Venom from world’s deadliest spider could cure erectile dysfunction within 20 minutes

It sounds like a most unlikely  aphrodisiac. But scientists have  discovered the venom from what’s considered the world’s deadliest spider could  be the secret to bolstering a man’s love life.

Toxins produced by the Brazilian Wandering  Spider, or Phoneutria nigriventer, appear to combat erectile dysfunction within  20 minutes of entering the body.

Tests carried out on rats show the venom  boosts performance by increasing the release of nitric oxide, a chemical that  dilates blood vessels and improves blood flow. This  is similar to how existing impotence drugs work.

In tests on rats the spider's toxin boosted erections by triggering the release of nitric oxide

In tests on rats the spider’s toxin boosted erections by  triggering the release of nitric oxide

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is responsible  for killing more people than any other arachnid. Victims  usually die within an hour of being bitten.

It is also known as the banana spider because  of its habit of stowing away in shipments of the fruit.

In 2008, a supermarket in Chatham, Kent, was  forced to close after an assistant spotted one of the spiders under a box of  bananas as she stacked them.

One in ten men in the UK suffers erectile  dysfunction at some point in their lives.

Although drugs such as Viagra, Cialis and  Levitra have revolutionised treatment in the last ten years, around 30 per cent  of men who take them see no improvement.

For these men, the only other options are to  inject drugs straight into the penis, or use a pump that manually increases  blood supply to the organ. Neither is very popular.

A drug made from spider venom could prove to  be an effective alternative.

Researchers from Brazil and the US extracted  the toxin, called PnTx2-6, from the deadly venom and injected it into rats which  had age-related erectile dysfunction.

They found the toxin boosted erections by  triggering the release of nitric oxide, which boosts circulation in the male  genitals by helping blood vessel walls relax.

In a report on their findings, published in  The Journal of Sexual Medicine, the researchers said: ‘The decrease in erectile  function associated with age was partially restored 15 to 20 minutes after  injection with PnTx2-6.’

Brazilian scientists first became interested  in the deadly spider’s ability to boost sexual performance when victims of bites  reported major improvements in their sex lives.

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