Pharmaceutical

Long doses of Viagra may help men lose weight, but be at greater risk of side effects

viagra Long doses of Viagra may help men lose weight, but be at greater risk of side effectsA new Viagra side effect discovered in laboratory rats has researchers testing men to see if the drug can help them lose weight.

Researchers discovered that mice that were given Viagra over a long period of time were less likely to become obese even when they were fed fattening foods. Further testing on those mice revealed that the drug caused changes in body fat that translates to calories being used for energy rather than stored as fat. We get fat when we consume more calories than we burn.

But how can you burn more fat? It turns out that not all fat is the same. Almost all fatty tissue in an adult’s body is known as white fat, which is made up of stored, excess calories. That’s the kind that blobs around your belly and bum.

A small amount of fatty tissue is known as brown fat, which is burned by the body to generate heat. Newborns have the highest amount of brown fat to help keep their little vulnerable bodies warm. What small amounts of brown fat adults have is stored around the neck and shoulders to help maintain core body temperature.

In general, white fat makes up about 20-25 percent of body weight, whereas brown fat makes up about 3-7.5 percent of body weight. Researchers have been working to find ways to convert white fat to brown fat, which is more readily burned. They have found that exposing the body to cold temperatures can prompt the body to convert white fat into energy-burning brown fat, a processes called browning.

Researchers believe that Viagra can trigger fat browning.

Viagra helps men get and maintain erections by relaxing the smooth muscles of the penis and increasing blood flow. Somehow, researchers theorize, Viagra, which contains the active ingredient sildenafil, boosts levels of the compound cGMP which transits signals between cells and also encourages fat browning. Higher levels of this compound, they surmise, create more brown fat and speed up metabolism.

Regardless of the process, researchers are curious enough to see if the results found in rats can be duplicated by men. Researchers in China have recruited a group of men who will be given either Viagra or a placebo three times a day for a week, after which their body fat will be measured.

Researchers say the study shouldn’t prompt men to call their doctors for a prescription of the little blue pills. At least not yet. There are, after all, other side effects to consider.

Viagra also works through the same genetic pathways that make melanoma more aggressive. Studies have shown that men who take or have ever taken Viagra are at a much greater risk of developing the most deadly form of skin cancer compared to men who have never taken the drug.

Source: Daily Mail