FIRST and foremost, our apologies to our dear friends and readers especially the males. The title was so made if just to catch the attention of everyone about a rising health issue regarding the decreasing ability of more and more males to sire a child. The article does not intend to cast aspersions or sow fake news about masculine prowess to procreate.
After all, if our memories serve us right, a few years back, a disturbing news shocked the world with a research study which showed a dramatic decrease n the sperm count of Japanese men, with several plausible explanations for the decline. Most of the researchers pointed to the possibility that air pollution may have contributed to the decline, even suggesting that the pollutants contained estrogen-like substances which may have affected negatively the ability of men to produce adequate number of normal sperm cells.
A recent study showed that alcohol binge- drinking a lot of ethyl alcohol or ethanol- within a short period of time has significant early as well as long their negative effects on male fertility. And the same is true with heavy smoking. We would like to share with you salient points of the issue from an article of columnist Stephen Padilla in which investigators administered questionnaires and collected semen samples from 36 healthy male volunteers of reproductive age 22+-three years at three time points; before a seven-day academic festivities event time(time point one) one week after the event time (point two) and three months after the event time (point three) Information on medical history, alcohol and medical consumption and smoking were collected. Basic sperm parameters like the expression or activity of important enzymes were done. These include superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. The total anti-oxidant status of the subjects was done and presence of carbonyl grops and three nitrotyrosine were determined from the semen samples.
No history of medications, drug use, other illnesses were reported at baseline. Between the first and second time points the daily consumption of alcohol and nicotine increased by more than 8 times and two respectively. Alcohol consumption returned to baseline levels during the third time point. Alcohol and cigarette consumption increased during the academic festivities , when compared with values observed one week prior and three months after the academic festivities. The abrupt lifestyle change was concurrent with deleterious effects on semen quality, both at early and late short term.
There were significant reductions in chemical markers for sperm health like fructose- which gives freshly-ejaculated semen a sweet taste- , alpha glucosidase and citric acid. fructose and citric acid are biomarkers- indicators of health status of a particular organ- of the seminal vesicles and prostate respectively- two very important organs involved in the manufacture and delivery of sperm cells.
It is the somniferous tubules of the testes which are considered the reproductive tissues of the testicle because this is where spermatogenesis- formation of mature sperm- is done. Detected in the study were abnormalities in the structure of sperm-midpiece and head of sperm cell. On the other hand, the oxidative stress marker 3-NT was 1.4 higher which translated into clinical event, means that the acute lifestyle changes- markedly increased amount of alcohol/cigarette consumption within a very short period of time- is detrimental to sperm production because of the rise in the so called ROS or reactive oxygen species which are harmful to the cells and tissues.
Mr. Padilla ended his article with the findings suggest that specifically high alcohol and cigarette consumption are associated with decreased semen quality in healthy young men, and therefore should be advised that even occasional but acute or drastic lifestyle changes may harm their reproductive health.
Having said that, long live humanity!
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on September 16, 2017.
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