By Dr. Manny Alvarez -FoxNews.com
These days, anyone that labels their products as natural gets a leg up in the consumer world. Consumers by the thousands are looking for natural alternatives to traditional medicines, including the erectile dysfunction pill known as Viagra. They turn to DIY mixtures, vitamins, and herbal supplements to take its place. In the case of herbals, though, men should be careful: herbal Viagra poses huge risks for their health.
Because doctors don’t have to prescribe herbal supplements, people often mistake them as low-risk with few side effects. What they don’t realize is that herbals can have the same potency as traditional medicine.
They have highly active ingredients and can interact with other drugs. Because of their potency, they can influence health for the worse if not used correctly.
According to Dr. Landon Trust, a urologist at the Mayo Clinic, men are endangering their health by taking herbal Viagra.
Normally, a doctor would evaluate a man’s overall health to give him the right prescription with the right dosage. If he has underlying health problems, the doctor may look into other options.
When consumers turn to over-the-counter herbals, they have no way of knowing the exact effect that the herbals will have on their health. For example, drugs and supplements that help erectile dysfunction do so by relaxing the blood vessels.
However, this herbal medication doesn’t target which blood vessels relax like traditional Viagra does. This effect can lower blood pressure throughout the body, and in turn, result in less blood flow to vital organs.
For men taking blood pressure medication or suffering heart problems, this side effect could land them in the hospital——or worse.
In addition to the side effects, researchers have often found secret ingredients in herbal Viagra. In 2015, the FDA warned the public not to take the herbal supplement because researchers had actually found sildenafil in them.
Sildenafil is the active ingredient in traditional Viagra. In many cases, these supplements actually contained double the amount of sildenafil, making them extremely dangerous for men.
The list doesn’t end there. These supplements might contain high levels of stimulants that can also mess with men’s health. Combine these stimulants, impurities, and spikes with alcohol or drug use, and people have a deadly concoction on their hands.
In 2015, officials found former NBA star Lamar Odom entirely unconscious and unresponsive in his room. After a night of heavy drinking and drug use, Odom had taken as many as 10 herbal supplement pills.
The celebrity was found unconscious on a Tuesday and didn’t wake up again until that Friday. He had escaped a potentially tragic end.
While Odom had certainly overdosed on this supplement, the FDA and other health officials do not deem it safe even in small doses.
Manufacturers can come from around the world with little regulation as to the ingredients in their products. Simply put, the short-lived benefits of herbal Viagra do not outweigh the risks.
Why Do People Take It?
Despite the warnings, many people still take herbal Viagra. They may be avoiding an awkward medical conversation about their erectile dysfunction. Men may like that it’s a cheap, fast alternative to the prescription.
In many cases, people opt for the herbal medicine because they genuinely think that it’s safer or more natural. In this case, however, the herbal supplement may have fewer herbs and nature in it than the prescription itself.
When dealing with supplements, people need to treat them just like other prescription medicines. They should realize that they may be endangering themselves if they don’t talk with their doctor first. In the case of herbal Viagra, men should stay away from it. It’s just plain dangerous for their health.