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Men who pop supplements to boost testosterone, rev up libido, or even prevent cancer may not be getting what they think they're getting.

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A lot of American guys use dietary supplements — an estimated 47 percent — and they're spending a ton of money on them. But these billions are going for stuff that's neither FDA-regulated nor proven to be safe or effective. Supplement makers can say whatever they want about their products as long as they don't claim to prevent, cure, or treat disease.

And a man's decision to use supplements may be motivated more by wishful thinking than by hard evidence.

Guys who are hopeful that supplements will bulk them up, maybe prevent diseaseor, more likely, boost their bedroom performance, should be especially wary of these 7 supplements. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant responsible for the deep red-orange color found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin Aa fat-soluble nutrient that protects cells from damage and that we need for eye, immune system, and skin health.

It's a great example of a nutrient that in the s and s was thoroughly investigated in animal studies, and even in some human observational studies that suggested "greater amounts of beta-carotene intake would result in a lower risk of cancer," said Howard D. However, these trials testing individual beta-carotene supplements — as well as vitamin A — offered "pretty compelling evidence that the potential benefits were not real," said Dr. Some studies even suggested an increased risk for lung cancer in people who took them, especially in men who smoke, he added.

Toxicity can result from high doses of vitamin A because the body stores rather than gets rid of excess amounts. Selenium is a trace mineral Americans usually get enough of from bre, grains, meat, poultry, and fish.

7 supplements guys should never take

It's another antioxidant that's been evaluated in high doses to see if it could protect against chronic diseases like cancer. However, "the selenium trial that was done years ago in people to prevent recurrence of skin cancer actually increased the recurrence of skin cancer," said Alan Kristal, DrPH, a faculty member in the Public Health Sciences Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Further analysis suggested a prostate cancer risk benefit, said Dr. Sesso, which helped propel the launch of the SELECT trial, the largest prostate cancer prevention study to date that tested the effects of selenium and vitamin E. Kristal, one of the study's authors. And the most recent analysis even showed increased prostate cancer risk in some men. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant found in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils that's also been studied extensively for disease prevention.

Substantial research had "suggested that vitamin E would reduce not just cancer riskbut also cardiovascular disease risk," said Dr. However, as Dr. Kristal explained, vitamin E failed to show benefits in people: "It looked good and it worked in a test tube, but it had absolutely no impact when tested in humans.

Sexual enhancer supplements review (with yohimbe, horny goat weed, arginine)

Most of the trials "found that there doesn't appear to be any obvious benefits to taking individual vitamin E supplements. But research is mixed on the vitamin's effects on prostate cancer. Still, Sesso advises that "there's no reason to take it, either. It's not because of potential risk, but just because of lack of benefit, also.

The extract from the bark of yohimbe, an evergreen tree found in western Africa, is sold over-the-counter, but its active ingredient, yohimbineis available only by prescription. Yohimbe bark supplements claim to help erectile dysfunction EDeven though "very few studies show that it's very useful," said Keith D.

According to Dr. Bloom, supplements like yohimbe aim to mimic, to some degree, what ViagraCialisand Levitra do, which is to increase blood flow, but "they just don't do it nearly as well as the prescribed medications do, they don't do it as safely, and they're unregulated," he said. Another issue is that yohimbe doesn't mix well with some commonly prescribed drugs. According to the urologist, the supplement is thought to increase blood flow in the penis, but it's never been studied in people.

Because these types of male enhancement products are not FDA-regulated, "you don't know what you're getting, you don't know how much of the supplement you're actually getting, and you don't know what other fillers are being used to formulate the supplement," Bloom cautioned. DHEA — short for dehydroepiandrosterone — is a steroid hormone that the body makes and converts into sex hormones.

The body's levels decline naturally starting at about age Some men take DHEA supplements containing a synthetic form sourced from soybeans to replace the hormone. Purported benefits include libido- and testosterone -boosting effects. DHEA supplements can present other risks.

For men still considering DHEA supplements, proceed with caution: They "should not be taken without supervision," advised Bloom. Tribulus terrestris and Tongkat ali are flowering plants that make up two of the more common ingredients found in so-called testosterone-boosting supplements.

Not much is known about either plant's effects on testosterone levels. Although Tribulus terrestris "may increase libido in animal studies…the only human studies I found showed it did not increase testosterone ," said Dr. Health Topics.

Health Tools. Men's Health. Medically Reviewed.

Drug interactions between horny goat weed and yohimbe

Selenium: Higher Prostate Cancer Risk. Kristal agrees. Yohimbe: A Flop for Erectile Dysfunction. Horny goat weed is a plant whose active ingredient, epimedium, is purported to help ED.