Common Drug Makes Super Sperm in Boars

While scientists and medical researchers go about finding cures for all the problems humans face, there can be unexpected discoveries that go off in a completely different (sometimes amazing) direction. In this case, “super sperm”.

But what do boars and sperm quality have to do with each other?

Apparently, a drug called Taxifolin (TAX).

WHAT IS TAXIFOLIN?


Researchers have been using Taxifolin (also known as dihydroquercetin), which is a natural flavonoid that can be found in things like fruit, vegetables, wine, tea, and cocoa. It’s also found in vinegars aged in cherry wood, non-glutinous rice boiled with adzuki bean, and several kinds of conifer trees.

Flavonoids (or bioflavonoids; from the Latin word flavus, meaning yellow, their color in nature) are a class of polyphenolic secondary metabolites found in plants, and thus commonly consumed in the diets of humans.

~ wikipedia

But when it comes to uber-health, it’s apparently showing a lot of promise in the management of inflammation, tumors, microbial infections, oxidative stress, cardiovascular, and liver disorders.

Which brings us another step closer to the piggy correlation.

CANCER STUDY TANGENT


Since TAX has strong anti-oxidation, anti-inflammation, anti-virus, and even anti-tumor properties, scientists were eager to see if it could be used as a cancer treatment. But there were also curiosities if the flavonoid could have other benefits.

And somewhere in the world, a room full of people made the jump from cancer studies to fertility and sperm studies.

So, a group of experts from Belgium and China decided to see if the TAX feed additive for Duroc boars would do anything to the sperm quality. Long story short, it had some pretty amazing reactions (sorry science-y terms incoming, but you’ll get the gist)…

Credit: britishpigs.org.uk

  • Significantly increased sperm motility by the elevation of the protein levels such as ZAG, PKA, CatSper, and p-ERK for sperm quality.
  • Improved “beneficial” microbes such as Intestinimonas, Coprococcus, Butyrivibrio, and Clostridium_XlVa at the Genus level.
  • Reduced “harmful” intestinal bacteria such as Prevotella, Howardella, Mogibacterium, and Enterococcus.
  • Increased blood concentration of testosterone derivatives, antioxidants such as melatonin and betaine, unsaturated fatty acids such as DHA, and beneficial amino acids such as proline.
  • Decreased 10 different kinds of negative bile acids in the plasma.

In short, TAX made a piggy super sperm by doing great things to gut microbes and blood metabolites. In the short term, they think that they can use this to improve the breeding rates of Duroc boars (which are used as a meat source).

SUPER SPERM AND WORLD FERTILITY


Okay, the term super sperm is obviously hyperbolic. But what isn’t an exaggeration is that the world fertility rates have dropped by scary amounts over the last few decades. This is mostly due to our increased use of chemicals and other nasty things we can’t seem to live without. That and horrible environmental conditions.

And yes, overpopulation is another issue too, and a serious one. But that’s a different conversation.

The assumption is that if humans could get things under control, it would be nice if we could still have offspring. So, making sure sperm quality is one thing some scientists are focusing on. TAX seems to be something they hope that, after far more research, could be helpful.

What are your thoughts?

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