Is Watermelon the New Viagra?

Fruit may remedy sexual dysfunction but use sparingly


Sometimes, life is just too funny. I recently read an article about the Viagra-effects of watermelon. This lovely fruit that is a staple of barbecues and picnics has suddenly taken center stage in the world of romance. According to researchers at the Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center at Texas A&M University, College Station, the amino acid citrulline, which is found in both the rind and the fruit of watermelon, can relax and dilate blood vessels in a way that is similar to Viagra. In other words, your backyard garden may be filled with ripened erectile dysfunction medication!

No, it's not a reason to go out and eat huge amounts of watermelon; that would spike blood sugar levels before you'd notice any positive effects. I am pleased, however, that research continues to look for ways to enhance sexual relationships. As the co-author of the new book, Sex and Diabetes – For Him and For Her (ADA), I'm always searching for new advice to give individuals who develop diabetes-related sexual complications. Diabetes can affect blood circulation and damage nerves. When the circulation is not at its best, it is difficult for the body to send blood to the pelvic area, something that is necessary in order to fully enjoy intimate activity. If the nerves have become damaged from being exposed to high levels of glucose for a lengthy period of time, the brain may not be able to send the sexual messages it wishes to communicate.

So if you can't grab a few slices of watermelon, what can you do? Here is a list of several of the many options that men can try to help improve their problems with erectile dysfunction: br />

  • Maintain your blood sugar level within a healthy range. This can help reduce your risk of blood vessel and nerve damage.
  • Ask your doctor to check your testosterone level. Thirteen million men over the age of 45 have this problem, which can affect sexual performance. "Low-T" is easily diagnosed with a simple blood test and can be treated with a topical gel, patch, injection, or oral tablet that you place inside of your cheek.
  • Try the oral medications that are currently on the market – Viagra, Levitra and Cialis. They don't work for all men, but they may work for you.
  • Pick up a sexual device. Vacuum pumps, when used correctly, work extremely well for most men. Constriction rings can be used to hold the blood in the penis if a man can get an erection, but has difficulty maintaining it.
  • Focus on your relationship. Your emotions can affect your physical performance. If you are angry or feel uncomfortable with your partner, you may experience problems in the bedroom.

Watermelon may not be the answer, but I do hope that we all keep looking for more ways to enhance the physical relationships in our lives.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.


Last Modified Date: June 20, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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Jamis Roszler
Janis Roszler

Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N is the American Association of Diabetes Educators' 2008-2009 Diabetes Educator of the Year.  She is a certified diabetes educator, marriage and family therapist, and registered dietitian. Her books include Sex and Diabetes (ADA) Diabetes on your OWN Terms (Marlowe & Co) and The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes (Surrey books).

Donna Rice
Donna Rice

Donna Rice MBA,RN,CDE,FAADE is the 2007 Past President of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. She is a registered nurse, diabetes educator and has developed numerous educational programs on sexual health and wellness.  She is the co-author of  Sex and Diabetes (ADA) and Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction - A Quick ‘n' Easy Handbook For the Diabetes Educator (Bella Vita).  Her newest publication is a children's book, The Magic is Me (Searchlight Press).

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