Researchers: Viagra burns fat

1/22/2013

After reports of athletes attempting to gain a competitive edge with Viagra, the little blue pill may appeal to a different set: researchers report that the drug may help burn fat.

Researchers from the University of Bonn treated mice with Viagra and found that the drug converts white fat cells, the kind most people have in abundance, into brown fat cells.

While the science of brown fat is relatively new, it is considered healthier in that rather than being stored in the body, it burns calories like a furnace. A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation last year found that one form of it activates when humans become cold. Another 2012 study in Nature found that a second form of brown fat can be created from white fat by exercising.

Mice subjects who were given the drug for seven days — at about 10 times the maximum approved dosage for human usage — converted a significant number of white fat cells into brown fat cells.

Viagra (also known as sildenafil) is used to treat erectile dysfunction, pulmonary arterial hypertension, and altitude sickness.

The study, announced last week, appears online and will be published in a future print edition of the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.


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