In this era we focus our attention completely towards pregnant mother to improve health of child. Even before the pregnancy much attention is given towards how healthy potential mother is or there are always comments about women’s ability to carry healthy pregnancy once she is of child bearing age. I guess that is Indian culture but how often we have seen a man of child bearing age has been advised for living healthy life style. Over last decade or so, number of studies has now linked nutritional status of father to child’s metabolism and health. For example, collaborative study conducted at National Cancer Institute, Maryland, USA and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, North Carolina, USA using mice showed that restricting the food intake of males before two weeks of sexual mating resulted in decrease in blood glucose levels and abnormal changes in corticosterone (stress related hormone) and insulin-like growth factor in newborns compared to males who were on regular fortified diet before sexual mating (Anderson et al., 2006). There are number of studies done in humans and laboratory animal model has shown that consumption of betel nuts (Supari) (contains nitrosamines) by male partner is linked with incidences of hyperglycemia and other metabolic complications in their children (Lin et al., 2008, Chen et al., 2006, Boucher et al., 1994).
Transmission of diseased condition from father to child is not only limited to imbalance in nutrition but addiction to various drugs, alcohol and smoking also responsible for making child susceptible for more devastating brain damages and behavioral complications in future. For example, studies conducted at University of Minnesota showed that single alcohol exposure by male mice before sexual mating resulted in more aggressive behavior in their offspring compared to control group offspring whose father did not consume alcohol (Meek et al., 2007). Taken together, these studies provide strong evidence that the exposure of males to unhealthy diet, drugs and habit forming substances can lead to behavioral changes in child via sperms of father.
- Anderson LM, Riffle L, Wilson R, Travlos GS, Lubomirski MS, Alvord WG. Preconceptional fasting of fathers alters serum glucose in offspring of mice. Nutrition. 2006;22:327–31
- Lin WY, Chiu TY, Lee LT, Lin CC, Huang CY, Huang KC. Betel nut chewing is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in Taiwanese men. Am J Clin Nutr.2008;87:1204–11
- Chen TH, Chiu YH, Boucher BJ. Transgenerational effects of betel-quid chewing on the development of the metabolic syndrome in the Keelung Community-based Integrated Screening. Program Am J Clin Nutr. 2006
- Boucher BJ, Ewen SW, Stowers JM. Betel nut (Areca catechu) consumption and the induction of glucose intolerance in adult CD1 mice and in their F1 and F2 offspring. Diabetologia. 1994;37:49–5
- Meek LR1, Myren K, Sturm J, Burau D. Acute paternal alcohol use affects offspring development and adult behavior. Physiol Behav. 2007 May 16;91(1):154-60
- James P. Curley, Rahia Mashoodh, and Frances A. Champagne. Epigenetics and the Origins of Paternal Effects. Horm Behav. 2011 Mar; 59(3): 306–314