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Watermelon Found to Have a Viagra effect

Jul 03, 2008
Scientists discovered that watermelon has an effect similar to well-known drug Viagra. The positive effect is attributed to an ingredient citrulline found in watermelons.

Just like Viagra, citruline in watermelon activates the production of a compound that helps to relax blood vessels. The compound, found in the flesh and the rind of the juicy fruit turns into arginine when it reacts with enzymes of the body. Arginine is a natural amino acid that reduces risk of heart disease, decreases blood pressure, and improves circulatory and immune function.

The nitric oxide resulting from arginine relaxes blood vessels the same effect the famous erectile dysfunction drug has.

Bhimu Patil, a researcher and director of Texas A&M's Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center, where the study took place said that while watermelon might not be so organ-specific as Viagra, it can be still helpful in dealing with erectile dysfunction problems and has no side effects.

The greatest amount of citrulline is found in the yellow-fleshed watermelons, while the fruit's rind is also richer in this compound. It requires about six cups of watermelon to increase the level of arginine, producing the beneficial effect.

Watermelon is known to have a diuretic effect, which is often used as treatment for people with kidney problems. The fruit also contains significant amount of sugar that may cause cramping if taken in great amounts. Scientists intend to reduce the amount of sugar in watermelon and find ways to increase the amount of citrulline in a flesh of the fruit.

It was found that watermelon compounds may also be helpful in fighting obesity and type-2 diabetes. Citrulline is found in other natural products such as cucumbers and cantaloupe but its concentration is much lower. The greatest amounts of citrulline are concentrated in walnut seedlings but most people do not eat them.

Scientists warn that although watermelon has a beneficial effect, it won't substitute a medical treatment.


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