It’s no surprise that Enzyte’s “natural male enhancement” supplement—with its late-night TV ads aimed at the male psyche—would feature this amino acid. L-arginine is a natural precursor to nitric oxide, the potent vasodilator that puts the erect in erection. But while consistent natural NO levels are linked to tumescence, the body seems to simply adjust to an artificial boost.
- Horny Goat Weed
The hardy Asian plants of the genus Epimedium produce icariin, a flavonoid that inhibits expression of the PDE5 family of enzymes. So what, you say? Well, PDE5 prevents erections. (Stifling PDE5 is Viagra’s reason for being.) A study at Zhejiang Traditional Chinese Medicine University claimed that icariin also increases short-term production of nitric oxide.
In men, low zinc intake correlates with low testosterone and low semen output. But if you have normal Zn levels, binging on it can lead to reduced immune function.
- Tribulus terrestris
No, it’s not the juice of a Star Trek furry; it’s a weedy flowering plant. Studies have indicated that protodioscin, a steroidal saponin in its fruit, stimulates production of male hormones and nitric oxide; at least one other study shows that it doesn’t. The real trouble with Tribulus is that overuse has been linked to kidney and liver poisoning.
- Korean Red Ginseng
Traditional Chinese medicine claims that Asian ginseng promotes masculine life force. Traditional Western medicine shows that steroidlike components called ginsenosides promote production of nitric oxide, the erection’s “life force.” A 2007 Brazilian study asserted that this ginseng raised rigidity and penetration scores. (Yes, there’s a five-step protocol for gauging erections.) But don’t get too cocksure: A Korean study threw cold water on those findings.
- Avena Sativa Extract
Wilford Brimley was right: Eat your Avena sativa (aka oatmeal). Multiple studies have shown that whole grains like oatmeal can lower blood pressure, which might make more blood available to the penis.
Enzyte provides 200 percent of your FDA daily recommended intake of copper. Clinical copper deficiency is uncommon in humans, but it can cause a decrease in nitric oxide. Still, since too much Cu is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease as well as related erectile dysfunction, if you’re adamant about wanting to use copper to raise your flag, instead of Enzyte you should put a ring on it.