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Archive for July 4th, 2008

Uplifting Water Melons

Posted by David Bradley on July 4th, 2008

Citrulline“The more we study watermelons, the more we realize just how amazing a fruit it is in providing natural enhancers to the human body,” says Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center in College Station. Enhancing indeed. He and his colleagues in Texas have now added a rather uplifting property to the list of benefits for watermelon. Apparently, a natural product found in watermelon, citrulline, is what can only be described as a natural Viagra.

At least that’s how much of the media have described the compound this week in the run up to the 4th of July celebrations during which watermelons aplenty will be eaten (apparently).

However, watermelon’s rising star, citrulline (2-amino-5-ureido-pentanoic acid), apparently has the effect of relaxing blood vessels, jist as does Viagra and with relaxation comes the potential for that uplifting effect. But, there are lots of fruits and vegetables that contain natural compounds that relax blood vessels, you say, indeed there are. Patil’s team have also obtained evidence that watermelons may boost sex drive, or libido, too, however.

Citrulline is metabolised to arginine, an amino acid, which is present in the raw state in lots of foods as it is. Patil says this amino acid works wonders on the heart and circulation system and maintains a good immune system. Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it, Patil adds.

But, it does seem like stretching a rather tenuous connection to go from this physiological phenomenon observed in arginine to say that watermelons could be a natural Viagra. Patil concedes to this: “Watermelon may not be as organ specific as Viagra,” he says, “but it’s a great way to relax blood vessels without any drug side-effects.” Still, all that juicy pink flesh and healthy too? Who could resist? Just don’t forget to spit out the seeds.