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In another post I mentioned that fasting for 16 hours may reduced jet lag, well there are also some other treatments which can help get over long flights. We are all very familiar with the famous blue pill Viagra (sildenafil), and other drugs that are treatment for erectile dysfunction. Research in rodents suggests that Viagra has a few extra tricks up its sleeve including reducing jet lag (published in PNAS). The researchers shifted the animal circadian cycle 6 hours (simulating a flight across 6 time zones) and it took 12 days for the rodents to adjust to the new cycle (similar to at least a week for humans) but it only took 8 days for the animals that received Viagra (70 micrograms). The mechanism behind Viagra ability to reduce jet lag shown by the scientist appears to be an increase in cGMP (cyclic guanosine monophosphate). Interestingly, an article in the distinguished “Science” journal demonstrated that Every-other-day fasting (EODF) (one form of calorie restriction) also increase cGMP. Therefore, Viagra and fasting might decrease jet lag by using the same biological mechanism, increasing cGMP.
For those that want to test out the Viagra brain jet lag hack (covered in new scientist); the researchers suggested that the rodent dose used in the experiment would translate into only a small fraction of the normal pill dose that humans use to increase penile erection function.
So now all you jet setters have two brain hacks (fasting, Viagra) to test out to reduce jet lag the next time you jaunt off several times zones away. Maybe a combo would even be better. Let me know your results of your self experiment.
Thanks JB for the suggestion.
Here are some other links about Viagra additional effects and using fasting to overcome jet lag: