Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Some “male enhancement” products can harm your health

Some “all natural” male enhancement products contain undeclared ingredients that can harm your health.

You’ve seen the campy commercials: One member of a golf foursome scores a hole in one. Women at an office party scuffle for a chance to be near that certain man. But public health officials say beware: Many of the so-called all natural male enhancement products contain undeclared ingredients that can harm your health or even kill you. The federal Food and Drug Administration issued yet another warning this week about the products, many of which are sold online. The FDA says that despite its repeated warnings, consumption of these products is increasing – as are the reports of harmful health effects.

Public health officials say many of the products that are supposed to be all natural, dietary supplements actually contain various amounts of the ingredients found in prescription drugs such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. Public health officials warn that taking products that contain these kinds of ingredients can be particularly dangerous for people who are also taking prescription drugs that contain nitrates, such as nitroglycerin. That's because they can interact to cause dangerously low blood pressure. Furthermore, people with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease often take nitrates. And since erectile dysfunction is common in men with these conditions, public health officials say they may seek out these sorts of products.

Rather than classifying these products as a drug – which of course would put them under much closer scrutiny – these products are marketed as “dietary supplements,” which are barely regulated. Plus, as public health officials point out, these so-called supplements are not likely to be made under the same quality controls as prescription drugs, so the identity or the amount of the Viagra-like ingredients could vary greatly. The FDA has actually found the prescription materials in much higher quantities in the so-called all natural products than what a doctor would prescribe in a regulated medication. Many of the male enhancement products that are catching the eye of public health officials are imported from other countries. Numerous shipment have been seized and tested, which is how officials know how much of the prescription medication has been found in the so-called natural products.

While steps have already begun to be taken, these warnings serve as a reminder why we need to beef up regulation of dietary supplements. And while I’m at it, let’s talk about setting real standards for organic foods so that people who are chemically sensitive don’t accidentally ingest harmful contaminants in foods that are supposed to be clean and organic. So many people take different supplements of different varieties in hopes of becoming better, faster, more energetic or simply to destroy free radicals. Yet it’s nearly impossible to know if you are getting the potency the supplement makers claim their product has – or even if it’s advisable to take that level of the vitamin. Please correct me if you disagree, but I have a hard time believing that taking 2,667 times the recommended daily dose of any vitamin or mineral is a good idea. What do you think?

Photo Credit: cygnus921

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for such an informative article and helpful post.

    Best Regards,
    Smith of Male Enhancement