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8 Jun

Is Sperm the New Superfood?

That might sound unusual, but scientists recently discovered that it’s actually a pretty handy dietary supplement — it has as many nutrients as a protein shake.



Is Sperm the New Superfood?

Carolyn Buchanan | Posted: June 6, 2013

southern bottletail squid

What provides plenty of protein and minerals and is easy to come by wherever there are men? Why, semen, of course!
In fact, it’s a pretty handy dietary supplement for perpetuating the species: Imagine being pregnant in a time or place when resources are scarce — how could you provide nourishment in utero? A daily dose of seminal fluid saves the day!
It sounds strange, but that’s what scientists recently discovered a particular species of female squid is doing. The southern bottletail squid, found around the Spencer Gulf in South Australia, bulks up on male squid ejaculate. According to new research from Monash University in Australia, female squids swallow male semen as a means of delivering nutrients to aid in the growth of their unfertilized eggs.
But as it turns out, the practice undermines the male squid. He has limited semen and his biological mission is to reproduce, so any ejaculate that the female consumes is a lost mating opportunity. “If a male produces an ejaculate that isn’t able to successfully compete in the egg fertilization race, he is essentially an evolutionary dead end,” researcher Benjamin Wegener explained.
Hmmm… it seems consumption of semen is not only nutritious, it could be considered amethod of birth control in a sense. And, it’s free.
Speaking of nutritious: Did you know that the average human ejaculation (3.4 mL) contains approximately the same amount of protein as the white of an egg? It also has trace amounts of nutrients including zinc, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B12. According to the Huffington Post, it actually has as many nutrients as a protein shake! (Of course, there are minor variations among individual donors.)
In fact, the researchers above wonder if semen sampling may be a method of selecting one’s mate, and have more questions to explore. “Are females using males as a food source or as a means to assess the quality of her partners? Are males even capable of using this feeding behavior to manipulate female reproduction? Hopefully future discoveries will uncover the answers,” Wegener said.
In the meantime, we’re not suggesting that humans consume semen — it’s simply interesting to note that the substance is practically a superfood!