I’ve got a key piece of research to share with you today that you might want to know about…
Many years ago, I wrote an extensive article about the dangers of BPA, a xeno-estrogenic chemical used in plastic and more.
It features this scary quote from Frederick vom Saal, Biology Professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, “A poison kills you. A chemical like BPA reprograms your cells and ends up causing a disease in your grandchild that kills him.”
How it does that is largely through hormonal changes.
Which is why I was extra intrigued when I came across this bit of research on Cistanche. It’s just a rat study, but may point in a helpful direction nonetheless.
In much research they torture the animals. Well, it’s not called that, but that’s essentially what it amounts to as they purposefully induce toxicity in order to help see if they can stop said toxicity.
In this one they used BPA for its toxic effects.
BPA exposure causes a significant decrease in sperm motility, viability, and concentration, as well as testicular damage and decreased testosterone levels.
Please note that the research is clear on this part, that this doesn’t just occur in rats.
(Oh and looking for BPA-free doesn’t necessarily help you as in many cases they simply swap out BPA for its equally dangerous cousins BPS or BPF.)
Back to this study. The researchers divided the rats into six groups and exposed them to various combinations of BPA, Echinacoside (one of the main constituents of Cistanche), and Cistanche tubulosa for 56 days. They then assessed the animals’ sperm quality, testicular morphology, and steroid hormone levels.
However, those given Cistanche significantly improved in these parameters.
A lot of these effects happened through the changes in expressions of key enzymes, such as steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), 3β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and others.
BPA exposure significantly reduced the expression of these enzymes, while Cistanche significantly increased their expression levels.
The researchers concluded that Echinacoside and Cistanche tubulosa have protective effects against BPA-induced testicular and sperm damage in male rats. They suggest that these effects may be due to the upregulation of steroidogenic enzyme expression, which restores testosterone synthesis and improves sperm quality.
It’s just a rat study…but maybe, just maybe, some similar effects can be seen in humans too.
Wouldn’t you like protection from BPA, as well as the whole host of other endocrine disrupting chemicals out there?
I sure would. Even if Cistanche didn’t help with BPA specifically, there are so many other benefits which is why it’s one of our top selling herbs.
Jiang, Z., Wang, J., Li, X., & Zhang, X. (2016). Echinacoside and Cistanche tubulosa (Schenk) R. wight ameliorate bisphenol A-induced testicular and sperm damage in rats through gonad axis regulated steroidogenic enzymes. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 193, 321–328.
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