Tag Archives: Myths

Does drinking Mountain Dew lower sperm count?

Mountain Dew, the carbonated soft drink, is one of the flagship brands of PepsiCo. It was invented by two beverage bottlers in 1940 and underwent a few refinements since. The citrus soft drink is mostly popular among young men and enjoys large market share in its domain. However, it has also spawned an urban legend that the drinking of Mountain Dew lowers the sperm count in men.
This legend has an age of some years. The people who spread the belief attributed the fact to the presence of two of the drink’s ingredients: caffeine and the coloring agent Yello Dye No. 5. The caffeine content is high in Mountain Dew compared to other soft drinks, measuring at 55 mg per 12 oz. And the Yellow 5, also known as Tartrazine, is believed to play a major part. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this claim. A cup of coffee has 4 times of caffeine than in a bottle of Mountain Dew. If the soft drink causes lower sperm counts, the habitual coffee drinkers have more chances of it.
Several studies have come in support to the claim that the intake of caffeine has a relation to conception. They show that women who drink more than 3 cups of coffee per day show low fertility. But it is more attributed to the lifestyle of the people since those who consume more caffeine generally have a bad lifestyle.
In the case of Yellow 5, the chemical is used in many things such as ice cream. Very little of the substance is metabolized in our body. Studies have shown that it has no effects on sperm count while the increased consumption can be allergic.
Mountain Dew has been involved in a number of myths regarding the conception. It was said to cause impotency. According to some people, it would actually cause a man’s testicles to shrink. A different one states that the drink would cause the penis to shrivel. Despite the popularity of these rumors, they continue to be unfounded, with no scientific base to draw from.
The myth of Mountain Dew causing low sperm count has been very famous lately among teenagers. Many think the drink can be used as a good contraceptive in place of the relatively costlier condoms.
A lot of rumors stem from the fact that we can’t really determine the cause of a lower sperm count. Every human body is different. People respond differently to their diets and lifestyle. There is no concrete evidence to pinpoint the cause of low sperm count in some men, but can be speculated based on his lifestyles.
As far as the scientific world concerned, Mountain Dew will cause no low sperm count. It neither affects the penis or testicles anyway.

You might also like:

Is it true that Candiru fish can swim upstream into your urethra?

If you have ever heard of the Amazon River and rainforests, you would have heard about the Candiru fish as well. Like Piranha, this tiny little catfish is also a villain of many fearsome stories and a subject of dread among many people.
Also known as the pencil fish, the toothpick fish and the vampire fish, Candiru is a freshwater parasitic catfish found in the Amazon basin. It is a small species, which can only grow to 40 cm at most. However, the fish has developed notoriety, thanks to various stories claiming of it jumping to the people’s urethra.
The Candiru fish feeds on blood of the fish hosts. It attacks the gill opening and attaches itself to a blood vessel and slashes it. It feed on the blood coming out from the wound. It leaves the host after a few minutes of feeding.
The earliest account of Candiru attacking a human was made by German biologist Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius in 1829. In his report, Maritus told that the native people of the area would go into river with a protective cover around their genitals to prevent Candiru attack. Later many stories of the Candiru attack emerged, but most of them went unverified. In a number of cases, Candiru entered the vaginal canal, not the supposed urethra.
So far, there is only one documented incident of a Candiru entering a human urethra. The incident took place in 1997 at Itacoatiara, Brazil when a 23-year-old man reported that a Candiru jumped from the water into his urethra while he was urinating in a river. The man underwent a urological surgery by Dr. Anoar Samad to remove the fish from his body immediately. But there were many discrepancies in the story, as emerged in the observations of American marine biologist and Candiru expert Dr. Stephen Spotte.
There are a lot of factors that prove the stories surrounding Candiru to be just myths. The early doctors had speculated that the fish was attracted to urine because of the presence of urea. But experimental studies proved that it was a false assumption. The fish hunted by sight not smell. Another major myth was that it can swim directly up a stream of human urine. But according to the laws of fluid dynamics, this is impossible. The small fish can’t withstand both the gravity and the force of falling urine. And the act of entering the urethra is suicidal for the fish as well. With no oxygen or space, it won’t survive even a minute.
The Candiru fish is just another victim of the loose tongues and twisted minds. It is not attracted to human urine and neither has the tendency to enter the human urethra. The myth emerged from many false accounts of people over the years. Even the chance of the fish to attack when a person is urinating while submerged in a stream inhabited by Candiru is, just like Dr. Spotte stated, about the same as being struck by lightning while simultaneously being eaten by a shark.

You might also like:

Did medieval alchemists have magical powers to form gold out of cheaper metals?

The word ‘alchemist’ is derived from the Arabic expression al-Kimiya. Alchemy is supposed to be the technique of transmuting base metals — such as lead and mercury — into silver and gold by the philosopher’s stone, a hypothetical substance. Many stories and myths surround the alchemists of Europe and Middle East. Of course, they did not work magic, but relied on various experiments to produce precious metals. To achieve this grandiose aim, they tried to discover the properties of substances and understand their composition in order to manipulate them. Their interest lied mainly in transformation of metals.

Although they were dedicated investigators, for nearly 2,000 years they made virtually no progress in their efforts to comprehend the ways in which various substances are related. Nor did they know the internal composition of matter — much less realizing the fact that in the periodic table of chemical elements, the difference is only that of one proton. Eventually and inevitably, the alchemists failed and were jeered at in consequence. However, their efforts were not entirely fruitless, because they unwittingly contributed to the advancement of chemistry in a big way. In the process of their alchemy experiments, they discovered strong acids like hydrochloric acid, nitric acid and sulfuric acid. These substances are many times more useful than gold could possibly be. Remove these acids from the industrial scene, and most industries would cease to exist. Yet, no credit is given to the medieval alchemists for their invaluable contribution to chemistry.

Additional reading:
Alchemy (Wikipedia)

Related posts: