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It’s common for sex drive to decrease with age. A number of factors go into it, like decreasing testosterone levels. However, there are still ways to boost libido and combat potential disruptions like erectile dysfunction (ED).

Some people have success with medications like Viagra, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medication with a lot of research behind it. But even medications approved by the FDA can cause side effects like headaches. You’ll also need a prescription from a doctor to access Viagra.

These factors lead some people to explore herbal supplements and over-the-counter male enhancement pills, like Virectin, that claim to improve sexual health.

Some ingredients in Virectin may aid in increasing testosterone levels. Others might even help improve prostate health and fertility. However, the supplement isn’t FDA regulated, and there’s no evidence to show that Virectin is an effective treatment for ED.

Here’s what else you need to know before you try this supposed libido enhancer.

Virectin is a product that claims to boost libido, intensify erections, and improve sexual confidence. It’s made by Gentopia Laboratories and contains 16 organic ingredients.

The manufacturer says Virectin helps you maintain an erection longer, make an erection more rigid, and boost desire and stamina in the bedroom.

The supplement also contains ingredients that are claimed to help the body boost its testosterone levels.

When it comes to ED, Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger, a board certified urologist and director of urology at New York Urology Specialists, doesn’t typically recommend supplements unless the scientific evidence shows these supplements work.

“In the case of Virectin, there is zero scientific evidence that it helps,” Shteynshlyuger says.

There aren’t any supplements that show evidence of helping erection problems.

If you have ED, it’s best to see a urologist, since ED can often be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as:

Prescription medications such as sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis) “are better options for helping [males] get good erections than supplements such as Virectin,” Shteynshlyuger says.

Another point to consider: cost, especially when it comes to effectiveness.

“Sildenafil and tadalafil now cost less than a dollar a pill, or $30 for 30 pills,” Shteynshlyuger says. “Virectin is sold on Amazon for $0.72 a pill — a bad deal overall since there is no evidence that it actually helps.”

“There is not a single component of Virectin that has been shown to be effective in the treatment of ED compared to placebo,” Shteynshlyuger says.

There’s some science suggesting that L-arginine could be beneficial, but not beneficial enough to help with health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol.

An important point Shteynshlyuger calls out is the concept of a placebo effect when it comes to treatments for ED, especially in healthy people.

“That may account for the experienced benefit that some [males] report,” Shteynshlyuger says.

Further, many ED supplements actually contain trace amounts of prescription medications, like Viagra. Such was the case for the now-recalled supplement APEXXX. This can account for the reports that supplements seem to work.

On their own, the ingredients in Virectin might have some benefit on male sexual health. One 2011 review of 11 studies of L-arginine showed it can potentially lower blood pressure, a health condition that can impair erections.

Of course, this isn’t a substitute for medical care for high blood pressure. Talk with a doctor to help manage high blood pressure.

The manufacturer recommends Virectin be taken daily, not right before a sexual experience, such as is the case with the prescription medication Viagra.

With 16 different ingredients, Virectin claims to help with getting and maintaining erections, boosting libido, and balancing out male hormones such as testosterone.

The active ingredients and their effects are:

  • Selenium. A 2019 animal study found that in combination with other supplements, selenium can raise anabolic hormone levels in rats. Anabolic hormones can increase male sex characteristics.
  • Zinc. Zinc helps produce testosterone in males. A 2009 animal study showed improved arousal and erections in rats that took zinc.
  • Avena sativa. A small 2013 study in older adults found avena sativa (oat straw) could improve blood flow.
  • Tribulus terrestris. Tribulus terrestris might be useful in treating mild to moderate ED, according to a 2008 animal study.
  • Maca root powder. According to a small 2016 review, maca root powder could potentially improve semen quality.
  • Saw palmetto. A type of palm, saw palmetto might be beneficial to prostate health, according to a 2008 study involving 92 men.
  • Damiana leaf. This plant is promoted as a sexual stimulant, but research is lacking to support this claim.
  • Cnidium monnieri. It might have some benefit on male sexual health, according to a 2015 review.
  • Ashwagandha root. Ashwagandha root may also have some effect on semen quality, suggests a 2010 study.
  • Epimedium. Also known as horny goat weed, epimedium improved erectile function in rats, according to a 2010 animal study.
  • Ginkgo biloba leaf. A 2008 study found that ginkgo biloba leaf improved nitric oxide circulation, which helps blood vessels in the penis dilate.
  • Fenugreek seed. Fenugreek seed may help improve libido and healthy testosterone levels, according to a 2011 study involving 60 males.
  • Tongkat ali. Tongkat ali might help with stress levels and overall mood, according to a 2013 study involving men and women participants.
  • Mucuna pruriens. This legume may reduce stress by increasing dopamine levels in the brain and may improve semen quality, according to a 2010 study in men with infertility.
  • L-arginine. On its own, research doesn’t show it has a significant benefit on ED. But in combination with other supplements, such as yohimbine hydrochloride, it may help with mild to moderate ED, suggests a 2010 study.
  • Niacin. Also known as vitamin B3, it can help boost brain function and converts the food you eat into energy.

While none of the active ingredients in Virectin are known to be dangerous and don’t typically cause side effects in low doses, it’s still a good idea to discuss any supplements you take with your doctor.

Some medications could potentially interact with the active ingredients of Virectin.

Since these supplements are not evaluated by the FDA, specific interactions with your body and other medications are difficult to determine.

If you’re still interested in taking this supplement, the manufacturer recommends taking it as a daily supplement on an empty stomach.

Two capsules can be effective. How well they work depends on your metabolism. So, you can adjust the dosage as needed according to how you feel.

It’s recommended not to drink alcohol with Virectin.

Stopping the supplement won’t give you any unwanted side effects, according to the manufacturer’s website, but the company does say you won’t continue to see benefits.

If you have any chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, make sure you talk with your doctor before taking Virectin.

The price depends on the number of bottles you buy.

One bottle containing 90 capsules costs $60. That’s considered the starter package for people who want to try it out. It comes with a free bottle of green tea extract.

Four bottles cost $203.98, which makes each bottle $50.99.

Five bottles is the best value package at $236.10, which makes each bottle $47.24.

There don’t appear to be any pending lawsuits against Gentopia Laboratories, the maker of Virectin.

It does state on its website, “Statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.”

There’s a 60-day, money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy with your purchase for any reason, send it back to Gentopia Laboratories within 60 days for a full refund.

According to the site, the information there is “for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice from your physician or health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you suspect you might have a health problem.”

The company offers free shipping in the United States on orders over $60.

Reviews for Virectin are mixed, but skew largely negative. On Amazon, most of the ratings are 3 stars or lower. While there are some positive reviews, most of them are old. The bulk of recent customer comments are critical.

Many Amazon reviewers, for example, say that Virectin has no effect whatsoever and call the product a waste of money. One person also says the pill causes upset stomach.

Some reviewers call out the supplement for having a placebo effect.

One user explains, “It did not meet any of my expectations and as directed, I was taking 3 tablets daily. I found no change with regards to sexual enhancement.”

Can I take Virectin if I have certain health conditions?

Since ED can develop from certain health conditions, it’s better to focus on medical treatment instead of supplements.

If you’re taking other medications, it’s very important you get clearance from your doctor before taking new supplements or medications to avoid potential negative interactions.

Can Virectin help improve my overall health?

Some ingredients in Virectin may benefit your health, such as lowering your stress levels and increasing your energy. However, the scientific evidence for these ingredients’ health effects is not well proven.

Does Virectin affect the other medications I may be taking?

It’s possible that Virectin could interact with other medications. Talk with your doctor about the medications you’re taking and whether any of the ingredients in Virectin could potentially interact with those.

It’s always better to be on the safer side.

All in all, Virectin claims to help with erections, libido, and general sexual health. However, there’s a lack of clinical evidence.

Whether benefits are due to a placebo effect or not, if you’re concerned about the possibility of ED, you’re probably better off coming up with a plan with your doctor.

Risa Kerslake is a registered nurse, freelance writer, and mom of two from the Midwest. She specializes in topics related to women’s health, mental health, oncology, postpartum, and fertility content. She enjoys collecting coffee mugs, crocheting, and attempting to write her memoir. Read more about her work at her website.