Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


First study to investigate the effect of father’s diet on chromosomal abnormalities in sperm reveals link with folate ...

... - a vitamin B

Researchers have found an association between a vitamin found in leafy green vegetables, fruit and pulses [1] and levels of chromosomal abnormalities in men’s sperm. Men who consumed high levels of folate (a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in food) and folic acid (the synthetic form of the vitamin) tended to have lower levels of abnormal sperm where a chromosome had been lost or gained (known as aneuploidy).

Writing in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction, today (Thursday 20 March), the authors say estimates suggest that between 1-4% of sperm in a healthy man have some type of aneuploidy, but there are large variations among individuals, the mechanisms are poorly understood and little is known about the effects of men’s diet on their sperm. [2]

In the first study of its kind to investigate the relationship between sperm aneuploidy and paternal diet, they analysed sperm samples from 89 healthy, non-smoking men and questioned them about their daily total intake (from diet and from vitamin supplements) of zinc, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene.

One of the principal investigators of the study, Brenda Eskenazi, Professor of Maternal and Child Health and Epidemiology and Director of the Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, USA, said: “We found a statistically significant association between high folate intake and lower sperm aneuploidy: there was increasing benefit with increasing intake, and men in the upper 25th percentile who had the highest intake of folate between 722-1150 micrograms, had 20-30% lower frequencies of several types of aneuploidy compared with men with a lower intake.

“However, this study cannot prove that high folate intake caused the lower sperm aneuploidy levels, only that there is an association. This is the first study of its kind and the results indicate the need for further research, especially a randomised controlled trial, on this topic.”

The researchers found no consistent associations between intakes of zinc and the other vitamins and sperm aneuploidy.

Prof Eskenazi said: “While the importance of maternal diet on reproduction, especially folate intake, is well known, the results of our study suggest the importance of studying paternal nutrition when considering male-mediated developmental consequences. In previous studies, we and others have shown that paternal micronutrient intake may contribute to successful conceptions by improving the quality of the sperm. This study is the first to suggest that paternal diet may play a role after conception in the development of healthy offspring.” [3]

The current recommended daily intake (RDA) for men aged over 19 is 400 micrograms, and the authors say that if other studies confirm their findings of the link between folate intake and aneuploidy, then a possible intervention would be to increase the RDA for men considering becoming fathers for at least three months before trying to conceive in order to reduce the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in their children.

Ms Suzanne Young, a researcher in Prof Eskenazi’s group and the study co-ordinator, said: “Increasing folate intake can be as simple as taking a vitamin supplement with at least 400 micrograms of folate or eating breakfast cereal fortified with 100% of the RDA for folic acid. In addition, green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, can have up to 100 micrograms of folate per serving.”

Disentangling the effects of folate from other micronutrients (e.g. the other vitamins) can be difficult, but the authors think they have succeeded in doing this by looking at several different nutrients in statistical analyses. Ms Young said: “The results of the different analyses were different, which gave us some confidence that we could look at the effect of these micronutrients separately. The definitive way to answer this question would be with a randomised control trial with folate supplementation.”

[1] Pulses include foods such as beans, chickpeas and lentils.
[2] The association of folate, zinc and antioxidant intake with sperm aneuploidy in healthy non-smoking men. Doi:10.1093/humrep/den036

[3] Sperm aneuploidy can have a number of consequences ranging from failure to conceive, miscarriages or children born with conditions such as Down’s syndrome, Turner’s syndrome and Klinefelter’s syndrome.

Emma Mason | alfa
Further information:

Further reports about: Vitamin abnormalities aneuploidy chromosomal folate intake micronutrient paternal sperm

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>