We can all imagine that glorious race, the race that has created everything and everyone around us. We are speaking, of course about the race of sperms to the female egg. A single sperm will compete like there’s no tomorrow to get that first place and fertilize the egg before all the others, and once he’s at the outer edge of the egg, it’s pretty much done, one little push and he’s in and has accomplished his single greatest life goal. But what if the arrival at the outer shell of the egg is not enough? What if that little push becomes an impossible feat for that little sperm?
- Well, that little story would be the desired result of a recent study made by researchers at UC Berkeley. In an attempt to create a new male contraceptive, the team started looking at ways of hindering sperm’s advance by sabotaging its supply lines.
- In short, sperm gets the energy that allows it to penetrate the egg’s walls through what is called an ion channel, which is the pathway that delivers calcium to the sperm giving it that ability for an extra push to get in the egg. In this research, the scientists were able to find two natural compounds that would clog the path and stop calcium from passing through the ion channel.
- The two miracle elements are Lupeol and Pristimerin. Lupeol is a natural agent found in strawberry and olives which has previously shown its benefits in treating inflammations. While Pristimerin is part of many Chinese medicines that treat arthritis.
Combined, these two elements make a very powerful compound that can allegedly block the fertilization in very low concentrations. This could prove to be a much awaited solution to one of humanity’s oldest problems. As each of the current choices have a few drawbacks such as an imperfect success rate, a hormonal or toxic body response as well as various side effects. The team leading the research is convinced that the combination is non-toxic, non-hormonal and that it could work at extremely small concentrations.