Yohimbe Side Effects, Health Risks and Warnings
Yohimbe is an herbal supplement that has a long history of use in West African traditional medicine where it is used to improve sexual performance, however, Yohimbe side effects need to be considered before taking this dietary supplement.
These days, Yohimbe is sold as a dietary supplement with a wide variety of common uses that ranges from treating medical conditions like erectile dysfunction to aiding in weight loss.
The Yohimbe supplement is derived from the bark of an evergreen tree called the Pausinystalia Johimbe, that is found in western and central Africa.
It is often sold in capsule or tablet form and sold as Yohimbe bark extract or yohimbine. Yohimbine is the active ingredient in Yohimbe bark, and many believe that yohimbine works by blocking receptors in the body called alpha-2 adrenergic receptors.
Potential Dangers of Taking Yohimbe
Yohimbine bark extract is available as a prescription drug called yohimbine hydrochloride. It is popular for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, and are also readily available over the counter.
The problems with Yohimbe as a dietary supplement are inaccurate labeling of the product and its potentially serious side effects.
For these adverse effects, Yohimbe bark extract and its supplements are banned in some countries including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Reports of Inaccurate Labeling
Because dietary supplements are not strictly regulated by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), there is no guarantee products are exactly what is on the label.
Researchers examined 49 different Yohimbe supplements and discovered that 78% of them are not clearly labeled, or contain how much yohimbine was in the product.
Even the supplements that did label yohimbine content were inaccurate, as the actual amounts of yohimbine in the supplements ranged from 28% to 147% of what was listed on the label.
This is disturbing because it puts one at an increased risk of taking a higher dose of the supplement than intended, which could lead to adverse side effects.
Adverse Effects of Yohimbe
As mentioned earlier, taking the Yohimbe supplements comes with the risk of several potentially harmful side effects.
A study once reviewed all the cases reported to the California Poison Control System in regards to the adverse effects of supplements that contain yohimbine.
The most commonly reported side effects in the study included gastrointestinal distress, increased heart rate, anxiety and high blood pressure.
More serious life-threatening effects include heart attack, seizure, and acute kidney injury.
However, many of these cases resulted from products that contained several other ingredients in addition to Yohimbe. This must have led to the adverse effects.
In the event that you miss a dose, just skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, and do not use extra yohimbine to make up the missed dose.
In the event, you overdose, seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Helpline.
Symptoms of a yohimbine overdose include:
- increased blood pressure
- a severe headache,
- blurred vision, flushing
- increased heart rate
- numbness or tingling
- a runny nose
- poor coordination and
- confusion or abnormal behavior.
Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities, since yohimbine may cause dizziness.
Furthermore, use caution when rising from a sitting or lying position, as yohimbine may be more likely to cause dizziness when you change positions.
Yohimbine Side Effects
- an allergic reaction like difficulty in breathing, a closing of your throat; swelling of your lips or tongue, etc…
- irregular or fast heartbeat
- confusion or behavior that is unusual.
- anxiety, irritability, or nervousness
- tremor or shaking
- a headache or skin flushing.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others adverse effects may occur.
According to some clinical reviews, the most commonly reported Yohimbe supplement side effects include gastrointestinal distress, abnormally rapid heart rate, agitation, and elevated blood pressure.
The reviewers also noticed that the adverse side effect was significantly more serious than the average severity of negative effects reported for other supplements.
How to Reduce the Side Effects of Yohimbe
To reduce the adverse effects of Yohimbe bark extract and improve efficacy, users should take Yohimbe supplements on an empty stomach.
Only use this supplement after consulting with a doctor, and take only the minimal dose as specified.
Follow the recommended dosage to correct erectile dysfunction, or to aid in weight loss or for other reasons specified by a medical practitioner.
Higher doses of Yohimbe causes more severe side effects, and pre-existing medical conditions involving the liver, kidney, and heart may exacerbate Yohimbe side effects arising from adrenaline and noradrenaline release.
Finally, dietary restrictions are also recommended to help reduce side effects, and foods that may significantly raise blood pressure when combined with yohimbine are adviced against.
Such food includes coffee, chocolate, wine and tyramine-rich foods such as cheese, fava beans, sausages, pickled meats, and fish.