Viagra for Bodybuilding: Is There Any Basis to This Trend?

Do you know that Viagra is slowly creeping into the bodybuilding industry as a muscle-building supplement?

But what is the active ingredient of Viagra and how does it work? Can you really use Viagra for bodybuilding?

If you haven’t heard of Viagra, well, you must have been living under a rock. It’s the first successful treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED), meaning it was designed to enhance and sustain an erection.

In this article though, we’re going to explore its newfound application.

An Overview of the ED Drug

Viagra’s active ingredient is sildenafil, a potent phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor (1). PDE5 is an enzyme that controls how the smooth muscles relax, particularly in the male genital region.

A PDE5 inhibitor like sildenafil, therefore, allows the smooth muscles in the penis to relax, improving blood flow into the organ.

And as you may already know, an erection is very much dependent on optimal blood flow into that area.

Viagra for Bodybuilding: The Rationale

Moving on to the matter of physique, aside from consuming carbohydrates and protein, there are also other factors required for building muscles.

Protein is the muscles’ building block and protein synthesis is the process in which the protein in your system is used to repair damages caused by intense workouts.

Therefore, protein synthesis is an important element of muscle building.

Testosterone, on the other hand, is the main male hormone. It’s the one responsible for building lean muscle mass and the reason why men can build muscles faster and bigger than women.

An increase in testosterone often translates to enhanced muscle building.

During heavy lifting, your heart pumps blood into your muscles filling it with nutrients necessary for repair.

Bodybuilders also yearn for that ‘pumped’ feeling on their muscles which means they had a good workout.

Improved blood flow is, thus, necessary for building muscles.

Viagra Boosts Muscle Protein Synthesis

A study was made on the effects of sildenafil, Viagra’s active ingredient, on protein synthesis in skeletal muscles.

Subjects aged 20 to 68 years with BMI ranging from 20 to 29 were given 25 mg of sildenafil daily for 15 days (2).

After the 15-day period, the subjects were found to have improved muscle protein synthesis as compared to the baseline—or in other words, before they were given sildenafil.

The study also showed that Viagra has the ability to reduce muscle fatigue.

Reduced muscle fatigue means you can lift harder and for longer periods of time.

These results showed that Viagra has the potential to enhance skeletal muscle function and be used in bodybuilding as a supplement.

Viagra Increases Testosterone Levels

According to medical experts, one of the main reasons for ED is having low levels of testosterone. Although

Viagra mainly improves blood flow to initiate an erection, they thought it might also increase testosterone levels.

So, 140 men with ED aged between 40 to 70 years were given sildenafil over a period of 3 to 7 weeks. After that timeframe, the subjects were tested for their testosterone levels (3).

The results showed that the subjects had improved testosterone levels as well as reduced estradiol, the female hormone.

Although the study was focused on older men with ED, it still showed that Viagra is able to increase testosterone levels in male subjects, making it a potential testosterone-building supplement.

Viagra Enhances Blood Flow

Did you know that Viagra was originally developed to improve blood flow and as a treatment for chronic high blood pressure?

The fact that it also stimulated erection is only secondary.

When blood flow is optimal, the delivery of protein and other essential nutrients to the muscles is improved. This can lead to faster muscle tissue repair and less damage.

In a study of 14 patients with ischemic heart disease, sildenafil or placebo was administered to the subjects before being tested for blood flow after 2 to 3 hours (4).

The results showed a significant increase in blood flow for those who were given sildenafil compared to those who only received a placebo.

This means that Viagra improves blood flow through the dilation of blood vessels, which is the main purposed of PDE5 inhibitors.

Viagra for Building Muscle

Can you use Viagra for fitness purposes? Yes.

Although there are no studies made yet on hardcore bodybuilders, the previously discussed research shows its potential in helping build muscles.

Still, know that there are risks involved in taking the ED drug for bodybuilding, especially given the limited information available on the matter.

And don’t forget that there are other ways of improving your hormonal balance, protein synthesis, and blood flow.

Overall, even though there’s a basis in using Viagra for bodybuilding, it might not be the best choice for everyone. If you have more questions regarding this topic, tell us through the comments box below.

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