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Watermelon Touted as a Natural Viagra E-mail
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Good news for women hoping to put some "bang" back into their love life.  A new study conducted by the Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center at Texas A&M University, College Station has found that eating watermelon can help make things "rise to the occasion".

According to Bhimu Patil, PHD, director of the center, watermelon contains significant amounts of citrulline . The amino acid citrulline is converted by the body into the amino acid arginine. According to Patil,  "Arginine is a precursor for nitric oxide, and the nitric oxide will help in blood vessel dilation."

Past studies thought that most of the citrulline was in the unedible part of the watermelon; the rind. New research now suggests that the fruit also contains large amounts of citrulline. Therefore, watermelon is being touted as a natural alternative to Viagra.

Questions Remain About Watermelon  and Sexual Function

So, before there is a run on the supermarkets for watermelons, the $100,000 questions are:

  • How much watermelon does it take?
  • How quickly does it work?

"That is a good question," Patil says. Unfortunately, "I don't have an answer for that."

According to Patil, a typical 4-ounce serving of watermelon has about 150 milligrams of citrulline. But he can't say how much citrulline is needed to have Viagra-like effects, and how quickly will it work after eating the watermelon.

Patil is hopeful that someone will "rise to the occasion" and pick up on his research and study the fruit's effect on penile erections.

Other Scientist Weigh in on the Subject

On hearing about the Texas finding, Irwin Goldstein, MD, editor-in-chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, was underwhelmed. Suggesting a man feast on watermelon to boost performance, he says, "would be the equivalent of someone dropping a beer bottle in Minneapolis, where the Mississippi River starts, and hoping to see it make an impact on someone in New Orleans."

Calling watermelon a natural Viagra is "clearly premature," says Roger Clemens, DrPH, adjunct professor of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and a spokesman for the Institute of Food Technologists. Clemns is not a novice in this area.Clemens studied the amino acid arginine himself, researching a supplement to improve vascular flow for patients with hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. He has since abandoned that line of research, he says.

"To say that watermelon is Viagra-like is sort of fun," says Goldstein. "But to even vaguely hope that eating watermelon will alleviate  erectile dysfunction is misleading." "The vast majority of Americans produce enough arginine," adds Goldstein, medical director of Alvarado Hospital Medical Center, San Diego, and clinical professor of surgery, University of California San Diego School of Medicine. "Men with  erectile dysfunction are not deficient in arginine."  Though arginine is required to make nitric oxide, and nitric oxide is required to dilate blood vessels and have an erection, "that doesn't mean eating something that is rich in citrulline will make enough arginine that it will lead to better penile erections," Goldstein says.

It can require a lot of watermelon to boost blood levels of arginine, he adds. In a study published in 2007 in Nutrition, he says, volunteers who drank three 8-ounce glasses of watermelon juice daily for three weeks boosted their arginine levels by 11%. It is imprtant to disclose that Goldstein has served as a consultant for many companies that make  erectile dysfunction drugs.

Watermelon Does have other Health Benefits 

Even if watermelon does not provide that "extra punch" that many baby boomer and older men  (and their mates) hope for; all is not lost. Watermelon is still a very tasty fruit that is low in calories and provides several other important vitamins vitamin A, vitamin C), minerals  (such as, potassium, zinc, calcium, magnesium, etc.), phytonutrients lycopene and beta-carotene, in addition to the citrulline.
  • Studies show that lycopene that may help reduce the risks of prostate cancer, and assist with the body's detoxification process.
  • Beta-carotene can be converted by the body into retinol, which is why it is often referred to as a provitamin A carotenoid. Studies suggest that beta-carotene has many health benefits, ranging from helping with the formation of bones and teeth, to preventing night blindness and other eye diseases and eye disorders, preventing skin disorders, protecting against toxins and cancer formations, enhancing immunity, and reducing the frequency of colds, flu, and infections. Beta-carotene is also an antioxidant and protector of the cells while slowing the aging process. Studies have also shown that anti-oxidants  possess powerful neuroprotective properties that shield brain cells from damage, helping to slow down the age-related onset of memory loss, Alzheimer's disease and dementia (senility). Sources of Beta-Carotene can be found in a good liquid multivitamin. Recent reports show natural Beta-Carotene aids in cancer prevention. 

Watermelon is also an alkalizing fruit, which is a good thing. It burns down to a nearly "neutral" ash, as opposed to an acidic ash as some other fruits do. Since so many things we eat today create a "acidic ash", it is important to eat foods that do not contribute to the acidic load put on the body, which studies are showing can increase the risk for many chronic diseases.

 
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