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Celery, the vegetable of lust?

Celery, the vegetable of lust?
According to hundreds of websites, men become more attractive to women if they eat celery. Celery is said to contain substances that are released through the skin, spread through the air and subtly change the psychology of women. It sounds extremely improbable, but it is not completely nonsensical.

According to the respective websites, celery, like truffles, contains hormone-like substances that chemists call pheromones. Pheromones are metabolites of hormones such as DHEA, androstenedione, testosterone and DHT that originate in the body, are released through the skin and then evaporate. Pheromones play a prominent role in reproductive behavior in quite a few animals, and humans may respond to them as well, dozens of studies have suggested.

Celery, the vegetable of lust?

Pig farmers use sprays with the pheromone androstenone to increase, er, their livestock's willingness to produce new pigs. Smart entrepreneurs put the same androstenone in products for men who are concerned about their chances on the relationship market.

How the body biosynthesizes pheromones is shown below. Click on the figure for a larger version.

Celery, the vegetable of lust?

Fungi and plants
Some organisms that do not produce testosterone or estradiol still produce androstenone or its metabolites. Truffles, for example. According to research from the 20th century, a gram of truffle contains 40-60 nanograms of 3-alpha-androstenol. [Experientia (1981) volume 37, pages 1178-9.]

A traditional way to detect truffles that grow underground is to have them detected by pigs with a remarkable interest in making small pigs. Recently, however, many truffle seekers have switched to trained dogs. Pigs prefer to eat the truffles themselves than to give them to humans.

In the late 1970s, German biochemists at the Technical University of Munchen found both androstenone and its active metabolite 3-alpha-androstenol in celery and parsnip. Parsnips are a less known vegetable, which is closely related to the common carrot.

Celery, the vegetable of lust?

However, the amount of pheromone in the vegetables is low, according to the Germans. "Concentrations are in the range of 8 nanograms / gram plant," they write. However, in human experiments, researchers use doses of tens to hundreds of micrograms.

1000 nanograms = 1 microgram.

The effect of celery will not be so great...

Experientia. 1979;35(12):1674-75.

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