Can Viagra Make You Healthier?

01/29/2013

Could there be health benefits to Viagra other than helping, um, performance?! Some athletes thinks so, and now some scientists say "maybe so," too.

A German study conducted by researchers at the University of Bonn and supported by the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Services and the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research tested the impact of the drug sildenafil, commonly known as Viagra, on lab mice.

The study found that these mice, under the influence of the drug, did not gain weight and also showed decreased signs of common symptoms of both diabetes and a common vascular disorder called atherosclerosis. The evidence, though inconclusive, raises questions about this popular blue pill.

Can Viagra help with weight loss?

The answer: We don’t know.

But this is what we do know: Brown fat cells are commonly known to burn off fat as energy in mice. The sildenafil in Viagra is used to regulate blood vessels and blood pressure, hence playing a role in helping men with erectile dysfunction have an erection. Coincidentally, in addition to stimulating blood vessels, the drug has been found to also promote the growth of both brown and “brite,” which are “brown in white” fat cells, allowing these mice to burn fat faster.

James Hill, the director of the Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center and the University of Colorado told Newsweek: “This is good science and very interesting, but it is a long way from being at the point of human relevance. We know brown fat can play a role in protecting against obesity in rodents, but it is not clear this mechanism has any role in man.”

Sorry humans, we’re not sure.

So the good news: Viagra may play more than one kind of role in all our your…uh…fantasies. But the bad: it’s just too soon to tell if it can help you slim down.

Until researchers make any life-changing findings about the positive impacts of Viagra on weight loss, or any negative side effects, it looks like we’ll have to use regular ol’ diet and exercise for humans!

By: Jennifer Wolfe

For More on Weight Loss:

How to Start a Weight Loss Program

All You Need to Know About Weight Loss

Pictures: Weight Loss Tips


The Discovery Fit and Health team brings you the latest (and most interesting) health news as well as exclusive interviews, video clips, and other juicy tidbits from your favorite shows.
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