Khat May Boost Mens FertilityKhat May Boost Mens Fertility
June 28, 2004
BERLIN--The leaves of the African khat plant (Catha edulis) contain chemicals that help sperm mature and fertilize an egg, boosting a mans fertility, according to research presented at the 20th annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (http://www.eshre.com), which are structurally similar to amphetamines and adrenaline; the plant is often chewed for the feelings of euphoria it stimulates.
Researchers from Kings College London studied the effects of PPAs on the sperm of both mice and humans, finding the first evidence the chemicals stimulate capacitation--the final stage of sperm maturation--when sperm develop the ability to fertilize an egg. According to the researchers, PPAs maintain the sperm in a potentially fertilizing state for longer, allowing them more time to reach the egg.
When mouse sperm treated with cathine were mixed with unfertilized eggs, they were able to fertilize much more quickly than untreated control sperm, said Lynn Fraser, Ph.D., professor of Reproductive Biology and Kings College London who presented the study. This indicates that PPAs do not interfere with the acrosome reaction induced in the fertilizing sperm by the egg. These preliminary data suggest that PPAs, at appropriate doses, might provide a new approach for enhancing natural fertility. She added, however, that more research must be conducted in live animals by evaluating the effects of PPAs on the ovaries, testes and sperm after administration before work can be translated into treatments for people.
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