InstaHard: Hard to Believe, Easy to Laugh At

InstaHard is advertised in a stupid video as a cure for erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems. The claims are unbelievable, but they are good entertainment; they made me laugh.

Oh, no, not again! Yet another video promoting an untested mixture of dietary supplements.

I’m not looking for these stupid videos, but they keep finding me. I’m feeling persecuted. This one appeared in my email inbox with the subject line “InstaHard”. It wasn’t difficult to guess this was a male enhancement product intended to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). I wondered why they targeted me. Harriet is the name of a woman, not the name of someone likely to suffer from ED.

I have reviewed several of these stupid videos and can easily recognize the deceptive marketing pattern for a bogus product, but they are too funny to ignore. Here are some of the many things that amused me about this one:

Questionable statements

They call the speaker “a famous sexologist”. He calls himself Bill Grant and says he is a marriage counsellor. Is Bill Grant a real person? In the absence of any identifying data, I must assume he is fictitious, and that “Bill Grant” is most likely a pen name invented for marketing purposes and to conceal the identity of the speaker, a ploy that was revealed in a similar video for tinnitus. He is not seen on the video; only his voice is featured, with rapid, pressured speech that doesn’t seem natural. Why should we believe anything the speaker says? I don’t.

InstaHard is allegedly only available from one source, but it is sold on (with free shipping!) and there are 144 customer reviews on their website. 38% said it doesn’t work. Some of the reviews made me laugh: “no affects”, “waist of money”.

“New research from Ivy League University proves its effectiveness”. There is no such university, and no research has been done on the product.

“It has helped more than 12,600 men restore their sex lives and regain their manhood”. Why should I believe that? Is there any documentation other than testimonials? Who did the counting?

“I don’t think this video will be up for much longer”. Big Pharma fears it will reduce sales of their prescription ED drugs; “they could get this controversial video removed at any moment”. I don’t think so.

The penis brain

The speaker explains that your penis has a mind of its own. Some call it the penis brain. The key to keeping it working is a “secret” that has been known for centuries by people who were able to satisfy multiple women even in old age, people like French royalty, Rasputin, and Francisco Pizarro, who allegedly stole the secret from the Inca king.

The speaker claims to have done extensive research to identify male enhancement herbs used by primitive tribes and to have identified 21 rare ingredients that boost dopamine or that have been reported to improve sexual function. These include Maca root powder, Tribulus terrestris extract, horny goat weed extract, zinc oxide, and 17 other natural ingredients. He believes dopamine is the key: a lack of dopamine is responsible for ED, premature ejaculation, and all other sexual problems. Dopamine acts as a signal to link the brain in the penis to the brain in the skull. He was able to locate published studies about natural remedies that increase dopamine levels. He assumes that taking all 21 ingredients together will be optimally effective but that’s an untested hypothesis. InstaHard does more than just restore hardness: it makes the penis permanently thicker and longer. And it has many other benefits for prostate, blood sugar, etc.

Drugs like Viagra rely on the idea that improving blood flow to the penis will restore potency. He says it’s not blood flow, it’s dopamine. And yet he claims that InstaHard also improves blood flow.

He rejects Viagra and similar pharmaceuticals because they cause heart attacks, heart failure, blindness, and hearing loss. He claims his 21 natural ingredients have no side effects; but we know that anything that has effects can also have side effects, and side effects for these ingredients are easily found on the Internet. For instance, horny goat weed has been reported to cause dizziness, vomiting, dry mouth, thirst, nosebleeds, spasms, severe breathing problems, irregular heartbeats, slowed blood clotting, low blood pressure, and fainting.

He says he knew the product was working when he awakened from sleep to find his wife performing oral sex on his erect penis. He says he now consistently makes his wife bleed, but she doesn’t complain. (I think she should complain!) A testimonial from a customer says sex now hurts the wife so much that they have to use lubricant. A testimonial from a Mormon says all three of his wives are happy (isn’t polygamy illegal?). This kind of report does not strike me as good advertising for the product.

He is often politically incorrect, racist, sexist, or simply wrong. He describes something as “Harder than Chinese calculus.” And he calls an orangutan (a great ape) a “monkey”. He assumes satisfying sex can only occur with an erect penis. He should talk to some lesbians. They typically have even more satisfying sex with other women than with male partners. No penis required.

Once the product InstaHard was available, he proceeded to give it to his clients, who all loved it. That’s highly unethical. Wouldn’t that constitute practicing medicine without a license?

For that matter, doesn’t this advertising violate DSHEA rules by claiming a dietary supplement is a cure?

The most hilarious thing

He found that it was hard to get ingredients imported and to find a reliable source of pure ingredients. After obtaining the best quality ingredients he could find, he searched for a reliable manufacturer in the US who could formulate a combination product.

Now comes the funniest thing in the whole video, an unbelievable story that made me laugh out loud. The manufacturer looked at a sample of one of the herbs under a microscope and called his colleagues to look too. They all agreed that it was the purest thing they had ever seen. Wow! I don’t believe that actually happened, but I wish it were true. Wouldn’t laboratories love it if they could get rid of all their expensive high-tech equipment and assess purity by simply looking through a microscope?

Buy now!

He warns that due to recent world events, the supply chain for his source materials is failing. For the moment he can offer InstaHard at a great discount – $49 a bottle, while it’s selling on eBay for $500. (That’s a lie. I just checked eBay, where InstaHard is selling for as little as $14.) He predicts his price will soon go up to $149. And it takes up to 3 months to create a batch, so it may not always be available. And the video may be removed by Big Pharma. So you should buy now. He even offers a money back guarantee (which doesn’t include reimbursement of shipping costs).

Conclusion: Deceptive marketing with unbelievable claims and no actual evidence

The mixture of herbs in InstaHard has never been tested. Does it actually increase dopamine levels? By how much? Does that translate to curing ED and other sexual difficulties? We have no way of knowing, but until there is scientific evidence from controlled studies, I’m skeptical. I think suggestion and placebo responses are responsible for the enthusiastic testimonials…that is, if the testimonials are real comments from real people rather than just marketing fiction. I don’t think the product is effective, but the video was effective in making me laugh. Silly videos can be very entertaining if you have a sense of humor.

This article was originally published in the Science-Based Medicine Blog.

Dr. Hall is a contributing editor to both Skeptic magazine and the Skeptical Inquirer. She is a weekly contributor to the Science-Based Medicine Blog and is one of its editors. She has also contributed to Quackwatch and to a number of other respected journals and publications. She is the author of Women Aren’t Supposed to Fly: The Memoirs of a Female Flight Surgeon and co-author of the textbook, Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions.

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