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ExtenZe Review: Is OTC Male Enhancement Possible?

ExtenZe Review: Is OTC Male Enhancement Possible?

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Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s), and is presented for informational purposes only. We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to sexual wellness.

ExtenZe is the most popular male enhancement supplement in the world, having sold over 1 billion pills. It’s manufactured by a company called Leading Edge Health. The brand claims their product enhances male sexual function across a variety of categories, including improved erections and higher libido.

In this article we’ll review the ingredients in ExtenZe based on published medical research to determine if it’s likely to be safe and effective.

No Published Supplement Facts Label

ExtenZe shares the active ingredients in their formulation on their website, but they fail to publish a Supplement Facts label.

Without a Supplement Facts label, consumers don’t have any information about the dosage of each ingredient, or any inactive ingredients in the formulation that they may be allergic to.

As an example of why this information is so critical, consider a hypothetical supplement that advertises a formulation containing caffeine. If their website simply states “our product includes caffeine,” the supplement could contain 1 milligram (which would be an ineffective dose), 150 milligrams (which would be an effective dose) or 1,000 milligrams (which would be an unsafe dose). Ingredients alone without dosage don’t provide adequate information for consumers to make informed choices.

We believe that all supplement companies should publish a Supplement Facts label because it’s important for consumer safety. 

Ingredient Review

ExtenZe has 15 active ingredients according to their website. 

Horny goat weed is one of their botanical ingredients. Some early medical research suggests this plant may improve testosterone and libido, as we discussed at length in our horny goat weed benefits article, but there isn’t enough research to say this ingredient is conclusively effective.

ExtenZe also contains maca, which is proven to enhance sexual desire in men. The linked clinical trial found that 8 to 12 weeks of maca supplementation improved libido in healthy adult men. This supplement contains raw maca, but we typically recommend gelatinized maca because maca is indigestible. It comes from a similar genus of plants as the potato. Raw maca can upset the stomach and cause indigestion.

Tribulus Terrestris is another botanical ingredient in this formulation, and ExtenZe claims it “increases levels of testosterone.” A medical review published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements concluded that “Evidence to date suggests that Tribulus Terrestris is ineffective for increasing testosterone levels in humans.”

ExtenZe claims that yohimbe extract improves erectile function in men, and this claim appears accurate at least based on one medical trial. The linked study found that yohimbe extract supplementation improved erectile function on average in a sexually impotent patient population.

The formulation includes three vitamins and minerals: niacin, folic acid and zinc. While these compounds may improve sexual function in men with deficiencies or health problems, we can’t locate any medical research that taking vitamins or minerals imrpoves sexual wellness in men who aren’t deficient in those vitamins or minerals.

ExtenZe notes that niacin is effective for improving erectile function in men with high cholesterol, and this does appear to be true, at least based on one study. The linked medical trial found that men with high cholesterol had their erectile function scores nearly double when supplementing niacin at a dose of 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day.

Velvet bean extract has been shown to improve sperm quality in clinical trials, as evidenced in a medical review of plants for sexual performance. We can’t find any human trials proving it enhances libido as ExtenZe claims.

One animal study demonstrated that Cnidium Monnieri improved sex drive, but we can’t find any studies proving this in humans.

We’ve found less research backing the efficacy of the final 6 ingredients.

Overall it’s clear that there are some effective ingredients in this formulation for enhancing sexual function, semen parameters and libido.

However, without knowing the dose of any of the ingredients, it’s impossible to assess their safety and efficacy.

FDA Warning Letter

In August of 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. published a Warning Letter notifying the public that ExtenZe contained a hidden ingredient at the time.

The hidden ingredient was identified as sildenafil, the active ingredient in prescription erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra and Bluechew.

This is a clear violation of consumer safety, and an ethical red flag. We would recommend that consumers avoid this brand entirely given this information.

Better Alternatives

As documented in the ingredient review section, maca is proven to increase libido even in young and healthy men. It’s a whole food with nutritive benefits outside of its sexually-enhancing properties, and we believe it’s a safer alternative to ExtenZe.

Gelatinized maca will be easier to digest than raw maca. A brand named Navitas Naturals sells gelatinized maca online and at various retail stores. This food must be consumed daily for at least 8 weeks for there to be an effect, based on the linked clinical trial.

The amino acid l-citrulline has been shown in medical research to improve erection quality, because it’s a nitric oxide precursor which dilates and relaxes blood vessels.

We recommend 10 grams (g) of l-citrulline on an empty stomach to maximize absorption, as this appears to be the maximally-effective dose based on studies. If purchased as a powder, this supplement should be mixed in water and consumed with a straw, as it’s relatively acidic and could damage teeth enamel, much like Vitamin C.

Questionable Filler Ingredients

ExtenZe doesn’t appear to publish any inactive ingredients on their website, but the Walgreens product listing contains both active and inactive ingredient lists.

Titanium dioxide is an included ingredient, and this compound has been banned in the European Union over toxicity concerns.

ExtenZe also contains FD&C Blue #1 which is an artificial food dye with medically-documented side effects.

Talc, short for talcum powder, is also included as an inactive ingredient and we don’t believe this compound should be ingested.

Overall we find there to be too many questionable filler ingredients in this supplement.

No Public Team

There is no team page on ExtenZe’s site. This is a sign of a low-quality brand in our opinion. If the founders of the company and the formulators of the supplement don’t even want to be associated with the brand, you have to ask yourself as a consumer if it’s a product you really want to be taking.

This is a trend we’ve noted across all of our reviews. We recently analyzed another supplement brand without a team page in our is exipure a scam article, and believe strongly that companies without a public team on their website aren’t to be trusted.

ExtenZe Pros and Cons

It may be challenging to provide “pros” for a brand found by the FDA to be adulterating their supplements, but this section is intended as a quick overview for readers who may not be interested in reading all of the research.


  • Mainly safe botanical ingredients 
  • Relatively cheap when purchased in bulk


  • Added a hidden ingredient in their formulation
  • No ingredient dosage listed on website
  • No public team
  • Expensive to purchase one single bottle
  • Lacking customer reviews

ExtenZe FAQ

Does ExtenZe work?

While some of the active ingredients are likely effective, there have been no medical trials proving ExtenZe works. There is no ingredient dosage published on ExtenZe’s website, so it’s impossible to determine whether the pills are likely to be effective.

Is ExtenZe Plus better?

We would recommend against using ExtenZe Plus, because the FDA found it to have a hidden ingredient in 2018.

Even if the formulation has changed since then, we recommend avoiding products that have been found to have been adulterated in the past.

Can you take ExtenZe on an empty stomach?

There are no published directions on ExtenZe’s website indicating that the supplement must only be taken with food, so we would assume it’s safe to take on an empty stomach. Since it’s primarily an herbal supplement, it shouldn’t matter whether it’s taken with food or not.

How long does it take for ExtenZe to work?

There’s no data on how long it takes for ExtenZe to be effective, as there’s no data proving ExtenZe is effective at all.

The company’s website states that maximum results are seen after 8 weeks of daily use.

Ageless Male or ExtenZe?

Ageless Male is another popular male enhancement supplement, so readers frequently ask which product is superior.

While we don’t recommend either product, we believe Ageless Male is a better brand than ExtenZe because they haven’t received any FDA Warning Letters.

Is ExtenZe Liquid effective?

We would recommend avoiding ExtenZe Liquid. It contains ingredients like artificial flavorings, citric acid and sucralose which we believe to be non-ideal for human health. It also contains an ingredient called “foam control agent” without a description of exactly what chemicals that includes. That doesn’t sound to us like an ingredient you’d want to consume.

Does ExtenZe work like Viagra?

Viagra is a prescription medication, meaning it’s gone through rigorous medical trials proving its safety and efficacy.

ExtenZe is a dietary supplement, which requires zero medical proof of safety and efficacy. Thus we would conclude that Viagra is safer and more likely to be effective. There is extensive medical data proving that Viagra works (on average – it won’t work for every patient).

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


We believe that ExtenZe is a low-quality brand, and we would recommend avoiding all of their male enhancement supplements.

While their formulations do contain some ingredients which may be effective in isolation, ExtenZe fails to publish the dose of those ingredients on their website.

We believe that gelatinized maca root and/or l-citrulline supplementation at a dose of 10 grams are better options for research-backed male enhancement supplements than ExtenZe.

We hope that in the future ExtenZe publishes ingredient dosages on their website, and we’re surprised that major retailers like Walgreens still stock this product given the FDA Warning Letters they’ve received.

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