Can This Popular Male Enhancement Supplement Hurt Your Partner?

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This is a site for women, but we all have men in our lives we care about and we don’t want to see them hurt. I recently looked into side effects of the male enhancement supplement called ExtenZe and this is what I found.

Possible Side Effects of ExtenZe

While the supplement maker claims there are no ExtenZe side effects, logic proves this to be an impossible claim since its ingredients do have side effects and interactions on their own. Combine each of these with other herbs in the supplement and there can be a hot mess of trouble brewing, not to mention potential drug interactions.

So many sites are trying to sound authoritative in order to sell this supplement that it’s difficult to find truthful information on many of these ingredients. WebMD appears to be the most impartial source of information on these ingredients and their possible side effects, so I used that to keep bias at a minimum.

The Ingredients

The supplement’s website lists the ingredients as: folate, zinc, pregnenolone, black pepper, piper longum, ginger, yohimbe extract, Korean ginseng, xanthroparmelia scarbrosa, GABA, velvet deer antler, horny goat weed, damiana, muira puama, pumpkin, stinging nettle, astragalus, licorice extract, L-arginine hydrochloride, ho shou  wu extract, hops extract, and boron.

Now, just because an ingredient has side effects doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. There are plenty of useful ingredients in this list. Used properly and in the correct dose, many supplements may cause no side effects at all. Used together, it may become impossible to make sure each one is taken properly.

For instance, if one ingredient needs to be taken in the morning with food and others are best on an empty stomach with a full glass of water, one of them isn’t going to be taken correctly when it’s all in one capsule. There are 22 active ingredients in this supplement and there’s no way to know how carefully they were chosen.

Let’s break it down and look at the ExtenZe side effects, shall we?


Folate is one of the eight vitamins that make up the B-vitamin complex and is also known as folic acid. Folate is listed as likely safe in dosages up to 1,000mcg and most adults would not experience side effects within that limit. Side effects of folate may include poor appetite, weird taste in the mouth, insomnia, feelings of depression, over-excitement, gas, bloating, and nausea.

There is some concern that dosages over 800mcg, taken over a long period of time, may increase the risk of heart attack in those with heart disease. Men who have had angioplasty should not take this ingredient while recovering since it can cause narrowed arteries to worsen. The possibility of lung or prostate cancer is also a concern.


Zinc is a trace mineral. Zinc can cause a host of side effects, but those are seen mostly in the overuse of it. For instance, if a guy using ExtenZe were to also take ZMA before bed, he may get within range of an overdose of zinc. Users who eat a lot of poultry, beef, and fish may push into the danger zone as well. As with most things, getting too much is as problematic as getting too little.

WebMD lists zinc as likely safe when not over 40 mg and possibly safe in amounts higher than 40 mg. Side effects of zinc may include digestive upsets like indigestion, heartburn, and abdominal cramps. Lowered immune function as well as reduced taste and smell may also be experienced. A metallic taste could accompany these effects.


Pregnenolone is a pre-cursor, which means it can make all other hormones, like testosterone and estrogen. As such, a person can experience steroid-like symptoms like overstimulation, irritability, aggression, anger, anxiety, and negative mood changes. They may experience skin issues like acne and hair loss. Headaches and irregular heart rhythm are possibilities as well. Men with hormone-sensitive prostate cancers should not take pregnenolone.

Pregnenolone can convert to testosterone in the body thereby increasing the possibility of testosterone side effects such as those listed above.

Black Pepper

Black Pepper is listed as safe in amounts commonly used in the preparation of foods and might be safe in medicinal amounts. In sensitive individuals or in high amounts, black pepper can irritate the urinary and gastrointestinal tracts as well as the prostate. This ingredient may have diuretic effects which can impact the way the body absorbs or excretes several prescription medications.

Piper Longum

Piper longum is also known as Indian long pepper. It generally isn’t a problem unless you are allergic or taking medications that may interact with it. Like black pepper, this ingredient has a moderate interaction with several prescription drugs, so users should check with their physician or pharmacist before taking.


Ginger is a spice commonly used in foods. According to WebMD, users with bleeding problems might not be safe using ginger since it may prevent blood clotting. Individuals sensitive to ginger may experience diarrhea or heartburn. Doses over 5 grams can increase the likelihood of side effects.

Men taking blood thinners or medications for high blood pressure and diabetes should talk to their physician before taking ginger supplements.

Yohimbe Extract

Yohimbe is listed as possibly unsafe due to reports of seizures, heart attacks, kidney failure and rapid or irregular heartbeat. Additionally, there have been reports of severe issues that include death when yohimbe is taken at high doses.

It can cause some unpleasant side effects such as genital pain and painful urination. Users may also experience an increase in blood pressure, chest pain, elevated heart rate, tremors, problems breathing, and palpitations. Other side effects are insomnia, flushing of the skin, erect body hair, irritability, nervousness, headache, and reduced appetite.

Yohimbe should not be used at all by those taking MAOIs commonly prescribed for depression as there are major interactions. There are many moderate interactions with other prescription drugs, so it is imperative that users consult their doctors before taking any supplement containing Yohimbe.

Korean Ginseng

Korean ginseng can cause agitation, dizziness, headache, and stomach upset, with insomnia being the most common. This ingredient causes a host of potentially dangerous interactions with prescription drugs, NSAIDs, and marijuana. In fact, it even interacts with ginger, which is also an ingredient in this supplement.

Users with any kind of heart problem, schizophrenia, any kind of blood pressure issues, bleeding, clotting, or immune disorders should consult their doctor or pharmacist before taking this supplement. Additionally, there are a host of drug interactions, so it’s doubly important.

Xanthoparmelia Scarbrosa

Xanthoparmelia is a lichen that is often used to treat erectile dysfunction. However, this ingredient is marked as potentially unsafe at WebMD due to its chemicals being poisonous to healthy cells, causing them to die. There isn’t enough information on this ingredient to know side effects, cautions, or potential drug interactions.


GABA is the acronym for Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid. This ingredient can lower blood pressure. There is not enough research about this ingredient to ascertain safety in usage or even recommended dosage, though WebMD warns users should consult with their doctors if they are taking prescription medications for blood pressure.

Velvet Deer Antler

WebMD lists velvet deer antler as possibly safe, but recommends a limited duration of up to 12 weeks. There isn’t enough research to know what dosages might be safe or how this ingredient may interact with other supplements or medications.

Horny Goat Weed

Short-term use of horny goat weed may be well-tolerated by most, but it is potentially deadly for any person taking nitroglycerine since it can cause blood pressure to drop severely. Side effects of this ingredient may include dry mouth, nosebleeds, and upset stomach. Other potential side effects are low blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. There is a possibility it could interact with certain prescription medications, so it is advisable to consult with your physician or pharmacist before taking this supplement.


Damiana is commonly used as an aphrodisiac, but it has a troublesome history. Due to this, WebMD has listed it as likely safe when consumed in amounts a user would naturally get from food and only possibly safe when ingested in medicinal amounts.

As to the troublesome history, side effects reported have been quite serious and they include convulsions as well as symptoms that may resemble strychnine poisoning or rabies. People with diabetes may want to steer clear of this ingredient as it can cause blood sugar to drop. Those planning surgery should stop taking this supplement within two weeks of the scheduled date.

Muira Puama

Muira puama is also used as an aphrodisiac, however, there is not enough science to know whether it is safe in any dosage or what any side effects or interactions might be.

Pumpkin Seed

Pumpkin products are listed at WebMD as being likely safe at food amounts and possibly safe at medicinal levels, with side effects occurring only rarely. Those taking lithium should advise their doctor before taking since it may affect the amount of medication needed.

Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle is listed as possibly safe when taken orally for up to two years. Possible side effects are sweating and stomach complaints. Those taking prescription medications, as well as those with diabetes, low blood pressure, or kidney problems should talk with their doctor before taking stinging nettle.


Astragalus appears to be very safe when ingested in appropriate amounts, but those with any type of autoimmune disease (or who are taking immune-suppressing drugs) should avoid it.

Licorice Extract

Licorice is listed as likely safe in food amounts and possibly safe in medicinal amounts. Where it gets tricky is that it’s possibly unsafe in short-term large amounts or long-term smaller amounts. Taking it daily for several weeks or longer, as you would be with ExtenZe, may cause severe side effects.

Side effects may include lowered potassium levels, high blood pressure, paralysis, weakness, and even brain damage in individuals who are otherwise healthy. Those with high blood pressure, kidney or heart disease, or a high salt intake may experience these side effects at dosages as low as 5 grams per day.

Lesser side effects can include fatigue, headache, and retention of water or sodium. Licorice may act as an estrogen in the body, which can worsen some types of cancers. Additionally, licorice may worsen erectile dysfunction and lower libido. Those with heart or kidney disease, hypokalemia, or a muscle condition known as hypertonia should not take this supplement in any amount.

L-Arginine Hydrochloride

Listed as possibly safe, L-arginine is an amino acid that is one of the building blocks of protein. Despite sounding innocuous, this ingredient can cause trouble for people with conditions such as herpes, low blood pressure, asthma, allergies, or cirrhosis and should be used with caution. Side effects of arginine can be bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain. Users may also experience gout, and abnormalities of the blood.

Arginine should not be taken at all by people who have recently suffered a heart attack because it may increase the risk of death. Those with kidney disease or an inherited disease that renders them unable to convert arginine and other body chemicals to creatine should not take this ingredient.

Since arginine can interfere with blood pressure regulation both before and after surgery, anyone planning to have an operation should not take this supplement for at least two weeks prior.

Ho Shou Wu Extract

Ho shou wu is an herb otherwise known as Fo-Ti. Due to concerns that it causes liver damage in adults and children, WebMD lists this ingredient as possibly unsafe.

Fo-ti stimulates the intestines and can have a powerful laxative effect. This ingredient may cause low blood sugar in those with diabetes.

Those planning surgeries should stop taking fo-ti at least two weeks prior to the scheduled date.

Hops Extract

Commonly used in beer production, hops are listed as likely safe in food amounts and possibly safe in short-term medicinal amounts. Those with depression should not take hops in any amount. Users with impending surgeries should discontinue use within at least two weeks of the scheduled date due to hops increasing sleepiness.


Boron is a mineral that occurs in nuts as well as in the environment. It is listed as possibly unsafe since it can be poisonous in high doses. There is concern that boron in amounts over 20 mg per day may cause infertility in men. Men with kidney disease should not take boron in any amount.


Men with kidney disease, heart disease, or hormone-sensitive prostate cancer should not take ExtenZe at all. Men with diabetes may want to steer clear as well since there are several ingredients that affect blood sugar levels. Those with blood pressure issues should exercise caution and talk with their doctor or pharmacist before taking ExtenZe. Similarly, men taking prescription drugs should consult with their doctor before taking this supplement.

Like prescription drugs, it’s important to keep these out of the reach of children since at least several of the ingredients can be harmful to them.


Since ExtenZe uses proprietary blends, they don’t disclose the amounts of each ingredient. The site claims that studies done on the ingredients suggest that their supplement is well-tolerated by most men. However, a look into the ingredients themselves on a neutral medical site suggests some of these shouldn’t be taken by anyone in any amount.

My problem with this supplement isn’t that it has side effects since most things have side effects for someone. My problem is that the manufacturer claimed it was safe and well-tolerated by most. Making wild claims and not being truthful about the risks is irresponsible and dangerous.

Safety is paramount and no male enhancement is worth risking potential dangers. My aim with this article was to cut through the noise by countering the wild claims with verifiable facts. I encourage you to share this information with your male friends and loved ones, so they can make an informed decision about this potentially dangerous supplement.

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Cindi Clinton

Cindi Clinton is a full-time writer for hire, specializing in articles and blog posts that help health and wellness companies connect meaningfully with consumers. Find her writing portfolio at
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