Pumping Up to Get Hard
Muscular Development|February 2020
Pumping Up to Get Hard
Does Viagra Boost Testosterone and Athletic Performance?
Daniel Gwartney, M.D.

Over 20 years ago, formerly impotent men rose up and rejoiced, proudly standing erect. At long last, a solution to erectile dysfunction actually existed— unlike the many extracts and concentrates that were sold in the back pages of “gentlemen’s magazine.” In 1998, Pfizer received FDA approval to market sildenafil citrate under the brand name Viagra, instantly reaping in millions of dollars in sales.

Viagra never received the label “performance-enhancing drug” (PED), though it certainly has those characteristics. PEDs refer to drugs that allow athletes or vain exercisers to improve their performance or physique. So, millions of “performance-enhanced” baby boomers continue to enjoy one of the most primal acts of virility-nature has endowed upon our species. Though Viagra and other PDE5i (the Viagra class of drug that supports penile erections) are legitimate drugs for treating a legitimate symptom of vascular disease, it was rapidly diverted to men who were not suffering from erectile dysfunction. Decades later, there are many alternatives, including generics in some countries— reducing demand and cost significantly.

Many athletes used Viagra for sexual enhancement, and curiosity led to some using the drug prior to exercise/competition. In endurance sports, delivery of oxygen, glucose and fattyacids is dependent upon vasodilation (opening of blood vessels). The ergogenic potential of Viagra was promising, and some athletes have reported benefits— particularly those who exercise at high altitudes.1

Spike in Testosterone

For bodybuilders, one goal sought during workouts is the pump. Secondly, it is important to get blood flow to the exercised muscle after a workout to deliver anabolic-promoting nutrients (glucose, amino acids, creatine, etc.). Again, anecdotal reports began to emerge from the more adventurous. Aside from the putative ability of Viagra to cause one body part or another to become swollen and engorged, another possible benefit has been reported that would be of particular interest to bodybuilders and strength athletes, as well as the amorous using Viagra for its approved purpose. Viagra appears to stimulate a spike in testosterone production.

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February 2020