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Lifestyle: Does Viagra Increase Cycling Performance

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The little blue pill that changed the world was approved to be commercialized about 19 years ago. The funny thing is that Viagra’s ability to create a stone-hard erections that almost defy logic was only considered a side effect to its original purpose. Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company, was researching the sildenafil compound as a treatment for high blood pressure and heart disease.

At first, the drug seemed like a failure as it didn’t produce a lot of results that could help the original cause they were working on. It was only in a clinical trial where the chemists who were working on the project practically gave up and were about to call it off, that a patient commented on the multiple erections he kept having when using the drug. Once the chemists realized that Viagra could be revolutionary if put in the right context, it didn’t take long to launch the drug worldwide. What many do not know is that Viagra is widely debated as a performance-enhancing drug for athletes during exercise or competition.


We’ll be presenting you with different perspectives that could help clear the bigger picture.

The Effects of Viagra on the Heart

Viagra can work on treating the constricted blood vessels by widening it and reduce the plaque coating the arteries to decrease cholesterol levels. Constriction of blood vessels and plaque patches have adverse effects on the heart’s condition as they can raise blood pressure and provide an environment that attracts heart disease. This makes the oxygen transfer rate considerably lower when it’s being transferred to the arteries. Viagra works by widening the pulmonary vessels which makes it easier for the heart to transfer more blood into the arteries and increase the oxygen transfer rate from lungs to blood. The more oxygen tissues receive, the better the performance of the body’s organs. For those who are interested in testing the effects directly, trying a couple bluechew testers can help you see it first hand. Bluechew can be chewed directly and you’ll feel the effects quite rapidly in 20 to 40 minutes.

The Stanford Study

The Stanford study that was published in 2006 in the Applied Physiology Journal caused some controversy among the scientific circles as the results vary. The Stanford scientist team and the Veteran Affairs department of Palo Alto devised an experiment that had cyclists cycle until exhaustion with and without the active substance of Viagra, sildenafil. The surprising result when cyclists were tested at an altitude of almost 13 thousand feet, the Viagra helped improve their average performance by 15%, where 10 professional male cyclists cycled 6 kilometers at the mentioned height. The controversy resulted was caused by the categorizing of cyclists into two groups; one had 4 cyclists who showed great improvement by using Viagra and the other group wasn’t particularly affected by it. The actual rate of those who responded to the active substance in Viagra was a surprising 39%.

Who Benefits from Viagra?

 

The University of Miami had done a more recent study than Stanford and were perplexed by the results. The University of Miami had done two trials on a much bigger batch of cyclists, almost 60 cyclists that had both men and women this time, that tested the performance at varying altitudes to try to find a more conclusive result. What surprised them is that among all the participants that were tested in the study, only one male showed significant improvement in his overall performance after taking sildenafil. An associate professor at the University of Miami reported that sildenafil’s advantage only appears at high altitudes, above 4,300 meters to be specific. The conflicting results were later explained by the associate professor as a byproduct of the way the participants in the trial were selected. The participants were believed to have had past difficulties with higher altitude already and joined the experiment to try to find the actual cause of the problem.

Those who experienced problems at higher altitudes were much more likely to benefit from sildenafil than those who didn’t originally have a problem at the same altitude. This helped to resolve the conflict between the studies as it was concluded that Viagra wasn’t improving the overall performance rather than fixing a specific problem at higher altitudes. When compared together, those who originally had a problem with higher altitudes and took sildenafil were comparatively similar to those who didn’t have a problem at higher altitudes with or without sildenafil. The whole take is that for the effects to be pronounced, higher altitudes have to be an element in the experiment, exercise, or competition.

The World Anti-Doping Agency

Traces of sildenafil in urine samples seem to be increasing rapidly and this is making the World Anti-Doping Agency, the foundation created by the International Olympic Committee to monitor doping or drug use in sports, worried. Viagra is not banned by the agency yet, but they’ve started seriously considering adding the drug to the list of banned substances in international sports. The drug is quite abundant. Experts have conflicting views on the performance-enhancing drug; some believe it provides explosive powers to activities like sprinting because if blood vessels are dilated to help more blood reach the penis vessels, then that means that more blood is reaching other organs. Some experts believe that the drug has positive effects in activities that require endurance and stamina like marathons and cycling. The general opinion of athletes and scientists is opposed to the stance that the World Anti-Doping Agency is trying to take. Some doctors believe that using the sexually-enhancing drug improves the athlete’s psychological well being as it helps provide a better sex life.

To conclude, the results provided by different studies and institutes may not formulate an exact result set in stone. This doesn’t mean that those who benefit from using the drug should reconsider; as long as there are no side effects of using Viagra, it’s totally fine. The sexually-enhancing drug helps shoot two birds with one stone; improving the athletes’ sexual performance in addition to their athletic performance as well. Cyclists have benefitted the most at higher altitudes as proven by different studies.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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