Lightning ROD. Bullet Proof. Zoom-Zooma-Zoom. Since 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings for these and 24 additional sexual-enhancement supplements that are secretly laced with dangerous drugs. If you're among the more than 33 million North American guys looking for an erectile-dysfunction fix, don't believe the hype that these pills are "all natural" or safe.
Under a microscope, some of these chemicals look similar to the active ingredients in FDA-approved ED drugs like Viagra and Cialis. But lab studies show they're not just unapproved, bargain-basement substitutes - some contain chemicals that haven't been evaluated for safety. The manufacturers also don't tell you if there's a risk for drug interactions with any other medications you may be taking. For example, some of them may trigger life-threatening problems like a big drop in blood pressure.
We want you to get back into the game SAFELY and EFFECTIVELY, so try our eight natural strategies proven to improve your "zoom."
No. 1: Have a heart-to-heart with your doctor. Finding out what's behind your ED will help you find the best fix - and save your life. Often, ED is a sign of heart disease. The connection? When the cells that line your blood vessels are damaged - by high blood pressure, high blood sugar, inflammation or unmanaged stress - they lose their flexibility and become narrow and stiff. When blood flow is restricted it more than doubles your odds for heart disease and ED.
No. 2: Ask about blood sugar. Up to 70 percent of men with type 2 diabetes report sexual-performance problems. The culprits are nerve and artery damage. Keep your blood sugar in the healthy zone by avoiding foods with added sugars, added syrups or any grain that isn't 100 percent whole. They can prevent healthy erectile function.
No. 3: Be honest about emotions. For 10 to 20 percent of men, sexual vigor is reduced by stress, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. The biggest and most powerful sexual organ you possess is (no, it's not that!) your brain. Happiness is sexy.
No. 4: Lose the elastic waist pants. Dropping just 5 percent of your body weight (10 pounds in eight weeks if you're at 200 pounds) could improve your love life significantly. Double that weight loss and you're 30 percent more likely to see ED problems vanish.
No. 5: Brush and floss. Severe gum disease doubles your risk for ED. The link? Could be the body-wide effects of chronic inflammation (and related cardiovascular problems) fueled by mouth trouble. Brush and floss daily and see your dental professional regularly. You'll have a new reason to smile.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.