Better-Sex Supplements Slammed
Deceptive Advertising Complaint Issued Against Erection Products
16 Ingredients, but No Go continued...
The only exception: Some ginseng products contain large amounts of a specially processed form of ginseng which has been shown -- in two studies from South Korea -- to help one in four men with erectile dysfunction, Schardt says.
"But that's not the type of ginseng found in Enzyte," he tells WebMD. "There's no evidence that any ingredient -- singly or in combination, in amounts found in Enzyte -- have the effect the company claims."
Placebo effect is very instrumental in these pills, Mydlo tells WebMD. "People believe that they work, so they might work a little for a little while. But true scientific studies have been done with Levitra, Viagra, Cialis, and they are FDA approved. They are medications that have been shown to work better than a placebo."
Better Business Bureau, Ohio Attorney General Investigations
CSPI also looked at Enzyte's past advertising claims. "The company's original claim was that Enzyte would add 3 inches to a man's penis," says Schardt. "That claim was challenged by the Better Business Bureau, which investigated and hammered them for having no evidence. That claim was dropped from the advertising."
However, the company's current ads continue to imply that Enzyte increases a man's size, Schardt tells WebMD. "In one TV ad, a guy puts down his bowling shoes, and they're huge, people are gasping. But the only actual claim they make is for improved erections."
The FTC's lax attitude about regulating the products is likely because "they are not causing any harm," says Schardt. "However, a lot of people are wasting their money, and are having a difficult time getting their money back. Enzyte has a very poor track record giving money back on their guarantees. There are thousands of complaints with the Ohio State Attorney General's Office. There are two class-action suits against them for nonrefunded money. There's even a web site devoted to complaints from Enzyte customers."
The Company Responds
WebMD tried to contact Berkeley Nutritionals for comment, but received only an emailed statement:
"Berkeley stands behind its Enzyte formulas. Medical professionals have established a correlation between reduced cardiovascular function and reduced erectile function... There is substantial data that shows that ginkgo biloba assists with circulatory problems. Further, indications that Korean red ginseng may be beneficial in improving the quality of male erections comes from traditional use, in vitro, and animal experiences, as well as a few clinical trials. Finally, Berkeley strongly promotes that its products -- including Enzyte -- work best in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle and many of our customers report this to be the case of Enzyte."
"That's how these companies operate," Schardt tells WebMD. "They take a study conducted in entirely different conditions and claim it has the same effect on the body.
"The FDA and the FTC have been lax when it comes to policing these so-called sex supplements," he says. "Until they act, consumers are best advised to drag any unsolicited emails ... from the inbox to the trash."