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With erectile dysfunction (ED) being a common male health concern, there’s no shortage of supplements promising to help ease symptoms and promote sexual function. ExtenZe is one such supplement you may have heard of — but you may be wondering if it’s safe and effective.

Here, we break down the important information you need to know about ExtenZe, and why this may not be your best option for ED treatment.

ExtenZe is marketed as a natural supplement that’s intended to treat ED. While some of its ingredients have been shown through research to be effective in treating some common causes of ED, there’s no evidence to support that ExtenZe is effective in treating ED.

Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate “natural” supplements like ExtenZe. Without this kind of oversight, manufacturers can put anything in their supplements. This can lead to allergic reactions or unintended effects on your body.

For these reasons, we don’t recommend using ExtenZe for ED.

Pros

  • The manufacturer claims ExtenZe may be a more “natural” way to treat ED and may help increase both performance and pleasure.
  • According to the manufacturer, ExtenZe may also possibly increase sexual desire and testosterone.
  • The supplement contains vitamins B3 and B9 — which may be helpful — but only if a doctor confirms that you are deficient in these micronutrients.

Cons

  • ExtenZe is not cleared or approved by the FDA.
  • To date, there are no clinical studies that support ExtenZe as an effective ED treatment.
  • The supplement may interact with other products or medications you are taking, such as nitrates for heart health and antidepressants.
  • In 2018, the FDA advised consumers not to purchase or use ExtenZe, due to the inclusion of undeclared ingredients at the time of the investigation.
  • The manufacturer doesn’t disclose the amount of the listed ingredients.

ED happens when the penis can’t achieve or maintain an erection long or hard enough to have intercourse.

People can have ED symptoms at any age. It can result from many factors, such as medical and physiological conditions, stress, anxiety, and intimacy issues with a partner.

ED is a fairly common condition, too — affecting approximately 30 million people with penises in the United States alone. However, it has been difficult to establish exactly what causes ED because there are many factors that can influence it. ED can develop as you age, or follow changes in your hormones, life stressors, blood flow, and/or overall health.

All of these can contribute to ED symptoms.

ExtenZe claims to reduce the symptoms of ED and improve your sexual function as the ingredients make their way through your body.

But no evidence exists in favor of its function.

Here’s what some of the most trustworthy research says about ExtenZe:

  • A 2016 case study found that unregulated overuse of sildenafil, which has been found in ExtenZe and is the main ingredient in ED medications like Viagra, can lead to symptoms like seizures, memory loss, high blood sugar, and loss of nerve function.
  • A 2017 case study diagnosed a rare type of heart failure in a man who had overdosed on yohimbine, a common ingredient in ExtenZe.
  • A 2018 public notification from the FDA advised against using ExtenZe.
  • A 2019 case study found that active ingredients and hormones commonly found in ExtenZe could increase your risk of developing gynecomastia.

“There’s currently no clinical evidence to suggest that ExtenZe could help or improve erectile dysfunction, enhance sexual performance, or increase penis size,” says Jillian Kubala, a registered dietitian.

Some of the active ingredients in ExtenZe have indeed been used as natural remedies to treat ED for centuries. Though some have research to back them up, others are only supported by anecdotal evidence.

Still, some ingredients may have unwanted or dangerous side effects if you take too much.

“Even though some of the ingredients found in ExtenZe have been linked to certain sexual health benefits when taken in specific amounts, the supplement label only lists the total weight of the proprietary blends — making it impossible to determine if the product contains potentially effective doses,” Kubala says.

Here are some of the active ingredients in ExtenZe:

Niacin

Some ExtenZe products may contain niacin, also known as vitamin B3. However, the actual amount isn’t disclosed on the label. When taken as a supplement, it’s been found to help lower cholesterol, ease arthritis, and boost brain function.

The National Institutes of Health advises men over the age of 19 to consume 16 milligrams of niacin equivalents (NE) per day, which are equal to 1 mg of niacin. But that can primarily be found in foods such as:

  • grilled chicken breast
  • cooked brown rice
  • dry roasted peanuts

In a 2021 review, limited research suggested that a daily dose of 1,500 mg of niacin could possibly improve symptoms of ED. However, this dosage is extremely high and above the recommended daily amount.

Overall, this means that ExtenZe doesn’t appear to contain enough niacin for it to be effective, even if there was a clear link between niacin and erectile function.

Folate

ExtenZe also contains 400 micrograms of folate, according to Walgreens as of September 2022. Folate is the naturally occurring form of vitamin B9, an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in cell growth and the formulation of DNA.

Folate is most commonly found in foods, including:

  • asparagus
  • avocados
  • Brussels sprouts

Meanwhile, the synthetic form, folic acid, is typically found in supplements.

A small 2019 study has found that folate and folic acid may improve ED by reducing plasma homocysteine, an amino acid in your blood. However, it would be more effective to simply take a folic acid supplement.

Proprietary blends

ExtenZe contains two proprietary blends: ExtenZe Multi Active Blend (135 mg) and ExtenZe Male Enhancement Blend (221 mg).

ExtenZe does not note how much of each ingredient is in the proprietary blends.

ExtenZe Multi Active Blend

This blend includes:

  • Tribulus terrestris, a plant used as a general health supplement and as an ingredient in testosterone boosters
  • velvet bean, an established herbal drug that’s commonly used to manage male infertility, according to a 2012 review
  • D-aspartic acid, an amino acid found in the body that’s linked to testosterone production and release
  • tongkat ali, an herbal remedy often used for fevers, bacterial infections, and ED
  • gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), a naturally occurring amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter in the brain
  • yohimbe, an herbal supplement common in West African medicine to treat male infertility

ExtenZe Male Enhancement Blend

This blend contains:

  • Tribulus terrestris
  • velvet bean
  • D-aspartic acid
  • tongkat ali
  • GABA
  • maca, a plant that’s been linked to increased sexual desire, semen production, mental health, and soothing symptoms of menopause
  • L-arginine, an amino acid that was found in a small 1999 study to be generally useless against ED
  • cnidium, a commonly used plant to treat female genitals, male impotence, skin-related diseases, and more, according to a 2015 review
  • pregnenolone, a naturally occurring hormone that helps your body make testosterone and many other hormones
  • epimedium, a plant that contains icariin, which blocks the enzyme protein phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) from slowing blood flow in the penis
  • muira puama, a plant commonly used to increase interest in sexual activity
  • astragalus, an herbal supplement that promotes immune-boosting, graceful aging, and anti-inflammatory effects
  • black pepper, a kitchen staple which is high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties

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. In 2010, the company settled a legal dispute worth $6 million for falsely claiming that it could increase penis size.

There’s no evidence that ExtenZe is harmful or fatal if taken in small doses. However, based on research surrounding the active ingredients, it most likely won’t deliver on its claims.

Do not take ExtenZe if you’re taking any medications that can interact with any of its ingredients. According to the FDA, these interactions can cause dangerous side effects that may be deadly.

“Not only is ExtenZe likely ineffective for improving symptoms of ED and enhancing sexual performance, but this product has not been tested for safety,” Kubala says. “Any supplement that contains multiple herbs has the potential to interact with common medications and may cause side effects.”

She notes that one ingredient, yohimbe, has been associated with side effects including heart attacks and seizures. It can also interact with certain medications like antidepressants.

If you’re unsure whether your current medications may interact with ExtenZe, talk with your doctor.

Natural ingredients found in supplements like ExtenZe have documented side effects, including:

  • nausea
  • cramps
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • trouble sleeping
  • gastrointestinal problems like stomachaches
  • gynecomastia, or breast enlargement
  • seizures
  • lower testosterone production

No reliable evidence suggests that ExtenZe, or many related supplements, works at all. They may even have the opposite effect. Undeclared ingredients may be harmful and interact with your body and other medications.

“In general, a person should not take any supplements for ED without consulting their healthcare provider,” Kubala says. “They should consider visiting their doctor for proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.”

Other medications used to treat ED, like Viagra and Cialis, require prescriptions and have been found to be more effective than supplements like ExtenZe.

ExtenZe vs. Viagra

Viagra is a drug prescribed to treat ED. The active ingredient in Viagra is sildenafil, a PDE5 inhibitor. Viagra works by blocking the PDE5 from working, allowing for more blood flow to the penis and longer lasting erections.

Viagra comes in oral tablets. You don’t have to take it every day, just as needed before having sex. It takes about 1 hour to work. Some common side effects include:

  • headache
  • nasal congestion
  • back or muscle pain
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • flushing
  • rash
  • changes in vision
  • heartburn

It’s available in 25, 50, and 100 mg strengths. The typical dose to start at is 50 mg, but your prescription will depend on your doctor and circumstances. You can take it every day, but don’t take it more than once per day.

Viagra is FDA approved, but only under the care of a licensed medical professional.

ExtenZe vs. Cialis

Cialis (the brand name for tadalafil) is another medication used to treat ED. It’s also prescribed for benign prostatic hyperplasia and pulmonary arterial hypertension.

You can take Cialis orally either as a low-dose daily medication (2.5 or 5 mg) or a high-dose, on-demand medication (10 or 20 milligrams). Like Viagra, Cialis uses PDE5 inhibitors that bind to PDE5 enzymes to break down cyclic guanosine monophosphate molecules. This process significantly increases blood flow to these blood vessels, leading to an erection.

With on-demand dosage, take Cialis at least 30 minutes prior to sex. It may take up to 2 hours to work.

With daily dosage, take Cialis at the same time every day.

Common side effects of Cialis include:

  • headache
  • flushing
  • indigestion
  • congestion
  • back pain and muscle aches

Cialis may also interact with other medications, such as nitrates, antiseizure medications, HIV medications, and oral antifungal medications.

You can obtain Cialis through a doctor’s prescription. You can go in person, or opt for a telehealth service like Roman, Hims, or Lemonaid.

Cialis is also FDA approved.

Product namePrice range (as of September 2022)Main ingredientPrescription required?FDA approved?Frequency
ExtenZe$32-$42 for a 1-month supplyherbal blend of undisclosed amountsnonodaily
Viagraapproximately $70 per pillsildenafilyesyesas needed
Cialis$390-$958 for a 1-month supplytadalafil yesyesdaily or as needed
Generic Viagrastarting at $2 per pillsildenafilyesyesas needed
Generic Cialis$82-$240 for a 1-month supplytadalafilyesyesdaily or as needed

If you still decide to purchase ExtenZe, talk with your doctor about your medical history, any other medications or supplements you’re taking, and your symptoms. However, keep in mind that there is limited research to support ExtenZe’s effectiveness.

You can also 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.
  • Maintain a moderate weight: According to a 2005 study, losing weight may help improve ED symptoms.
  • Do more physical activity and eat a balanced diet: A 2013 review demonstrated that both of these habits can reduce ED symptoms.
  • Meditate or spend time relaxing each day: Focus on lowering 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): A 2008 study found that this can lower 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, talk with a professional.

There is a lot that isn’t known about ExtenZe, including its exact ingredient amounts, or its efficacy and safety. It’s important to talk with a doctor before trying this over-the-counter supplement for ED, especially if you have any underlying health conditions, or are currently taking other supplements or medications that it might interact with.

You may also consider talking with a doctor about your possible ED symptoms before discussing treatment. In some cases, the underlying causes of ED (such as diabetes or heart disease) may be treated first, which may also help improve sexual function.

If you do decide to try out ExtenZe, carefully monitor any changes. See a doctor right away if you experience dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, or changes to your blood pressure or heart rate.

How long does it take ExtenZe to work?

It’s not known exactly how long it will take for ExtenZe to start working. However, the manufacturer offers a 67-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t happy with the product. As a result, you could assume that any significant changes would be noticeable in 67 days or less.

What does ExtenZe do?

ExtenZe is marketed as a “natural” alternative to medications for ED. Not only does the manufacturer claim that ExtenZe improves ED symptoms by increasing blood flow to the penis, but it also claims that users may experience a bigger and longer erection. Such effects have not been proven in clinical studies.

How long does ExtenZe last?

Since the supplement may take several weeks to take full effect, the manufacturer recommends making ExtenZe a part of your daily routine. This recommendation suggests that ExtenZe may only work for as long as you regularly take it. Again, there’s a lack of scientific data backing up these claims.

What are the side effects for ExtenZe?

Like other herbal supplements, the fact that ExtenZe is marketed as “natural” doesn’t mean it’s safe. You can find a full list of ingredients on the company website, but the manufacturer doesn’t list the exact amounts, instead stating that it is a “proprietary secret.”

But while the exact side effects for ExtenZe are unknown,we do know the possible risks of some of the listed ingredients in this supplement. These include gastrointestinal side effects, headaches, sleeping problems, and breast enlargement.

ExtenZe is neither proven to work nor safe to take. We wouldn’t recommend purchasing it or using it to treat ED.

You can try many other proven options to help improve your ED symptoms instead. Make sure to talk with your doctor to receive a diagnosis prior to starting any new medications or supplements.