What You Need to Know About the Purported Benefits of ExtenZe for Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) happens when you can’t get or keep an erection long or hard enough to have penetrative sex.
People can have ED symptoms at any age. It can result not just from medical or physiological conditions but also from stress, anxiety, or intimacy issues with a partner.
Around 40 percent of people with a penis over 40 have mild to moderate ED. And your chances of developing mild to moderate ED increase by about 10 percent each decade as you get older.
Many causes of ED as you age stem from changes in your hormones, blood flow, and overall health. All of these contribute to erectile function.
ExtenZe is a natural supplement intended to treat these sources of ED. Some of its ingredients have indeed been shown through research to be effective in treating some of the causes of ED.
There’s no evidence to support that ExtenZe is effective in treating ED.
Additionally, ExtenZe isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Without this kind of oversight, manufacturers can put anything in their supplements. This can lead to allergic reactions or unintended effects on your body.
How well does ExtenZe really work?
ExtenZe claims to reduce the symptoms of erectile dysfunction and improve your sexual function as the ingredients make their way through your body.
But no evidence exists in favor of its function. Quite the opposite is true.
Here’s what some of the most trustworthy research says about ExtenZe:
- A 2016 study found that unregulated overuse of sildenafil, a common ingredient in ExtenZe as well as prescription ED medications like Viagra, can lead to symptoms like seizures, memory loss, low blood sugar, and loss of nerve function.
- A 2017 study diagnosed a rare type of heart failure in a man who had overdosed on yohimbine, a common ingredient in ExtenZe.
- A 2019 study found that active ingredients and hormones commonly found in ExtenZe could increase your risk of developing gynecomastia (also known as “man boobs”).
What are the active ingredients in ExtenZe?
Some of the active ingredients in ExtenZe have indeed been used as natural remedies to treat ED for centuries. Some have research to back them up. But others are only supported by anecdotal evidence.
Still, others may even have unwanted or dangerous side effects if you take too much.
Here’s a list of ingredients commonly found in ExtenZe and what they’re purported to do:
Yohimbe, or yohimbine, is an herbal supplement made from the bark of the Pausinystalia johimbe tree and common in traditional West African medicine to treat male infertility.
L-arginine is an amino acid that’s been found to be useless against ED in some studies, but it may be effective in high doses to help with blood flow. It can cause dangerous side effects if taken with Viagra.
Horny goat weed
Horny goat weed contains an ingredient called icariin. This blocks an enzyme called protein phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) that can stop arteries in your penis from dilating, which is necessary for enough blood to flow in and make you erect.
A study on rats found some improvement in ED with horny goat weed, and another study showed that icariin could block PDE5.
Zinc is a mineral that’s important to your diet. Some research provides evidence that taking 30 milligrams of zinc and magnesium a day can increase testosterone levels.
But other research found this to be true only if you’re not already getting enough zinc, so taking extra zinc won’t have any effects on your ED.
Pregnenolone is a naturally occurring hormone that helps your body make testosterone and many other hormones. But there’s no evidence that taking supplements has any effect on ED or sexual function.
DHEA is a naturally occurring substance in your body that helps it produce other hormones like testosterone.
It’s shown some promising results in small amounts for treating ED. But your body won’t make any extra DHEA if you take it in a supplement, and DHEA supplements can have dangerous interactions with certain medications.
Deceptive marketing lawsuits
Biotab Nutraceuticals, which makes ExtenZe, has been caught up in several lawsuits related to making untrue claims about what it can do.
In 2006, the company was fined $300,000 for falsely advertising that it could make your penis larger. And again in 2010, the company settled a legal dispute worth $11 million for falsely claiming that it could increase penis size.
DHEA and pregnenolone, two common ingredients in ExtenZe, are banned from professional athletic competitions. This is because they’re known as performance enhancers.
Athletes who test positive for these substances in routine drug tests aren’t allowed to take part in professional sports.
Just ask LaShawn Merritt. He’s an Olympic sprinter who was banned from taking part in any professional activities in 2010 for 21 months when these ingredients were found in his system.
Is it safe to take?
There’s no evidence that ExtenZe is harmful or fatal if taken in small doses.
If you’re unsure whether your current medications may interact with ExtenZe, talk to your doctor.
Potential side effects and precautions
Natural ingredients found in supplements like ExtenZe have documented side effects, including:
Alternatives to ExtenZe
There’s no reliable evidence that ExtenZe or any related supplements work at all. They may even have the opposite effect. Undeclared ingredients may be harmful and interact with your body and other medications. Always talk to a doctor first before trying any of these supplements.
Try one or more of the following remedies to address possible causes of ED symptoms:
- Reduce or quit smoking cigarettes or other products that contain nicotine. Quitting can be difficult, but a doctor can help you develop a cessation plan that’s right for you.
- Reduce or stop drinking alcohol. Heavy consumption can increase your risk of ED.
- Lose weight if you’re overweight or have obesity. This can improve ED symptoms.
- Do more physical activity and eat a healthy diet. Both of these have been demonstrated to reduce ED symptoms.
- Meditate or spend time relaxing each day to reduce stress or anxiety that may cause ED.
- Improve communication with your partner. Unresolved or underlying relationship issues may be affecting your ability to be intimate with them.
- Have sex regularly (more than once a week). This can reduce your chance of developing ED.
- See a counselor or therapist if you believe that underlying mental or emotional issues may be resulting in ED symptoms.
When to see a doctor
See a doctor if you’ve tried lifestyle changes or other natural ways of improving ED symptoms without any results.
ED can have underlying medical causes. These can include restricted blood flow due to blood vessel blockage or nerve damage from conditions like Parkinson’s disease.
A doctor can diagnose these conditions and prescribe treatments that can address the cause and potentially improve your ED symptoms by restoring blood flow or nerve function that contributes to your ability to get hard.
ExtenZe is neither proven to work nor safe to take. And there are numerous other proven options to help improve your ED symptoms.