women usually means low testosterone or low DHEA or both. High estrogen or low testosterone or some combination of each causes most sexual problems in men. Yet the solution is hard to get right “in the dark”. You need to expose the problem by having all of your major sex steroid hormones measured in your blood. Then maybe one of these supplements is just what the doctor ordered.

To Your Health,

Al Sears, M.D.

1 Sex Enhancement Pills Fall Short by Maggie Fox. Reuters. September 23, 2004

2 Center for Science in the Public Interest.

3 FDA Warns on Sexual Supplements. The Associated Press. November 2, 2004