Friday, October 9, 2015

Paternal Contribution

It surprises some to find out that their father’s habits can impact his children and grandchildren, as well. The ALSPAC study showed that males who started smoking before age 11 (just before entering puberty and before they were producing sperm) influenced the health of their sons. By age nine, their boys had significantly higher body mass indexes (BMI). This considerably increased their risk of obesity and other serious health issues including a shortened lifespan. Since none of us influences what our parents and grandparents do or even what happens during our own gestation and for the first few years of life, some may feel hopeless. Nothing could be further from the truth. The science of epigenetics is hopeful. Dawson Church, PhD, author of The Genie in Your Genes, points out that epigenetics potentially can revolutionize your own health through the lifestyle you choose to live and its impact on gene suppression and/or activation. Note: After this epigenome digression (I find it completely fascinating!), next week I’ll get back to another layer that impacts your genome—your microbiome.

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