Scientists have found for the first time that father’s diet before conception plays an important role in the health and development of their offspring.
It is well known that in order to prevent miscarriages and birth defects mothers need to get adequate amounts of folate or vitamin B9 – which is found in a range of green leafy vegetables, cereals, fruit and meats – in their diet. (Read: Why women need folic acid during pregnancy)
The research from McGill University in Canada showed for the first time that the father’s folate levels may be just as important to the development and health of their offspring as are those of the mother.
‘Despite the fact that folic acid is now added to a variety of foods, fathers who are eating high-fat, fast food diets or who are obese may not be able to use or metabolise folate in the same way as those with adequate levels of the vitamin,’ said researcher Sarah Kimmins.
‘People who live in the Canadian North or in other parts of the world where there is food insecurity may also be particularly at risk for folate deficiency.