We will discuss in this article the most used ingredients in male enhancement pills and the effects that these substances might have on the body. The vast majority of these ingredients are natural, so the effects, if any, can be seen as safe.
But there are also some ingredients that can be dangerous for men suffering from certain diseases. We will also examine the possible side effects.
What are the most used ingredients in male enhancement pills?
These pills work on a relatively simple principle. In order to obtain and sustain a strong erection, the penis must be well irrigated with blood. Even though I never took such pills, I had an accident in which I injured my erect penis. The amount of blood spilling from the penis, even from the smallest wound, is overwhelming.
Therefore, for a good erection, you need meds that help blood circulation and relax the muscles, so that the blood flows freely.
The two pills we recommend use different ingredients. We will examine each one below, noting that most of the copied products (clones) use, in general, the same set of ingredients.
Ingredients found in VigRX Plus
Damiana (Turnera diffusa)
Damiana is a small, fragrant plant native to the southern United States and South and Central America. It was mainly used in the preparation of a liqueur quite popular in Mexico.
The plant is used in traditional medicine to treat stomach pain but also as an aphrodisiac.
However, there are no scientific studies to show the effectiveness of the plant in treating any symptoms. Because Damiana fruit extract contains substances that interact with the nervous system, some people may experience a moderate high.
Damiana raises blood glucose levels, so diabetics are advised to take it with caution.
Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium Leaf Extract)
Horny Goat Weed leaf extract has been used as an aphrodisiac for a long time in traditional Chinese medicine (where it is known as yin yang huo).
There is limited scientific evidence for the effectiveness of this herbal extract, for any condition. It is mainly used to treat erectile problems and lack of sexual appetite.
Taken in small doses, Epimedium Leaf Extract is relatively safe for health. A higher dose or a prolonged administration can trigger unwanted side effects such as dry mouth, dizziness, and even vomiting.
It is also possible that this ingredient may cause an abnormal heart rhythm in some people.
Asian Red Ginseng (Panax)
As the name suggests (Panax – all-healing), Ginseng root has been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat many ailments. Ginseng is also used in cuisine, like tea or ingredient in some traditional Asian foods.
So far, there are no conclusive scientific studies on the effectiveness of Ginseng in treating any disease.
In our case, Red Ginseng is present in male enhancement pills due to its possible aphrodisiac properties. From what we have learned, Red Ginseng can sometimes have such effects because it increases alertness, but there is no clear evidence that it can be used to treat erectile problems.
Click here to learn more about possible side effects of Gingseng in general.
Muira Puama bark extract (Ptychopetalum olacoides)
Muira Puama bark is used by South American natives to treat most sexual problems (such as erectile dysfunction, lack of libido, etc.). There are no medical studies showing that Muira Puama has any positive effect on various sexual problems.
Even so, Muira Puama bark extract is well known in the field of traditional medicine for its beneficial effects on men with sexual problems. On the other hand, there was a time when radium (the radioactive substance) was considered a treatment for sexual dysfunction. It is best to draw your own conclusions.
No side effects have been reported so far, and the extract can be considered relatively safe in normal (small) doses.
Catuaba bark extract (Trichilia catigua and Erythroxylum vacciniifolium)
Catuaba is actually an infusion of the bark of some shrubs from South America. In our case, it is most likely the bark of Trichilia catigua and Erythroxylum vacciniifolium. These shrubs are used to stimulate sexual desire.
Apart from its use in traditional South American medicine, there is no scientific evidence that Catuaba infusion has medicinal properties.
Also, there is no extensive safety data, but it is believed that the substance is well tolerated by the body.
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens)
Saw palmetto is a small palm tree that grows especially in the southeastern United States. Like other herbs listed above, it has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments.
Numerous scientific studies have been performed on the extract of Saw palmetto, especially targeting treatments for enlarged prostate and even prostate cancer. The results are not clear yet. One study showed that Saw palmetto is safe and may help relieve the urinary effects of an enlarged prostate.
Saw palmetto has interactions with many standard drugs, so it is good to consult the list of side effects as well as drug interactions.
Ginkgo are large trees, cultivated since ancient times. They were a source of food, but also ingredients for traditional Asian medicine.
Various studies have shown the modest effectiveness of Ginkgo biloba in treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, peripheral vascular disease, and age-related macular degeneration.
For the rest of the disease, all studies have shown that Ginkgo biloba is ineffective.
There are interactions of Ginkgo biloba with other drugs, especially with anticoagulants (warfarin or antiplatelet medication). In general, Ginkgo biloba seems to be well tolerated by the body if consumed in normal doses.
This is one of the substances that give pepper its specific, strong taste and smell. It is a spice that we all know, but it has recently been discovered that Bioperine (an extract of black pepper) has an important function in helping the body absorb other nutrients – a function called bioavailability.
Piperine has also been shown in studies to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The presence of Bioperine in VigRX Plus is probably related to bioavailability.
Ingredients found in MaleExtra
Ellagic Acid (from pomegranate)
Ellagic acid is an antioxidant polyphenol found in many fruits and vegetables. It is believed it can increase blood flow throughout the body, including the penis. In this particular case, ellagic acid is used in connection with increased blood flow to the penis, and MaleExtra’s official site features some studies on its impact on sexual dysfunction. Whether these studies can be considered reliable remains to be seen.
As a whole, ellagic acid should not be totally dismissed as a useful substance, but precautions should be taken, especially for people with allergies.
Arginine is a compound called an amino acid. It is naturally assimilated by humans from the daily diet, especially from meat and it helps the body produce protein.
Mainly, this amino acid seems to stimulate the production of HGH (human growth hormone) and helps maintain normal blood pressure.
The positive effects on the circulatory system are here connected with the possibility of better irrigation of the penis during erection, therefore it is possible for men to get a stronger erection with the help of L-arginine. There are no large-scale scientific studies in this regard.
Cordyceps is an interesting ingredient. It’s a fungus that lives on various caterpillars, all of them found in China. Being so hard to get, most Cordyceps products are manufactured in the laboratory.
Cordyceps is used for kidney disease, but also for male sexual problems. There are several studies that indicate positive results of Cordyceps in increasing libido in men and women, as well as improving sperm quality in men.
Cordyceps may interact with other medications as well as with pre-existing medical conditions but is generally believed to be well tolerated by the body.
Zinc is an essential mineral for the human body. It has many benefits and must be assimilated almost daily, for the proper functioning of the body.
Does it have anything to do with male enhancement? No, it has no direct connection, but it can be important for those who suffer from low testosterone. It has been shown that men with low testosterone levels have an increase in the levels of this hormone after taking zinc supplements.
The link between testosterone and erection is already established, so it is possible that a sufficient intake of zinc will result in a better erection. However, there are still no exact studies on the feasibility of this aspect.
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Vitamin B3 (or Niacin) is an essential human nutrient. It is a very good supplement in terms of increasing the level of good cholesterol (HDL) as well as lowering triglycerides.
In the case of MaleExtra pills, the presence of Niacin in the ingredients can be explained by the benefits to the circulatory system and by the fact that it offers increased vitality.
We have not found any medical studies showing the direct benefits of Niacin concerning male sexual problems.
For the rest of the ingredients in MaleExtra (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane and L-Methionine) we found absolutely no link for their possible benefits in treating male sexual problems or even related issues.
Possible dangerous ingredients in other male enhancement pills
The bark of Yohimbe is used to create various tinctures and extracts, which are believed to help increase potency and treat erectile dysfunction. There are studies that show potential beneficial effects of Yohimbe extract but warn of side effects such as high blood pressure, increased heart rate, headache, nausea, tremors, and insomnia.
Yohimbine, on the other hand, has aphrodisiac effects in some mammals, but not in humans. Scientific studies done on Yohimbine show that there are quite modest positive results in treating erectile dysfunction, but due to unclear data (dose, side effects, risk groups), it is recommended that Yohimbine shall not be used as treatment.
Because of issues related to safety, our advice is to avoid products containing Yohimbe or Yohimbine.
Hidden ingredients in male enhancement pills
FDA does a very good job in finding hidden ingredients in male enhancement pills. Usually, tadalafil and sildenafil are the hidden substances in certain male enhancement products.
Pills containing tadalafil and sildenafil act much like Viagra, only they can be sold without a prescription. Because Viagra is not for everyone and has serious side effects that can even endanger the patient’s life, it is highly recommended to not use such pills.
The list of tainted male enhancement pills can be found here.