A new study indicates that the diet of the father determines the cardiovascular health of the kids. According to the study, lack of protein in a man’s diet can affect the quality of his sperms, which can, in turn, affect the cardiovascular health of his kids in the long run.
Experts of the University of Nottingham’s School of Medicine carried out an experiment on mice for the study and published it in The Journal of Physiology. In the course of their experiment, the experts fed male mice food that lacked protein and later found that the functions of blood cells impaired in their young ones.
For the study, the experts divided the mice into two groups. While one group was fed diet with a normal level of protein (18% protein), the other was fed diet with a poor level of protein (9% protein). This procedure was carried out for a duration of a minimum of 7 weeks before their conception. The result showed that the group fed with normal protein level diet bore healthy fetuses, whereas the group that was fed lower protein level diet bore fetuses with impaired blood vessel formation.
The lack of protein in diet alters the genetic information carried in the sperms, causing a changed way of blood vessels to form in the developing fetuses that can affect their cardiovascular health. The study also showed that seminal plasma, fluid in which sperms are carried, also influenced the cardiovascular health of the young ones.
Lead author of the study, assistant professor Dr. Adam Watkins, said, “Our findings indicate that a poor quality paternal low-protein diet may have altered the genetic information carried in the sperm or the composition of the seminal plasma. Our study shows that a father’s diet at the time of conception may affect how the blood vessels form, which then leads to permanent changes in how the blood vessels work, resulting in ‘programmed cardiovascular ill-health in his offspring. These findings are significant for people’s health, as it shows that some conditions are attributed to a disturbance in early development processes that can be affected by a father’s diet.”