For a long time now I've noticed something strange going on when it comes to some of those Natural Male Enhancement supplements. You know, the supplements that are supposed to be natural alternatives Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis. Turns out that many of these supplements contain chemicals that act similar to Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. Some supplements may even contain the actual drugs themselves!
Often these compounds are not listed on the supplement label.
It's important that people know this because Viagra-like substances (just like the drugs themselves) can interact with medications that treat heart and blood pressure problems. This makes them potentially dangerous for some people.
The Viagra-like compounds that have been found the most in male enhancement supplements include:
Are these compounds safe? While we often hear that Viagra should be used with caution in those who take blood pressure medications, some other viagra side effects can include :
- abnormal vision/loss of vision
- loss of hearing/ringing in your ears
- facial flushing
- stomach upset /abdominal pain
- nasal congestion
But what about these look-a-like drugs? Would they have the same side effects? I don't know because I don't believe they have been tested as much (or at all).
As you read this list – or as I call it “The Wall of Shame” – notice the little “dance” that goes on between the supplement companies and the FDA:
- FDA sends a “gotcha” a letter to the company
- Company “voluntarily recalls” the supplement
Also, ask yourself this question: If these substances really do act like Viagra and company, why can't the FDA stop this?
What you are about to read is what I have discovered so far.
I compiled this list from the actual FDA files.
As I turn up more supplements I will add them to this list.
March 4 2022
The FDA advises people to avoid using a supplement called Wonderful Honey because it was found to contain the active ingredient in Viagra, called sildenafil.
June 6 2011
Global Wellness LLC is forced by the FDA to issue a nationwide “voluntary” recall of their sexual enhancement supplement Via Xtreme Ultimate Sexual Enhancer for Men after the FDA found sulfoaildenafil methanesulfonate, sulfosildenafil and dimethylsildenafil -which are all chemically similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra.
Here is the FDA alert on the voluntary recall of Via Xtreme
May 29 2011
The FDA warns men to not take ViaXtreme after it was found to contain sulfoaildenafil which is chemically similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra.
Here is the FDA public notification about VitaXtreme.
May 13 2011
The FDA warns men to be cautious of a counterfeit ExTenze male enhancement supplement. The counterfeit ExTenze contains both tadalafil and sildenafil -the active ingredients in both Viagra AND Cialis.
Here is the FDA warning letter on counterfeit Extenze
March 29 2011
FDA determines that X-Hero is found to contain sulfosildenafil which is a look alike chemical similar to the active ingredient in Viagra. The supplement called Male Enhancer has been found to contain tadalafil – the FDA-approved drug better known as Cialis. Both products are made by USA Far Ocean Group.
Here is the voluntary recall notice of X Hero and Male Enhancer
February 23 2011. The FDA notified Biotab Neutraceuticals, maker of Extenze male enhancement supplements that two lots of Extenz have been found to contain sibutramine, a weight-loss drug, pulled from the US market for safety reasons in 2010 and tadalafil, the active ingredient in Cialis – the prescription drug for erectile dysfunction
January 18 2011. Kanec USA Inc issues a “voluntary” national recall of their male enhancement supplements Nite Rider Maximum Sexual Enhancer for Men and STUD Capsules for Men because the FDA found they contained Sildenafil, the active ingredients in Viagra
December 30 2010. The FDA issues a public notice advising consumers not to use the supplements Rock Hard Extreme or Passion Coffee. Both products were found to contain Sulfaildenafil, which is similar to the active ingredient in Viagra.
Here is the FDA notification for Rock Hard and Passion Coffee
December 22 2010. RockHard Labs issues a voluntary national recall of their male enhancement supplements, RockHard Weekend and Pandora. This comes after an independent laboratory found that certain lots of each supplement contained a compound similar to the active ingredient in Viagra.
Here is the FDA press release on RockHard and Pandora
December 15 2010. The FDA issues a news release to warn consumers not to avoid the herbal erection supplement Man Up Now, made by Synergy Distribution LLC. When the FDA analyzed Man Up Now they discovered it compound called sulfoaildenafil which is chemically similar to the active ingredient in Viagra. As such, the chemical may cause significant drops in blood pressure in those who take medications for heart disease or high blood pressure.
Here is the FDA news release for Man Up Now
November 19 2010. The FDA warns the public that Vigor-25, marketed by Piston Corporation. Vigor -25 is sold as a male enhancement supplement that contains sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. The FDA is reporting the death of a 26-year-old man who used Vigor-25 to see if it had any relationship to his death.
Here is the FDA safety alert on Vigor-25
August 25 2010. The FDA warns consumers to not use the dietary supplement TimeOut after it was found to contain a compound called that is called hydroxythiohomosildenafil which is chemically similar to the active ingredient in Viagra.
August 18 2010. Glow Industries, Inc., of Perrysburg, OH issues a nationwide voluntary recall of several lots of their erectile dysfunction supplement Mr. Magic Male Enhancer from Don Wands. This recall comes after the FDA sent them a letter that Mr. Magic contained Hydroxythiohomosildenafil and Sulfoaildenafil, analogs of Sildenafil the active ingredient in Viagra. This makes Mr. Magic an “unapproved new drug”.
August 2010 Novacare LLC announces that it is issuing a nationwide voluntary recall of several male enhancement supplements after the FDA informed the company that several products appeared to contain sulfoaildenafil, which is chemically similar to the active ingredient in Viagra. The products mentioned include Stiff Nights, Aziffa, Size Matters, Erex, Mojo, Hard Drive, Eyeful, Red Magic, Straight Up, Zotrex, Monster Excyte, WOW, Xaitrex, Verect, Prolatis, Xytamax, Maxyte, Libidinal, OMG, OMG45, and Zilex (with Golden Spear).
July 2010. Good Health Inc. issues a national recall of some batches of its erectile dysfunction supplement Vialipro after the FDA notifies the company that it had detected Sulfoaildenafil, in some of its supplements. Sulfoaildenafil a compound similar to the active ingredient in Viagra.
June 2010. The FDA issues a warning letter to Atlas Operations Inc after an inspection revealed that several natural male enhancement supplements were found to contain sulfoaildenafil, a compound similar to the active ingredient in Viagra. The products mentioned in the letter include:
Rock Hard Weekend, STAMIN IT, Finally On DEMAND, STAMINIL and VIERECT
The active ingredient behind these products was listed as a proprietary blend called Aspire One however this blend was found to contain sulfoaildenafi.
Here is the FDA warning letter
April 2010 Atlas Operations expands its December 2009 list of recalled male sexual enhancement supplements after being notified by the FDA that other supplements contained Sulfoaildenafil.
December 2009. Atlas Operations Inc issues a nationwide recall of its several of its male enhancement supplements after the FDA notified the company that various batches were found to contain Sulfoaildenafil. Some of these supplements include: Aspire One, Sex Enhancer, Staminil, Sexual Surge, Love Fuel, Vaxitrol and Erexxx
Here is the full list of recalled supplements
November 2009. The FDA issues a news release that the male enhancement supplement Stiff Nights was found to contain sulfoaildenafil, a chemical similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra.
July 2009. Nature & Health Company (also known as Opteron 1 Inc.) issues a voluntary recall of their male enhancement supplements after the FDA informed them that their products contained either tadalafil, the active ingredient in Cialas, or aminotadalafil, a compound that “looks like” tadalafil or sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. The products in the voluntary recall were:
LibieXtreme, Y-4ever, Libimax X Liquid, Powermania Liquid and Capsule and Herbal Disiac
February 2009. The FDA releases a Consumer Health Information review of several dietary supplements sold since 2004 to treat erectile dysfunction. Many of the supplements were found to contain either the active ingredients in Viagra or levitra.
May 2008. Palo Alto Labs, makers of the male enhancement supplements called Aspire 36 and Aspire Lite issued a nationwide recall after the FDA informs them that these products were found to contain trace amounts of Aildenafil, a PDE 5 inhibitor as well as sulfoaildenafil which is similar in chemical structure to Sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra).
December 2007. The FDA warns the public not to use the supplements called Super Shangai, Strong Testis, Shangai Ultra, Shangai Ultra X, Lady Shangai, and Shangai Regular. These products, which were made in China were found to contain sildenafil – the active ingredient in Viagra.
Mach 2007. Cosmos Trading Inc issues a national recall of its product Rhino Max after being notified by the FDA that the supplement contained aminotadalafil, a compound that is similar in chemical structure to tadalfil, the active ingredient in Cialis
Phil Castellano says
When taking synthetic medicine we cannot really guarantee that there will never be side effects. To help you cure your erectile dysfunction, yes, viagra is the best shot. The problem is that you don’t know what the side effect will make you. Natural viagra, as they say, is much more recommended.
Hi Dr. Castallano, while I would agree, that any medication can potentially have side effects, I dont know if I would call viagra a “cure” for erectile dysfunction. Yes, Viagra can temporary help erectile dysfunction but it does not cure the underlying issue, which you know can be caused by several factors – even heart disease.
As I understand this complex issue, the only potential cure for ED is maybe weight loss and regular exercise to boost testosterone levels and a plant-based eating program to maybe help remove plaque in the small blood vessels of the penis.
When you say “natural viagra” can you give an example of what you mean by this? While marketers may elude to various supplements as natural alternatives to viagra, I don’t see them as effective as Viagra. The proof of this, is all the supplements found adulterated with viagra such as some of the products I listed here.
Phil Castellano says
Thank you for completely help me understand its pros and cons Joe of Ed on your own understanding. By means of natural viagra, it is what we know like tongkat ali, Schisandra, Tribulus terrestris, Ginseng, Epimedium, and etc. Don’t worry Joe you’ve done a good job on explaining the important parts of erectile dysfunction.
Thanks Dr. Castallano.
Phil Castellano says
Your very much welcome Joe
The comments here should only refer to “supplements” containing similar compounds to Sildenafil and Tedalafil. I bought a big bottle of Yohimbe and the pills give me ‘flu-like symptoms” and “chills’ when I get erect. This is not fun. My doctor gave me a prescription (last year) for Sildenafil…but I ran out before the prescription is set to renew, so I took a short trip to New York to buy a number of FDA_recalled pills (all from China). All the pills I bought contain sildenafil. I have a healthy heart and use the pills just like i would use sildenafil. They work too!
Alpha Male contains aminotadalafil, sulfosildenafil, sulfoaildenafil, hydroxythiohomosildenafil, dimethylsildenafil, and sildenafil. Aminotadalafil is an analogue of tadalafil, the active ingredient in Cialis, an FDA approved prescription drug for Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Sulfosildenafil, sulfoaildenafil, hydroxythiohomosildenafil, and dimethylsildenafil are structurally similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, an FDA approved prescription drug for Erectile Dysfunction (ED).
Would it hurt for someone with no health problems to take this supplement.? Or would it hurt from continual use.? Should it be something that nobody should use.?
Hi JD, That’s a good question and I’m not sure of the answer. On one end, in a “healthy” person, my hunch is that someone might have the same side effects as if they took the actual drug. That is if the compound actually worked like the prescription med. We also have to consider if these look-a-like molecules act the same way as their prescription counterparts or not. Without research on them I don’t know.
There is some evidence that long term use of Viagra might damage vision. Might the same be true for these look-a-like medications? Again, I just don’t know.
The book How Not Do Die, discusses ED and how in some people it can be reversed with diet. This is a worthwhile read for those with ED and many other health issues.
R Calling says
Joe, 43 YO male. with slight high blood pressure issues. Take 10MG lisinopril everyday and noticing a decrease in sex drive. Any natural supplements you can think without the issues above?
R Calling, Ive looked at several male enhancement supplements here is a link to all of them https://supplementclarity.com/category/mens-supplements/
They are mostly the same stuff in different bottles. most contain things like fenugreek or tribulus neither of which I have any faith in
here is my review of tribulus https://supplementclarity.com/tribulus-terrestris-review-testosterone/
Its possible some high blood pressure drugs may have ED as a side effect. I did find this study of lisinopril from 1998 that noted the effects may be temporary http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9799042
Do you have any excess weight to lose? if yes then this may make ED worse and losing weight may help it. Ive also heard good things about yoga helping ED. Are you doing any type of exercise? if not, I believe exercise can help ED also.
Some ED supplements contain yohimbie which I do not recommend as it can raise blood pressure. Always check at the labels of supplements to know what they contain.
Also, talk to your doctor about this. Maybe there is something else that helps your blood pressure that doesn’t have the decreased sex drive side effect.
harold richie says
hi joe. viagra could not be patented because the active chemical was a natural substance,in herbs.
Harold, Pfizer holds the patent on Viagra. According to this article from Reuters, the patent expires in 2020
Fletcher Derrick says
Hi Joe and others: As a Urologist I have prescribed Yohimbine for years to enhance erection and most of my men say it enhances the orgasm. Having said that, I always warn them of the side effects such as heart rate increase, general nervousness and that feeling like they have had too much coffee.
ON the other hand, some get no effect whatsoever. The prescription drug is far better than anything from the health food store. I would be wary of OTC products with Yohimbine extract. F Derrick
Fletcher, I’d agree with being cautious of OTC Yohimbine products. Ive noticed it also sometimes shows up in weight loss supplements too.
Just a personal experience on yohimbe since it’s being discussed in these comments:
18 years old, get vial of yohimbe extract (not part of a branded supplement) from GNC, take probably a double dose vs. the maximum on the label. Heart beating like crazy, pretty strong stimulant effects (all the bad ones). Adrenaline pumping — which caused the exact opposite effect on the penis than you want when you take yohimbe.
However, once I started getting to business with my gf, i had an erection like never before or after. I’m circumcised, and there was literally no skin left to contain it, and I got a tear in my skin.
Bottom line for me: yohimbe works in young healthy men (who don’t need it anyways), but has strong, unpleasant stimulant side-effects at the high dose I took.
Cool site, and much needed with all the supplement BS. “‘Dietary’ ‘supplements'” really are the geekiest thing to be a geek about…
J, thanks for the feedback and kind words. I do recommend you not use Yohimbe though. At 18 you are already running on all 8 cylinders and will keep so for a long time. Even in somebody who is 18, Yohimbe might cause heart problems. I’m sure your girlfriend does not want that to happen.
Steven Williams says
I’m 41 n was in a motorcycle(crouch-rocket) accident in 98. When I could buy yohimbe from gnc it worked nice. For the last 8 years I have not been able to find that real yohimbe. Any ideas where to find it?
Hi Steven, is it still at GNC? Have you checked vitamin shoppe?
Anyone had experience with TriMix; safty, right dose, effectiveness, etc….
John, I have never heard of it whats in it?
FWIW, I took prescription yohimbe known as yohimbine hcl for 10 years as per my urologist. It definitely increased not only my physical arousal level but also my interest in sex. However, there are potential risks as with any medication. I experienced rapid and occasionally irregular heart rate, but no liver or kidney issues. In this respect, I think it is important to distinguish between the refined pharmaceutical yohimbine hcl vs. OTC yohimbe. Because of the nature of the possible side effects, I would not encourage someone to dabble with the health store varieties as potency may be an issue. For example, prescription yohimbine hcl is usually taken in 5.4 mg doses though the OTC product can come in 1000 mg capsules although the strength or percentage of pure form yohimbe can vary considerably. I would not know how to compare the two for safety sake and would therefore avoid the OTC stuff.
Darryl, that’s a good point to make thanks for mentioning that. I can also attest that yohimbe can increase your heart rate. That also happened to me a few years ago when I experimented with it. I also noticed if I took more than 1 Yohimbe capsule I would get cold sweats also. yohimbe is not something to mess around with in anybody who is not “healthy” and even healthy people might experience issues.
I actually covered Yohimbe in my book Nutritional Supplements. I do plan on reviewing yohimbe here at some point in the near future also so stay tuned 🙂
JOHNNY EDWARDS says
I was introduced some time ago to a herb called Yohimbe. I was told it was great for increasing stamina in the gym and in the bedroom as well. I took it for several months and found the advice was true. I have since read where Yohimbe is considered toxic and should not be ingested AT ALL!! due to possible liver and kidney damage as well as low blood pressure. Can you shed some truth on this? Thanks.