Their subjects were a group of 8-week-old male rats. Of these, 10 were given ordinary food for 20 days. [Control] Ten other rats got 0.5 g per kg bodyweight of onion juice, which was pumped into their stomachs using a tube. Another 10 rats were given the same treatment, but got 1 g/kg bodyweight/day.
The table below shows that after 20 days the onion juice had improved the sperm quality and increased the concentration of LH, FSHand testosterone in the rats’ blood.
Malondialdehyde is a mutagenic substance that is produced when free radicals damage the unsaturated fatty acids in cell membranes. The reduction in malondialdehyde concentrations that the researchers found indicates how the onion juice increases testosterone production: antioxidants in onion juice neutralise free radicals in the testes. The researchers suspect that the antioxidants in question are probably selenium compounds found in onions, and phenols such as quercetin and isorhamnetin [structural formulae shown above]. Isorhamnetin is also made in the body when enzymes convert quercetine with the help of S-adenosylmethionine.
The Iranian findings are not completely new. As long ago as 1967 an Egyptian researcher discovered that the testes of lab animals fed raw onion juice increase in size. At the moment there are quite a few animal studies which report that high doses of polyphenols like quercetin have a positive effect on the testes. But the effect of these is not as big as that of plain onion juice.
Evaluation of androgenic activity of allium cepa on spermatogenesis in the rat. Folia Morphol (Warsz). 2009 Feb; 68(1): 45-51.
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Originally published on 25.02.2010 at ergo-log.com