Viagra may help men fight the flab

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new viagra afp AFP Viagra-type drugs help with impotence by increasing blood flow in the pelvis area.

London - Men who have trouble becoming aroused during sex rely on Viagra to give them a boost. Now scientists have discovered a welcome side-effect – it can melt away that “spare tyre”.

Researchers found the drug converts undesirable white fat cells into beige fat, which burns calories instead of storing them in the waistline. The substance also reduces the risk of other complications caused by obesity such as inflammation, which can lead to heart disease.

Study leader Professor Alexander Pfeifer, of the University of Bonn, said: “Sildenafil (Viagra) is not only able to minimise erectile problems, but it can also reduce the risks of gaining excessive weight.”

His team examined the effect of the drug on fat cells in mice after earlier tests revealed rodents treated with Viagra became resistant to obesity when fed a high-fat diet.

The researchers administered the potency drug to the rodents for seven days. “The effects were quite amazing,” said co-researcher Dr Ana Kilic.

Sildenafil increased the conversion, in the animals, of white fat cells, which are found in human “problem areas”, into beige ones. “Beige fat cells burn the energy from ingested food and convert it to heat,” said Pfeifer.

Because the beige fat cells can “melt the fat” and thus fight obesity, researchers are very hopeful for their potential.

The researchers found the drug also prevented white fat cells from increasing in size and releasing hormones that in turn cause inflammation. This could potentially reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

“It seems that sildenafil prevented the fat cells in these mice from getting on to that slippery slope,” said Pfeifer.

The team said these implications would need to be proven in additional studies.

More than half a billion people are overweight globally. The condition increases your risk of developing a number of potentially life-threatening diseases.

Despite promising data in the latest study, researchers caution the public against assuming popping a Viagra pill will help them shed weight.

“We are currently in the basic research stage, and all the studies have been exclusively performed on mice,” said Pfeifer.

Further research will be needed until potentially suitable drugs for decreasing white fat cells in humans will be found.

The results, reported in association with the Max Planck Institute, have been published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. – Daily Mail



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