Khat linked to sperm production

By Alfa · Jul 5, 2004 · ·
  1. Alfa


    Long thought to be linked to male impotence, khat - the succulent
    green crop widely grown and chewed in Kenya and locally referred to as
    miraa-is now said to boost men's sperm production.

    Researchers at King's College in London say they have established that
    a chemical found in khat in Kenya could, contrary to the widely held
    belief, boost the power of men's sperms.

    However, researchers at the British university still maintain that a
    prolonged consumption of miraa may actually damage the sperm.

    The findings, published by the British Broadcasting Corporation's
    (BBC) online health desk, will undoubtedly raise debate within the
    local research community, crop growers and drug regulators.

    In the study, controlled laboratory tests found that treated sperm
    became fertile faster and stayed fertile longer than untreated sperm.

    Invariably referred to as the "green gold" for the lucrative trade it
    oils in Kenya, miraa is a controversial mild narcotic, producing a

    "high" when chewed, but its use has been linked to long-term problems.

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  1. Alfa

    A chemical found in the khat plant could boost the power of men's
    sperm, researchers have found.

    Lab tests by King's College London found treated sperm became fertile
    faster, and stayed fertile for longer, than untreated sperm.

    Khat is mild narcotic, producing a high when chewed, but its use has
    been linked to long-term problems.

    The study was presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction
    and Embryology conference in Berlin.

    The researchers say their findings could lead to products to help
    couples conceive.

    Chewing khat leaves, which is particuarly popular in parts of East
    Africa, releases cathinone, a stimulant that produces the feelings of
    euphoria linked with the plant.

    When cathinone is broken down in the body, it produces chemicals
    including cathine and norephedrine, which have a similar structure to
    amphetamines and adrenaline.

    The researchers from the Centre for Reproduction, Endocrinology and
    Diabetes at King's College examined the effect of cathine on mouse

    They found that the chemical accelerated the development of sperm, so
    it reached the stage where it was fertile more quickly.

    It then remained in this stage for longer than normal.

    This is important because, when sperm meets an egg, it needs to
    connect using a "lock and key" system.

    If is past its 'peak', and its membranes are no longer intact, sperm
    will not have its part of this mechanism, meaning fertilisation cannot
    take place.


    Early tests on human sperm suggest it is affected by cathine in the
    same way.

    Other studies in rabbits have shown chewing khat leaves could also
    increased sperm production.

    However, there is some concern that prolonged use could actually
    damage sperm.

    Around seven tonnes of khat leaves are estimated to be imported into
    the UK each week.

    The Home Office is currently investigating the plant's long-term
    health effects, following concern it may be linked to heart and mental
    health problems.

    It is due to report later this year.

    'Not a high dose'

    The researchers say they will now carry out more analysis of human

    Lynn Fraser, Professor of Reproductive Biology at King's College
    London, told BBC News Online: "It might be relatively easy to develop

    "Compounds related to the ones we studied are being used in
    over-the-counter and prescription medicines, for dietary treatments
    and asthma."

    "And the amount that's required isn't that high, so it's not a
    question of taking very high doses and therefore becoming

    She said khat-based products could be used to help couples who are
    having trouble conceiving naturally, and in clinics as additives to
    sperm used in IVF or artificial insemination.

    Professor Fraser said if the research on cathine improving sperm
    production was proven: "We could give it to men to improve sperm
    production, and to women because it is in the female reproductive
    tract that the sperm go through this process to become fertile."
  2. betsym
    There is more help on the way for male impotence which could also certainly help sperms get where they are supposed to go.Skip navigation

    Gene therapy may relieve impotence

    Reuters Health

    Monday, December 11, 2006

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A small pilot study shows that gene therapy might help men with erectile dysfunction.

    The gene in question is dubbed hSlo (for the human slowpoke gene), which encodes a protein that relaxes smooth muscle and allows blood flow into the penis, researchers report in the medical journal Human Gene Therapy. In order for the gene to be administered to patients, it is incorporated into a packet of DNA called a plasmid.

    The results of the early-stage trial, lead investigator Dr. Arnold Melman told Reuters Health, "suggest that the technology worked. We have shown that we could give a safe vector, naked DNA, and the hSlo gene and obtain an expected physiological response without transfer-related side effects."

    Melman, at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the Bronx, New York and colleagues studied 11 patients with erectile dysfunction, which was associated with diabetes or cardiovascular disease in about half of the cases. The subjects were given a single injection ranging from 500 to 7500 micrograms of the hSlo plasmid into the corpus cavernosum of the penis and monitored for 24 weeks.

    No serious adverse effects were seen, and patients given the two highest doses had sustained improvements in erectile function. One patient at each of these dosing levels reported improvements that were highly clinically significant and were maintained over the whole study period.

    The researchers note that the goal of the study was to establish the safety of the procedure and no conclusions about efficacy can be drawn, although the results are highly encouraging. The "final proof will be obtained in the larger placebo-controlled trials to follow," Melman said.

    SOURCE: Human Gene Therapy, December 2006.

    Reuters Health

    Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

    More News on this Date

    Related MedlinePlus Pages:

    Erectile Dysfunction
    Genes and Gene Therapy

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  3. Sitbcknchill
    Remind me to stay faaaarrrrr faaaarrrrr away from the khat plant. My God thats horrific ;)

    More power to the people who want to have babies...

    Go sperm go!!!!

    A little wiki chem backround regarding Khat:


    The stimulant effect of the plant was originally attributed to cathine, a phenethylamine-type substance isolated from the plant. However, the attribution was disputed by reports showing the plant extracts from fresh leaves contained another substance more behaviorally active than cathine. In 1975, the related alkaloid cathinone was isolated, and its absolute configuration was established in 1978. Cathinone is not very stable and breaks down to produce cathine and norephedrine. These chemicals belong to the PPA (phenylpropanolamine) family, a subset of the phenethylamines related to amphetamines and the catecholamines epinephrine and norepinephrine.

    Khat consumption induces mild euphoria and excitement. Individuals become very talkative under the influence of the drug and may appear to be unrealistic and emotionally unstable. Khat can induce manic behaviors and hyperactivity. Several cases of khat-induced psychosis have been reported in the literature. Khat is an effective anorectic and its use also results in constipation. Dilated pupils (mydriasis), which are prominent during khat consumption, reflect the sympathomimetic effects of the drug, which are also reflected in increased heart rate and blood pressure. A state of drowsy hallucinations (hypnagogic hallucinations) may result coming down from khat use as well. Withdrawal symptoms that may follow prolonged khat use include lethargy, mild depression, nightmares, and slight tremor. Long term use can precipitate the following effects: negative impact on liver function, permanent tooth darkening (of a greenish tinge), susceptibility to ulcers, and diminished sex drive. Khat is usually not an addictive drug, although there are some people who cannot stay without it for more than 4-5 days. They feel tired and have difficulty concentrating.
  4. duncdunc68
    Miraa, what has become of you, does anybody else in here , feel the way I do?
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