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August 16, 2010

Researchers have found that men who take Enzyte, a popular dietary supplement sold for male enhancement, are placing themselves at risk for dangerous and potentially fatal heart arrhythmia.

For the study, researchers performed an electrocardiogram (EKG) at one, three and five hours after administering healthy young men either a placebo or Enzyte.

Results showed that study participants given Enzyte had a prolonged QT interval, a measurement of time in the heart’s electrical cycle. A prolonged QT interval is a risk factor for arrhythmia and sudden death.

"Enzyte appears to have some of the properties of some of the most powerful heart rhythm controlling medications that we give by prescription," study author Dr. Brian F. McBride told Reuters.

The study entitled “Effect of Enzyte on QT and QTc Intervals” appears in the August 9, 2010 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

According to Vianda, the maker of Enzyte, the product is the #1 selling supplement for male enhancement with five million men worldwide using the product to achieve stronger, firmer, easier to achieve erections. Because erectile dysfunction is an embarrassing condition, some men take such dietary supplements as a treatment rather than seek advice from a physician and are less likely to report adverse effects encountered with these products.

"This creates a relatively anonymous patient population at an elevated risk for drug-induced sudden death," study authors said.

Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), the dietary supplement manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that a dietary supplement is safe before it is marketed. Generally, manufacturers do not need to register their products with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor get FDA approval before producing or selling dietary supplements. The FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market.

“Dietary supplements represent a distinct class of biologically active compounds which, unlike prescription and over-the-counter products, have been available to the public without regulatory oversight for nearly 15 years and are responsible for more than 13 000 adverse events annually,” study authors said.

Ingredients in Enzyte include Niacin, Zinc, Copper, Korean red ginseng root extract, Ginkgo biloba leaf standardized extract, Pine bark standardized extract, Tribulus terrestris extract, L-arginine HCI, Avena sativa extract, Horny goat weed standardized extract, Maca root, Muira puama extract, Octacosanol, Saw palmetto berry , Swedish flower pollen extract.

"Indeed, it makes no biological or medical sense to believe that any combination of supplements, vitamins or herbs can increase penile size," Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, AOL Health’s men’s health expert said in an AOL article. "There is nothing in the listed ingredients for Enzyte that is known to affect erection quality. It is a scam."

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