Style & ShowbizHealth

Viagra for weight loss?

HealthBy Sunday World
Viagra for weight loss?

The little blue pill isn't just good news in the bedroom; apparently it can keep you slim too.

Viagra is the medication of choice for men needing help with their sex lives, but researchers in Germany and China claim there are other benefits too. Studies on mice have shown Viagra can change how the body uses fat, turning it into energy rather than storing it.

Viagra, used to treat erectile dysfunction, works by relaxing the muscles in the penis and increasing blood flow to the area. Previous studies have pointed out that mice who take the drug for long periods of time are less likely to be obese, so researchers from Germany's University of Bonn tested the theory.

They gave mice Viagra for seven days and then measured the effects on fat cells. It was found that the medication transformed white cells into beige fat. Beige fat, much like brown fat, burns energy from food and converts it to heat.

Scientists in China are now trialling it on a human test group. A group of 40 men will be split into two, with one set taking Viagra three times a day for a week, and the other group using a placebo pill. Taking place at China's Wuhan General Hospital, the effects will then be measured.

Results from the mice trial have been published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Researchers state their results suggest Viagra is able to "melt" unhealthy fat away.

The difference between white fat and brown fat is vast. White fat is what makes up the majority of an adult's fat content, and is where our excess calories are stored. As babies we have much more brown fat, as it helps to keep us warm and when bodies aren't fully formed yet so can't regulate heat properly. As we grow we lose most of our brown fat, with some being left around the neck and shoulder area to maintain a core temperature.

Scientists are now looking at ways for adults to harness and grow more brown fat.

Cover Media