A new study shows Dad’s diet and health pre-conception can also have a large impact on baby’s long-term health since he contributes half the genetic information.
Everyone knows Mom’s diet and health can seriously affect baby’s development both in and out of the womb. A new study suggest Dad’s diet and health pre-conception can also have a large impact on baby’s long-term health since he contributes half the genetic information.
Researchers from Montreal’s McGill University challenged prior research emphasizing a mother’s intake of folate or vitamin B9 as prevention for miscarriages and birth defects while ignoring a father’s pre-conception intake of folate.
The team divided male mice into two groups – one group received a folate-deficient diet, and the other group, as well as the mothers, a balanced diet with folate. Their babies were studied for defects.
Results showed a 30 percent increased risk for birth defects when inheriting from the folate-deficient mice. Also, those same mice had a greater chance of infertility.
Researchers need to confirm these results in humans. But if problems can start pre-conception, men could reverse damage to their sperm by eating healthy even just a few months before conceiving.
The study’s epigenetics expert Dr. Sarah Kimmins advises a change in cultural thinking and says, “Men are not just responsible for their own health. They’re also responsible for the health of their offspring. I think this warrants a much closer look, because it’s a very quick route to intervention and prevention.”