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Dad’s Diet Prior To Offspring’s Conception Is Important To Fetal Health

December 10, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
What a man eats prior to the conception of his child can impact fetal and child development, according to a Canadian study in mice. Researchers compared the offspring of fathers with insufficient folate (vitamin B9) in their diets with the offspring of fathers whose diets contained sufficient levels. Paternal folate deficiency was associated with an increase – as much as 30 percent – in birth defects of various kinds in the offspring, compared to the offspring of mice whose fathers ate sufficient folate. Adequate folate – found in green leafy vegetables, cereals, fruit and meats – in a mother’s diet has long been known to prevent miscarriages and birth defects. 
R. Lambrot et al., "Low paternal dietary folate alters the mouse sperm epigenome and is associated with negative pregnancy outcomes", Nature Communications, December 10, 2013, © Nature Publishing Group
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