Researchers have found an association between a vitamin found in leafy green vegetables, fruit and pulses  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. 
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.” 
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.” Pulses include foods such as beans, chickpeas and lentils.
 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
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences