In episode 86 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses:
Moms have a huge responsibility to maintain the health of their baby. The things that they are exposed to and the things they consume in their diet has an impact on the health of their children. For instance, omega 3 fatty acid consumption in pregnancy has been shown to help the brain health of a fetus, and the consumption of large amounts of gluten is tied to autoimmune conditions, as discussed in previous episodes. Those are all things to keep in mind if you are planning on getting pregnant or are currently pregnant.
Small lifestyle choices like moderate exercise were shown to change the genetic expression of the sperm to code for a change in the offspring leading to a decrease of risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. DR. CHAD LARSON
But men bear some responsibility too. All the choices that we make have the potential to affect the health of babies. A recently published study in Diabetes conducted by the Ohio State University College of Medicine separated males into two different groups. One group ate an unhealthy diet, and the other ate a healthy diet. The two groups were then divided into two more groups, one that led a sedentary lifestyle and one that engaged in moderate exercise. Researchers then tracked the health of the offspring.
The offspring of the dads who exercised had a significant improvement in their blood glucose metabolism or their blood sugar metabolism, they had a lower fat mass, and better body weight when compared to those born from the dads who did not exercise. Therefore, small lifestyle choices like moderate exercise were shown to change the genetic expression of the sperm to code for a change in the offspring leading to a decrease of risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Even within the unhealthy diet groups, there were sedentary dads and those that had moderate exercise. The exercise helped to unwind the negative consequences of an unhealthy diet. The exercise actually buffered the offset of a bad diet. Although it was a mouse model, because it is difficult to do that type of comprehensive examination in humans, it further proves what we already know.
Human males who are overweight have lower sperm counts, lower testosterone, lower sperm motility, and they have a slightly lower number of healthy live births. So, we already know there is some connection. Just a little bit of exercise, only three weeks for the mice, so about 4-6 weeks before conception in humans, can have major future implications on their offspring. Just one minor lifestyle change can forever alter the health of your baby.
It isn’t just a woman’s responsibility to develop a young child. Future dads have a responsibility to make sound lifestyle choices before they conceive as well. Women are born with all the eggs they will ever produce. Men are continually producing sperm, so by changing to moderate exercise just a couple of weeks before conception, they could improve the future health of a baby.