Viagra Aids Weight Loss As Well As Enhancing Sexual Performance, Study Finds

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Researchers have found that the sex drug Viagra could also be used to prevent excess weight gain.

Scientists at Germany’s University of Bonn discovered the drug converts white fat cells into beige ones and could thus potentially melt the unwelcome “spare tyre” that lurks around many a midriff.

The results of the study conducted on mice were published in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB).

viagra

Is there anything the little blue pill can't do?

It was also found the drug, which is most commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction, decreases the risk of other complications caused by obesity.

Viagra – which is also known as Sildenafil – prevents degradation of cyclic guanosine mono-phosphate (cGMP), which then ensures blood supply for an erection.

The fact mice given sildenafil over longer periods of time were resistant to obesity when fed with high-fat diet has been known for some time.

Yet the cause for this reduced weight gain had been unclear, which is where the latest research is able to shed some light.

"We have been researching the effect of cGMP on fat cells for quite some time now," reports Professor Doctor Alexander Pfeifer, Director of the Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Bonn.

fat tummy

Viagra - which is also known as Sildenafil - could potentially 'melt' the spare tyre that lurks around many a midriff

"This is why sildenafil was a potentially interesting candidate for us."

The team found that the drug converts undesirable white fat cells into beige ones

Together with the PharmaCenter of the University of Bonn, the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), and the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, the team around Professor Pfeifer studied the effect of sildenafil on fat cells in mice.

The researchers administered the potency drug to the rodents for seven days. "The effects were quite amazing," says Dr Ana Kilic, one of Professor Pfeifer's colleagues.

Sildenafil increased the conversion of white fat cells, which are found in human 'problem areas', into beige ones in the animals.

"Beige fat cells burn the energy from ingested food and convert it to heat, says Professor Pfeifer. Because the beige fat cells can "melt the fat" and thus fight obesity, researchers are hopeful for their potential.

In addition, the researchers observed that if white fat cells are further "stuffed" they increase in size and can synthesise and release hormones which in turn cause inflammation thus increasing the persons risk for chronic diseases.

Such inflammatory responses may then lead to, for example, cardio-vascular diseases resulting in heart attacks and strokes, as well as cancer and diabetes. "It seems that sildenafil prevented the fat cells in these mice from getting onto that slippery slope," reports Professor Pfeifer. Thus overall, the development of white cells seems to be healthier.

Globally, over half a billion people are overweight.

"Sildenafil is not only able to minimise erectile problems, but it can also reduce the risks of gaining excessive weight," says Professor Pfeifer.

The researchers may have found a mechanism that allows converting the undesirable white fat cells into the "good" beige (brown-like) fat cells that "melt" away excess pounds. In addition, it might be possible to decrease complications related with obesity. "But this will need to be proven in additional studies," adds Dr Kilic.

Despite this, Professor Pfeifer does warn against popping those little blue pills willy nilly just yet…

He points out all the experiments so far have been carried out on mice, and thus it could be some time before potentially suitable drugs for decreasing white fat cells in humans are available on the shelves.

Darn it...

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