Obesity can be passed to Children through father’s sperm
Researchers in Denmark have found that fathers can pass down obesity heritable information contained in their sperm. According to the study, a man’s weight affects his sperm’s genetic makeup and could lead to a predisposition to obesity in his children, according to findings published in the journal Cell Metabolism that I spent better of weekend reading.The five-year study undertaken by Dr. Romain Barres of the University of Copenhagen has revealed that the sperm of thin and obese men have different genetic markers, that could change gene behavior in the body.The study offer genetic clues that may explain how children born from overweight fathers tend to become obese themselves.A man’s weight has the ability to affect the kind of “epigenetic information” carried by the sperm. The team analysed the sperm of 13 lean men and 10 overweight men. They found that epigenetic markers varied in the obese men’s sperm, especially the ones responsible for brain function and development. Dr Romain Barres believes it is wrong for health advice not to drink alcohol, to stay away from pollutants, to eat a balanced diet, etc. to be exclusively targeted at women during pregnancy. Dr Barres says it is also important for men to adopt a healthy lifestyle before a child is conceived.To reach that conclusion, the researchers also looked into the sperm of six overweight men who underwent surgical weight loss treatments to see if such procedures can affect the epigenetic markers in the sperm.
Their findings were the same when they compared 13 slender men who had a Body Mass Index of less than 30 with 10 moderately obese men.No scientific study has explained how these changes occur. However, the researchers found a link between these genetic changes and the genes which control the appetite and the brain. An average of 5,000 DNA structural variations were discovered in the sperm cells. These changes occurred before and after the surgery. “Our research could lead to changing behavior, particularly pre-conception behavior of the father,” said Dr. Barrès, who added that the health implications and recommendations during pregnancy could also be directed towards men.In simpler terms, a man’s weight can influence the health of his children, in particular whether they have a predisposition to obesity. Dr. Barres said “Until we know more, would-be parents should just aim to be as healthy as possible at the time of conception and not be drawn to faddy diets or other activities in order to try and influence the health of their children in ways we don’t properly understand.”To undertake further research into this change in the sperm’s genetic makeup, Dr Barres lab is now working with a fertility clinic to study the genetic differences in embryos that must be discarded and can be used in research after 5 years, under Danish law, resulting from the sperm of men of different weight.
Once the researchers have accumulated a large number of participants, they will be able to issue new comparative data after studying the cord blood of the children that each of the men fathered.Several health experts have in the past commended the study for being the first to indicate that the nutrition and environment of fathers can affect their children’s future health. An American research team is said to be gearing up for a follow-up study to analyse human embryos born from the sperm of men with varying body weights.These findings releases comes hot on heels of a study published last week that warned bulging obesity crisis is set to deliver an unexpected new problem of supersized newborns across the World. Of cause that is already happening.Experts also warned close to 50 per cent of expectant mothers are either overweight or obese, which puts their babies at high risk of foetal macrosomia being overly large.The large size can lead to a wide spread of potential birth defects and developmental abnormalities and that the problem of overly-large babies will grow unless women ignore the common misconception they are “eating for two” and maintain a healthy diet and exercise plan throughout their pregnancy.The issue is somehow disguised because many of such women are being induced early due to complications caused by obesity.If they went full-term, their babies would be even heavier.You can read Dr. Romain Barres study analysis here.