[New Study] Having Healthy Children – Essential Steps For Men

We now know that the behavior of a person’s genes doesn’t just depend on their DNA sequence but also on epigenetic factors.


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Unlike our DNA sequence which is largely stable within an individual, the epigenome can be dynamically altered by environmental conditions.

The epigenome does not change the DNA… but it does help to determine … how much and which genes are expressed in different cells of the body. This has major effects on every aspect of our being.

We now understand that gene expression is due influenced by our lifestyle choices! 

Our body contains an estimated 37 trillion cells which contain DNA, but they do not do anything with the DNA without instructions. Our genes get these instructions from the epigenome.

Virtually any step of gene expression can be modified.

Certain lifestyle choices can cause genes to be silenced or expressed over time. In other words, genes can be turned off (become dormant) or turned on (become active).

Our lifestyle choices affect our genetic expression.

But not only that!

Epigenetic tags on the DNA, can be passed down to our offspring.

So, in fact our current lifestyle choices affect the health of our children and grandchildren.

According to a new study published this week, Phthalates found in shaving cream and other hygiene products and food packaging and other plastics affect sperm concentration and movement, and increase sperm DNA damage and even death thereby lowering reproductive success.

In this study, researchers linked high levels of phthalates in male urine samples with epigenetic changes in the DNA of the subjects’ sperm proving that the fathers environmental health contributes to reproductive success.

Phthalates are estimated to be detectable in nearly 100 percent of the US population.

Semen samples from men with higher urinary concentrations of phthalate metabolites were associated with epigenetic marks on 131 regions of sperm DNA.

The researchers found many of these regions affected the function of genes related to growth, development and basic cellular function.

Sperm matures in a 72-day process.

This preconception time-period may represent an important developmental window by which environmental exposures may influence sperm epigenetics, and in turn, early life development.

So in the same way mothers need to be extra careful during the preconception period, so do fathers!

Although the study was small, it provides a critical step towards our understanding of the contribution of fathers lifestyle choices in preconception for the reproductive success and offspring development.

During the preconception period, fathers should concentrate on eating a healthy diet, rich in nuts, vegetables and fruits and to quit smoking.

Through our unhealthy choices we could create new generations of disadvantaged people more susceptible to obesity, diabetes, post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer; and the list goes on.

But the good news is that Epigenetics Is Reversible. Through healthy lifestyle choices and more awareness, we can create a healthier generation with less risk for cancer, slower aging, less obesity, and so much more.


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  1. Haotian Wu, Molly S. Estill, Alexander Shershebnev, Alexander Suvorov, Stephen A. Krawetz, Brian W. Whitcomb, Holly Dinnie, Tayyab Rahil, Cynthia K. Sites, J. Richard Pilsner; Preconception urinary phthalate concentrations and sperm DNA methylation profiles among men undergoing IVF treatment: a cross-sectional study, Human Reproduction https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dex283


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