Monday, September 17, 2012

Dads And Nutrition

We get a lot of things from our parents.  Up until recently, scientists and health experts put a lot of stress on expectant mothers, take folic acid during child bearing years, watch your calcium, keep your weight in a healthy range, don't smoke.  It seemed like the male counterpart could partake in whatever desires they wished.  New research in epigenetics from an article in The New York Times discusses the quality of a man's sperm in reproduction.

"Doctors have been telling men for years that smoking, drinking and recreational drugs can lower the quality of their sperm. What doctors should probably add is that the health of unborn children can be affected by what and how much men eat; the toxins they absorb; the traumas they endure; their poverty or powerlessness; and their age at the time of conception. In other words, what a man needs to know is that his life experience leaves biological traces on his children. Even more astonishingly, those children may pass those traces along to their children."

Christina Hultman of the Karolinska Institute of Sweden published a meta-analysis of a population study of a million people in 2011.  It concluded that men who had children over the age of 50 were 2.2 times more susceptible to have children with autism than men who were 29, this had also factored out mothers' ages and known risk factors for the condition.  By the age of 55, the risk of autism increases to 4.4 times.

"Aging, though, is only one of the vicissitudes of life that assault a man’s reproductive vitality. Think of epigenetics as having ushered in a new age of sexual equality, in which both sexes have to worry about threats to which women once felt uniquely exposed."

Read the full article from The New York Times here.