HealthTrainingViagra Improves Performance At Altitude

FasterSkier FasterSkierOctober 22, 2004

A group of researchers have concluded that the active ingredient in Viagra improves performance in situations involving low oxygen supply. This might result in the product being added to the doping list.

It’s the ingredient Sildenafil in Viagra that has proven to increase performance in situations with low oxygen. The research report is published on the web site of The Annals of Internal Medicine: www.annals.org

In one study, 14 climbers were either given Sildenafil or a placebo. The study was done both with air pressure as at sea level, but with low oxygen supply, and at 5000 meters altitude at the base of the World’s highest mountain.

In both studies the climbers that had received Sildenafil showed a significantly higher tolerance for reduced oxygen, and they performed better than those without the ingredient in Viagra. The effect was biggest at altitude.

Blood vessels in the lungs are contracting in situations with reduced oxygen, and performance capacity is reduced. The effect of Sildenafil is that the blood vessels in the lung tissue expand, so that the surface of the vessels increases. This increases the capacity to deliver oxygen to the blood, which again improves performance capacity.

The researchers found that there was an improved effect both when the climbers were resting and when they were active.

The report claimed that Silenafil can be used in treatment of altitude sickness. The ingredient can possibly also increase performance in sport, especially at high altitude. It’s still unclear at what altitude the ingredient might have an effect, but it can also possibly increase performance at sea level.

Sildenafil is currently not classified as an illegal doping agent. Whether it will be added to the list before the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy is still unclear.

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