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Viagra could help mice lose weight

Viagra could help mice lose weight

Viagra melted the fat deposits of mice during a study
Apparently, active ingredients in the sexual enhancer "Viagra" help to break down excess fats in the body. At least that was shown by a study attempt with mice that scientists from the University of Bonn recently carried out. "The obese mice lost weight after being given sildenafil for a long period of time," the researchers summarized. It is not yet clear whether the results can also be transferred to humans. Self-tests with Viagra should also be avoided if possible. After all, the remedy is not without side effects and can even lead to death in individual cases.

Active ingredient melted fat deposits
The drug sildenafil, better known as Viagra, has shown unexpected effects in a research work. In laboratory experiments with mice, the active ingredient converted normal white fat cells, causing the animals' excess fat deposits to melt. Furthermore, the drug seems to reduce typical inflammatory reactions due to obesity, as Bonn scientists report in the "The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology" (FASEB). The pharmaceutical industry is already exulting in a possibly existing approach in the fight against massive obesity. But the scientists warn: “The effect has not been tested on humans. Nobody should just take the blue pills to get rid of the winter bacon, for example. "

Actually, erectile dysfunction in men is treated symptomatically with the agent Sildenafil. The active ingredient intervenes in a signal chain of the messenger "cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)". This allows blood to flow into the penile erectile tissue and thus also an erection. The drug was supposed to be used conceptually as a circulatory medication until researchers found that Viagra can also temporarily correct erection problems.

Mice lost weight
Now scientists have discovered an unexpected mode of action again. Some time ago, doctors and researchers became aware of the effect that is now being investigated. Previous studies have shown that mice lose significant weight if they are given sildenafil for a longer period of time. So far, however, it has always been unknown why this is so.

"We have been researching the effects of cGMP on fat cells for a long time," says Prof. Alexander Pfeifer, director of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology. "That is why sildenafil was a potentially interesting candidate for us." His research team, together with other scientists, examined the effect of Viagra on the fat cells of mice. During the experimental setup, the animals were given a total of seven days of sildenafil.

Bearer of hope against obesity and complications
"The effects were amazing," says study author Ana Kilic. The active ingredient converted the white fat cells into brown fat cells in the animals. The advantage of this is that brown fat cells burn the food energy and convert it into heat, says research director Pfeifer. Because sildenafil simply minimized the fat deposits in the trial, the active ingredient is a beacon of hope to support the therapies for obesity in the future. After all, obesity is a major risk factor in the development of diabetes, cancer, stroke or heart attack.

The scientists made another observation: white fat cells get bigger and smaller. If the body continues to increase calories, the cells also enlarge and additionally pour messenger substances into the organism. These substances trigger inflammation that is considered to be hazardous to health. "Developing the reactions, for example, cardiovascular diseases with infarction and stroke or cancer and diabetes". In the rodents, sildenafil was obviously able to ensure that "the fat cells do not easily get off track," reports Pfeifer. During the study, the development of the white cells in the mice appeared to be “healthier overall”.

Do not take Viagra in on your own
Research should now continue. The Bonn scientists hope for interesting results. "Sildenafil can not only reduce erection problems, but also have a positive impact on the risks of being overweight," says Pfeifer. Perhaps a lever has been found here to convert the white to brown fat cells. The lever could help obese patients lose weight in the future. In addition, secondary illnesses that are triggered by massive excess weight could be prevented by the active ingredient. "However, further research must show that," emphasize the scientists.

In no case should Viagra be taken permanently on your own. "We are at the basic research stage - the studies have so far only been carried out on mice," emphasizes Pfeifer. It will take a few years before an adequate drug is designed. (sb)

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