Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Male Infertility: the developmental stages of sperm

By Sasheen Pottinger

Infertility is a major concern in our society and individuals ask themselves, “Am I cursed or what have I done wrong to be punished in this way?” The truth of the matter is that human beings are killing their sex cells by what they eat. I will give a brief definition of free radicals that will help you to better understand how what you eat affects your sex cells.

Let’s begin. Free radicals are bonds that split in such a way that one molecule odd is left unpaired with electron. When weak bonds split, free radicals are formed. Free radicals are very unstable and react quickly with other compounds, trying to capture the needed electron to gain stability. Generally, free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule "stealing" its electron. When the "attacked" molecule loses its electron, it becomes a free radical, beginning a chain reaction. Once the process is started, it can cascade, resulting in the disruption of a living cell. In its simplest form, visualize a relationship in a rough patch. Two individuals (an electron and a proton) are arguing all the time and there is a close friend (a neutron) in the middle of this dysfunctional relationship. The neutron sees this as a gateway to get in a relationship with an electron because electrons always complain about their unhappiness with protons. A Neutron then takes electron in its arms and provides the electron with a happy home. As a result, the electron once again becomes stable and happy. A Proton, on the other hand, is very unhappy and uneven because it lost its electron, so the Proton will search for another electron to once again join partnership. However, if the proton never gets that void filled, it will go in search of an electron to satisfy its need causing problems in its environment until it finally manages to steal someone’s partner, that is, another electron. If you can see this cycle, your understanding of free radicals will almost be as good as that of a biologist. In short, the process free radicals undergo is quite simple. For example, if an element in your body is unstable, it will search for an electron to bond and become stable.

You might be wondering: “How do I produce free radicals and where do free radicals come from?” Normally, free radicals are produced during metabolism when chemicals in our body are performing their daily tasks. Sometimes the cells in the immune system purposely create free radicals to neutralize viruses and bacteria. That is, free radicals reduce bacteria to its simplest form which in turn make them inactive. Other environmental factors that contribute to the production of free radicals are pollution, radiation, and cigarettes, which spawn free radicals. For instance, our mitochondria produce free radicals; however, the Prx3 protein inside the mitochondria neutralizes these free radicals and breaks them down to water molecules. But an excessive amount of free radicals can result in tissue damage such as the respiratory system as well as cellular dysfunctions. Remember, free radicals are produced by a free electrons looking to share and become complete, whereas the UV rays from the sun produce free radicals by accelerating their production in an unnatural process that results in an excess.

How does this contribute to infertility?

Well, during the process of spermatogenesis, the creation of sperm cells, free radicals affects the stages development of mature sperm cells. If the maturity of sperm is affected, then it’s impossible for that sperm to fertilize. Studies have been conducted in labs throughout the United States and scientists have found that spermatogenesis is affected by free radicals. Now, relax, take a deep breath, there is no need to panic because regardless of what we do, we cannot escape free radicals. However, we can neutralize them and let them become stable and happy.
In addition, scientists have used fruit fly (drosophila melanogaster) as a specimen to study the effects of an excess of free radicals. The fruit fly has been used as specimen because its protein and ribonucleic acid (RNA) are homologous, similar in chemical composition, to that of human beings by 80% to 90%. Therefore, the datum are reliable in determining a male’s fertility stage.
How do I protect my body from free radicals?

Vitamin E is the most abundant fat-soluble antioxidant in the body. Consequently, Vitamin E is one of the most efficient chain-breaking antioxidants available; it’s the primary defender against oxidation and lipid peroxidation. That is, the creation of unstable molecules containing more oxygen than usual. Furthermore, it aids in stabilizing free-radical formations caused by pollution and cigarette smoke. Also helps return vitamin E to its active form. Because antioxidants are proven to reduce free radicals, the best way to ensure adequate intake of the antioxidant nutrients is through a balanced diet consisting of 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Normally, the body can handle free radicals, but if antioxidants are unavailable, or if the free-radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur. Free radical damage can be reduced with antioxidants. The vitamins C and E protect the body against the destructive effects of free radicals. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons, ending the electron-"stealing" reaction.

If you have any question about this paper, please feel free to leave a comment ,and I will return an answer as soon as I possibly can.

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