Scientists have discovered that sex may be bad for yourhealth. When researchers studied why some insects have ashorter life span than others, they discovered their earlydemise is caused by hormones associated with sex.
Dr. Jens Rolff and Dr. Michael Siva-Jothy at the Universityof Sheffield in the U.K. studied mealworm beetles, which aresold in pet stores as food for pet reptiles and birds. Whenthey allowed the beetles to mate, the hormone releasedafterwards adversely affected an enzyme that is necessary toimmune system functioning. This made the beetles moresusceptible to infection, and less likely to live long lives.
Siva-Jothy says, ?Those organisms that mate the most, andare therefore more successful in evolutionary terms, reducetheir own life expectancy in the process." This may meanthat bugs that reproduce the most die off faster, so theydon?t take over the world, but the test results don?t lookgood for us. They?ve made pest control people happy,however, now that they know they?re more likely to wipe outinsects when the bugs are mating.
Although sex may affect our life spans, we may still decideit?s worth it. But not much may come of it, becausescientists have now found that many of the chemicals foundin the environment reduce human fertility.
Men and women who have been exposed to chemicals in paints,pesticides and cleaning agents, as well as beer, vegetablesand soy products, may become less fertile. A glance at thetypes of chemicals involved makes it clear that nobody inthe modern world is likely to get away unscathed.
Scientists have suspected that these chemicals may beresponsible for the modern reduction in sperm count, sincethey contain compounds that mimic estrogen. Now, for thefirst time, Dr. Lynn Fraser and researchers at King'sCollege in London have found evidence that this is exactlywhat?s happening.
It turns out that environmental estrogens actually have afar greater impact on sperm than natural estrogens do.Fraser says that although chemical estrogens are 1,000 timesless potent than natural estrogens, they are 100 times morepotent when they interact with sperm.
Fraser and her team investigated how three environmentalestrogens and one natural estrogen affected the final stageof sperm development that sperm needs to reach in order tobe able to fertilize an egg.
Some of the environmental estrogens they studied are in soyproducts, hops and legumes, while others are in syntheticcleaners, paints, herbicides and pesticides. The naturalestrogen they studied is found in the female vagina.
All the estrogens accelerated the development of immaturesperm at first. However, the three environmental estrogenschanged the fully mature sperm so that is was incapable offertilizing an egg. Fraser says, "At first sight theseresults might suggest that estrogens, particularly thosefound in the environment, could help fertility. However, theresponses we have seen could have negative effects overtime?The sperm peak too soon, before they have found an eggto fertilize.? "There are many, many things in the environment that containthese chemicals that we don't even think about, but just useroutinely,? says Fraser. ?If you ate a lot of soya and dranka lot of beer you would expect the consequences to beenhanced for these individuals, but my suspicion is that lowconcentrations of three of four of these chemicals is likelyto have the effect."
Professor Ian Craft, director of the London FertilityCenter, says, "These findings don't surprise me at all. Manythings in the environment probably have an adverse effect.It may be that we have to be much more aggressive about whatis allowed to be used among humans?There is nothing worsethan trying to start a family at 35, and finding that yoursperm count is low."
If you live a clean life and stay away from chemicals, youmay end up with an Indigo or two. To learn how to handlethem, read ?The Indigo Children? and ?An Indigo Celebration?by Lee Carroll and Jan Tober,click here.
To read why sex may be bad for you,clickhere. To read how pollution is affectingsperm,clickhere.
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