There’s an old saying that your home is your castle. It’s meant to be the kind of place where you can hang your hat and feel safe from the basic ravages of modern life. For a lot of couples, their home is also the place where they hope to have children and raise a family.
Yet new research has started to uncover that there are foods we consume, and other things in the home that can have a potentially significant impact on male fertility. The data also suggests this trend extends beyond human beings to include dogs and perhaps other animals that we share our home space with.
Fertility experts in the United States and abroad have become increasingly concerned by what appears to be a drastic decline in human male fertility. The research studies a broad span of time, yet it reveals a shocking trend that has emerged in sperm quality over the course of the last eight decades.
The team leading the research study found that there has been approximately a 50% decrease in sperm quality throughout many cultures around the world. Even more interesting than this alarming statistic is that the research struggles to understand why this is happening!
It’s also worth noting that a similar study was performed looking at dogs, which yielded an interesting clue. A team or researchers headquartered at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom found that sperm quality in many domestic dog breeds also showed a significant decrease in recent decades.
Something else that also helped set this research apart was that scientists could effectively trace back the sperm quality decreases in the sampled dog to various chemicals in the dogs’ environment as well as their common food sources. In some of these instances, the chemicals were even considered to be biologically dangerous.
This begs the question of just how much shared experience human males and human dogs had when it came to the presence of these potentially harmful chemicals in their food or their home environment.
Man’s Best Friend May Be An Early Indicator
A closer look at the body of research suggested that this very much could be the case. The research team specifically identified two human-made chemicals, which are commonly found in homes and the basic diets of men and male dogs. They were known to have a negative effect on both humans as well as dog sperm.
Taken in a certain light, this correlation makes sense. The old saying that dog is man’s best friend also lends to the fact that human beings and dogs kept as domestic pets share a lot of similar environmental factors. This basically means that the domestic dog is indeed a sentinel or salient indicator of the shocking decline in human male reproduction.
One key part of the study took sperm samples from 11 human males as well as 9 domestic dogs. All of them were from the same region and had similar environmental factors. In this segment, the researchers tested the effects of two man made chemicals.
What Chemicals Cause Sperm Quality Issues?
The first is commonly used plasticizer known as DEHP. This chemical compound is often found in things like carpeting, certain types of flooring, and textiles as well as some toys. The researchers noted that trace amounts of this dangerous chemical can potentially leach into our food and beverages.
The chemical compound they tested is known as polychlorinated biphenyl 153 or PB153. Technically it belongs to a special group of industrial chemicals which have been found to be persistent organic pollutants as far back as the late 1960s and into the 1970s.
The test specifically used concentration levels that can commonly be found in environments shared by human beings and dogs. The researchers carried out identical experiments for both human males as well as domestic dogs. In both subsets of the test, the result showed that things like sperm motility were reduced while there was also an increased fragmentation of the DNA carried by the sperm.
Admittedly, the study only had a small sample size. However, the data was still comparable with similar test results found in a 2016 study on domestic dogs. There were also past data sets in other past laboratory studies that found these chemicals to also be associated with adverse effects on human male fertility rates as well as sperm quality.
Taken as an amalgam the data from these studies show how these chemicals can impact human and canine sperm motility while also increasing the chances of DNA fragmentation. One could also extrapolate that human male infertility could be linked to increased levels of DNA damage in sperm produced by males in both species.
The belief is that because domestic dogs often share the same environment with humans, they are also exposed to the same dangerous household contaminants. This means that man’s best friend is indeed a biological bellwether vulnerable to the same kind of physiological issues.
While it’s unfortunate that our chemical engineering also affects our beloved pets, it does open up new doors to understanding the shared experiences between human beings and the animals we keep as companions. This type of research clearly points to how dogs can help us better understand we can how common sources of pollution can impact fertility.
How Common Are PCBs?
At this time, it’s not entirely clear what can be done about the problem. polychlorinated biphenyl 153 and other forms of PCBs are present everywhere in modern life. If you are living near a factory that is known for handling hazardous waste with possible PCB contamination, your exposure risk is certainly higher.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that PCBs can enter the human body when we eat contaminated foods. In some cases, it can be transmitted through touch, or even carried in the air near sites of high contamination.
PCB’s can also leach from certain plastic water bottles and other containers into the beverages we consume. It might be possible to limit your PCB intake by using a stainless steel water bottle or taking the time to seek out a plastic water bottle that has been certified as being free of PCBs.
Source – Science Alert