Ahh, coffee, it gives you that get up and go. But Magic Power Coffee, which promises a whole lot of get up and go, is not only possibly ineffectual, but potentially dangerous, according to the FDA. Magic Power Coffee is an instant coffee with a bit more than cream and sugar in it. The FDA says that the active ingredient in the supplement is hydroxythiohomosildenafil, a chemical which is similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. But unlike Viagra, a drug tested by the FDA and prescribed in the appropriate dose by a physician, this cuppa coffee has no such safeguards and may have serious side effects.
According to ABC News, the FDA has asked Magic Power Coffee to begin a voluntary recall, but the company declined. "The active ingredient in Magic Power Coffee is not approved by the FDA and poses a Class I danger, that is, it could result in serious harm to health and death," FDA spokesman Ira Allen told ABC. The FDA is asking consumers to stop using the Magic Coffee product immediately. The FDA says the instant coffee contains a chemical that could interact with some prescription drugs to significantly lower blood pressure, leading to dizziness or lightheadedness. At this time there have been no reports of serious injury from the coffee.
What is all the caffeinated buzz about? The coffee's purveyors promise more than a jolt from their drink, they claim it will enhance libido (and the mechanics) in both men and women. But if the active ingredient is similar to the one proven to work in Viagra, what is the problem? Dr. Karen Boyle, urologist and specialist in fertility and sexuality, told ABC a lack of ensured purity of the product, a lack of consistency in the amounts consumed and a lack of warning about potential drug interactions: all potentially unsafe conditions. The most dangerous side effect is, quite simply, death. Like the chemical in Viagra, the chemical in the Magic Coffee can interact with nitroglycerine, a medication commonly used by heart patients, causing an alarming drop in blood pressure.
"I'm appalled that the company hasn't followed the FDA's suggestion to recall," Boyle said. "They're not being honest about what's in the product, which is scary."
According to ABC, the FDA does not have the same kind of oversight on dietary supplements as it has with drugs, and they do not go through the same rigorous approval process. Just because a product is labeled "all natural," does not mean it is harmless. Dr. Boyle suggests if you are looking for a herbal enhancement, try a single ingredient such as the herb Yohimbine rather than a blend. It has not been proven to be very effective, but at least you can be sure of exactly what and how much you are getting. If not, well, there's a pill for that.