While various studies have shown the effects of maternal health on the offspring, very little is known and talked about regarding the impact of the father's health. A recent study from researchers at the University of Nottingham published in 'The Journal of Physiology', emphasised on the poor paternal diet that may have an impact on the heart health of the offspring by changing their seminal fluid, which bathes sperm. If you're an aspiring father who is planning to go on a crash diet, you may want to reconsider your decision as men on crash diets may be affected.
For the study, the researchers analysed the effect of low protein diets on both the sperm and seminal fluid of male mice. Later, the impact on offspring was studied. As per the findings of the study, the heart health of offspring was negatively impacted when there was a mismatch between the seminal fluid and the sperm, meaning that one was from a dad that had poor diet and the other from a dad with a normal diet, or vice versa. This is primarily because the quality of seminal fluid changes quickly, while sperm only changes after a few months. Hence, there might be a mismatch in the first few months of a diet, and this time may coincide with when they are trying to conceive. Therefore, you may be best off without the crash diets.
Based on this premise, couples using assistive reproductive technologies such as IVF may also face its implications as IVF uses only the sperm, which may result in a mismatch between the quality of sperm and seminal fluid.
"It is important that we understand how and why paternal diet impacts on the offspring, so we can suggest preventative measures for couples who are trying to conceive, such as dietary recommendations," said Adam Watkins, senior author on the study.