Do testes have taste buds? A TikTok experimental challenge, viral over the last few days, might have got you confused and concerned, after a user presented an open challenge to the web.
Last week, Regan, who goes by the user name 'crynginginthecar', quoted a Daily Mail article from 2013, that stated that testes have taste receptors, which enable them to detect sweet flavours.
When Regan openly sought an answer to her curiosity, “If you have testicles please dip your balls in something, it’s for science and I must know,” in no time TikTok users thronged to the platform to take up the challenge.
Among the many Gen Z(s) taking up the challenge, one of the firsts was Alx James, who made a video of applying drops of soy sauce onto his testes and eventually screamed in excitement, "Stop. Hold on now, oh my God, I can taste the salt!” adding to his own suprise, “That’s ridiculous.”
While this took off the platform with many dipping their private parts and experiencing the 'similar' taste, an itch to know whether you can really taste through your testes lead to a fact-finding. And to your disappointment, your testes are ultimately testes and not tongues!
According to HuffPost, a study that was published in the journal Molecular Human reproduction in 2013, stated that even though male testes do have taste receptors, they aren't same as taste buds. In fact, taste receptors are also found in the "digestive system, respiratory system, brain and spermatozoa" and have their respective biological roles to play.
Taking a jibe at how the Internet rolls with any trend and fact, Dr Emma Beckett, a food and nutritionist scientist from the University of Newcastle in Australia said, "SCIENTISTS: Taste receptors are everywhere (true fact!) THE INTERNET: I'm going to dip my balls in food!"
SCIENTISTS: Taste receptors are everywhere (true fact!)— Dr Emma Beckett (@synapse101) January 21, 2020
THE INTERNET: I'm going to dip my balls in food!
Emma further explained that the taste receptors down there are called, "gustatory cortex", which for sure are not connected to the "taste centre in the brain".
In a further engagement with the subject of how 'taste' functions in the testes, HuffPost found that apparently, the receptors "function inside the balls to sweet and savory tastes like and umami," which are essential to identify the compounding proteins in sperm production.
Hence, the testes “respond to ‘tastes’ as ‘chemical’ substances to decide whether to make more or less sperm and testosterone,” and function differently from the taste buds of tongue, which help us to choose whether a food is edible or not.
But the question still might remain, whether people, who dipped their testes into soy sauce, lied about their excitement of a taste?
Well, it might be just "sensory overload," according to the report.
Speaking to the publication, another user, who took up the trending challenge, said, “It may have just been my senses becoming heightened due to the fact I was putting my balls in an unfamiliar place, but I did feel a strange sensation as soon as they touched the sauce.”
He further admitted that the smell alone may have tricked him into thinking that he "could taste it" and also a slight temperature change on the skin could have been a "confounding variable".