Eat watermelon for a Viagra-like effect?

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December 9, 2010 – I have treated a number of clients for infertility related problems. It turned out that some tend to have a number of dysfunctional issues the main one being low libido.

With the changing lifestyles, nowadays men as young as 30yrs are sneaking into pharmacies to get the blue pill. Some studies show that even guys as young as 14yrs have tried it all – maybe for fun. There is a major myth that Viagra takes you there and the lady will be quite impressed with your homework and stick around for more.

Wrong! Viagra works well only to maintain an erection but never gives you the oomph or improve your skills. One of my lecturers, Dr Wambani a very good urologist always took Viagra just to see its effectiveness. You need to take it at least an hour before. (Not a good pill for ‘quickies’).

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The biology of erection
The mechanism of an erection is complex, involving a close interaction between the brain, the hormones, and the circulatory system. The start of an erection is the result of sexual stimulation arising in the brain and is reinforced by tactile stimuli to the penis.

The pudendal nerve in the pelvic region forms a major sensory pathway from the penis, and section of this nerve may inhibit the generation of an erection.

When the penis is in its flaccid state, the smooth muscles of the corpora, and of the arteries, are contracted. During stimulation, there is a major action of nitric oxide (NO) that causes the penile arteries to dilate and there is relaxation of the smooth muscle within the erectile tissue. This causes a great 8 fold increase in the blood flow into the tissue of the erectile tissue forcing an erection. The erection is also enhanced by the contraction of the pelvic muscles on the perineum, which helps to ‘straighten out’ the erectile tissue.

There is a great increase in arterial pressure that causes the erectile tissue to expand and elongates the erectile bodies. This results in an increase in tension within the tunica albuginea and compression of the venous return, thus impeding the outflow of blood from the erectile tissue. In this way, the venous return is obstructed and the erection is maintained. Erection is thus very much a vascular event that is entirely dependent on its effectiveness upon a good blood supply to the erectile tissue and adequate blockage of blood from returning to the circulation. This is where Viagra works.

Watermelon studies
The research team at the Texas A&M University discovered that watermelon has ingredients that deliver Viagra-like effects to the body’s blood vessels and may even increase libido.

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“The more we study watermelons, the more we realise just how amazing a fruit it is in providing natural enhancers to the human body,” said Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center in College Station.

Watermelons contain substances such as lycopene, capitalfmnew carotene and citrulline – whose beneficial functions are now being unraveled. Among the functions of the citrulline is the ability to relax blood vessels, much like Viagra does.

Citrulline is converted to an amino acid called arginine through certain enzymes. Arginine works wonders on the heart and circulation system and maintains a good immune system. These amino acids are metabolised and end up producing Nitric Oxide (NO) that works on blood vessels in the heart and erectile tissues. NO relaxes the vessels and the erectile tissues helping in erection.

The recommended dosage of supplemental Citrulline is 1,875 – 6,000 mg per day. It can be found commercially as supplements. Citrulline is found in higher concentrations in the rind of watermelons than the flesh. As the rind is not commonly eaten, two of Patil’s fellow scientists, Dr S. Steve King and Hae Jeen Bang, were working to breed new varieties with higher concentrations in the flesh. Other foods high in citrulline include onions and garlic.

It may be well thought that the answer to our physical ailments lies in the fitness and dietary habits, so eat well for good health.

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