Dads who eat a poor diet risk damaging sperm and having kids prone to obesity, says new research
We all know the importance of piling our plates high with nutritious foods - but new research has shown how important it is for men, in particular, to eat well.
According to The Sunday Times, scientists have revealed that future dads who consume a poor diet risk damaging their sperm, which can in turn mean they one day have children who are more likely to be obese and have diabetes.
Low-quality meals - which are devoid of essential vitamins and minerals - can damage RNA molecules, according to findings to be presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
These are crucial for helping sperm swim towards an egg in order for it to be fertilised and become a healthy foetus.
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It had been thought that these molecules served only to carry instructions to cells.
However, now researchers believe that they play a role in the health of the foetus - and can influence whether a newborn will go on to suffer from metabolic disease.
“Sperm RNA is increasingly recognised as an additional source of paternal hereditary information beyond DNA,” explained Professor Qi Chen, from the University of California, in an abstract.
“Environmental inputs, including an unhealthy diet, mental stresses and toxin exposure, can reshape the sperm RNA signature.”
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Previously, it had been thought DNA was solely responsible for the attributes passed by men and women onto their children.
Since it is a self-repairing molecule, it was suggested people’s lifestyles would have a limited effect on their offspring.
However, the scientists have discovered evidence to the contrary - and that damage from smoking, bad foods and alcohol could be inherited.
It comes at it was revealed that gentle exercise could “cut in half” risk of prostate cancer.
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New research from the World Cancer Research Fund and Cancer Research UK has discovered significant benefits to men remaining active throughout their lives.
The study looked at the movement levels of 79,148 men who have prostate cancer, and 61,106 who didn’t.
Experts stated that light exercise like gardening and walking can have a “far larger” impact than previously thought.
The accuracy of the study findings were bolstered by the fact that experts looked at individuals’ DNA sequence to determine activity levels, rather than simply relying on what they claimed they did.
“Our findings suggest that the more active you are, the better. We would recommend that men are as physically active as they can be,” said Dr Sarah Lewis, study author from Bristol Medical School.