What’s the Best Over-the-Counter Substitute for Viagra?

There are countless "erection boosters" on the market. Here's the most effective.

What’s the Best Over-the-Counter Substitute for Viagra?

There are countless "erection boosters" on the market. Here's the most effective.

If you’re looking for extra help in the erectile department and don’t have a prescription for a certain trusty blue pill, there are several viable options you can pursue. “If you have situational, or what I call ‘episodic,’ aspects related to sexual dysfunction, [over-the-counter solutions] may be effective,” says Ajay Nehra, MD, the director of men’s health at Mass General’s department of urology. And while there are countless OTC products marketed as erection boosters—such as ginseng and l-arginine—there’s one that immediately leaps to Nehra’s mind as truly safe and effective: a Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplement.

DHEA is a hormone produced naturally in both the adrenal gland and in the brain that is tied to your sex hormones. The substance has “vasodilator qualities,” which means that it plays a key role in increasing blood flow—and you know what that means. However, once you hit your 30s your DHEA levels—just like your testosterone levels and your human growth hormone levels—start to decline. But popping a few pills of Natrol on relatively short notice will give your vascular flow a nice boost and you’ll be standing at attention in no time.

But here’s one big warning to be aware of, says Nehra: “Don’t use it in combination.” If you mix OTC erection boosters, “you can affect your blood pressure, and [these] adverse effects can get amplified.”

If you’re looking for more than a night of steamy passion, and “if you have moderate to severe erectile dysfunction, chances are, [over-the-counter solutions] may not work,” says Nehra. The best solution for that is a remedy rubber-stamped by every doctor in the country: adopt a healthy lifestyle. A leaner diet will improve your blood flow, while exercise will boost your testosterone, and both work wonders for harder erections.

Or you could spring for the Viagra.

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