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Category: Men’s Health

You Are What Your Father Eats: Father’s Diet Crucial To Newborn Health

Photo Samir and Ares Max Becic

Father’s Diet Before Conception Plays Crucial Role in Offspring’s Health, Study Suggests

Dec. 14, 2013 — Mothers get all the attention. But a study led by McGill researcher Sarah Kimmins suggests that the father’s diet before conception may play an equally important role in the health of their offspring. It also raises concerns about the long-term effects of current Western diets and of food insecurity.

The research focused on vitamin B9, also called folate, which is found in a range of green leafy vegetables, cereals, fruit and meats. It is well known that in order to prevent miscarriages and birth defects mothers need to get adequate amounts of folate in their diet. But the way that a father’s diet can influence the health and development of their offspring has received almost no attention. Now research from the Kimmins group shows 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. Indeed, the study suggests that fathers should pay as much attention to their lifestyle and diet before they set out to conceive a child as mothers do.

“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 metabolize folate in the same way as those with adequate levels of the vitamin,” says 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. And we now know that this information will be passed on from the father to the embryo with consequences that may be quite serious.”

The researchers arrived at this conclusion by working with mice, and comparing the offspring of fathers with insufficient folate in their diets with the offspring of fathers whose diets contained sufficient levels of the vitamin. They found that paternal folate deficiency was associated with an increase in birth defects of various kinds in the offspring, compared to the offspring of mice whose fathers were fed a diet with sufficient folate.

“We were very surprised to see that there was an almost 30 per cent increase in birth defects in the litters sired by fathers whose levels of folates were insufficient,” said Dr. Romain Lambrot, of McGill’s Dept. of Animal Science, one of the researchers who worked on the study. “We saw some pretty severe skeletal abnormalities that included both cranio-facial and spinal deformities.”

The research from the Kimmins’ group shows that there are regions of the sperm epigenome that are sensitive to life experience and particularly to diet. And that this information is in turn transferred to a so-called epigenomic map that influences development and may also influence metabolism and disease in the offspring in the long-term. (The epigenome is like a switch, which is affected by environmental cues, and is involved in many diseases including cancer and diabetes. The epigenome influences the way that genes are turned on or off, and hence how heritable information gets passed along).

Although it has been known for some time that there is a massive erasure and re-establishment that takes place in the epigenome as the sperm develops, this study now shows that along with the developmental map, the sperm also carries a memory of the father’s environment and possibly even of his diet and lifestyle choices.

“Our research suggests that fathers need to think about what they put in their mouths, what they smoke and what they drink and remember they are caretakers of generations to come,” said Kimmins. “If all goes as we hope, our next step will be to work with collaborators at a fertility clinic so that we can start assessing the links in men between diet, being overweight and how this information relates to the health of their children.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University.

Exercising More, Sitting Less Reduces Heart Failure Risk in Men

Sitting for long periods increases heart failure risk in men, even for those who exercise regularly, according to new research published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure.

Preventing heart failure, researchers found, requires a two-part behavioral approach: high levels of physical activity plus low levels of sedentary time. The study is the first to examine the link between heart failure risk and sedentary time, said Deborah Rohm Young, Ph.D., lead researcher and a senior scientist at Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena, Calif.

“Be more active and sit less. That’s the message here,” Young said.

Researchers followed a racially diverse group of 84,170 men ages 45 to 69 without heart failure. Exercise levels were calculated in METs, or metabolic equivalent of task, a measure of the body’s energy use. Sedentary levels were measured in hours. After an average of nearly eight years of follow-up, researchers found:

  • Men with low levels of physical activity were 52 percent more likely to develop heart failure than men with high physical activity levels, even after adjusting for differences in sedentary time.
  • Outside of work, men who spent five or more hours a day sitting were 34 percent more likely to develop heart failure than men who spent no more than two hours a day sitting, regardless of how much they exercised.
  • Heart failure risk more than doubled in men who sat for at least five hours a day and got little exercise compared to men who were very physically active and sat for two hours or less a day.

Study limitations included: Since no women were studied the results may not apply to them; results were self-reported, which could mean physical activity was over reported; results were based only on time outside of work and can’t be applied to overall sedentary activity; and participants were members of comprehensive health plans, so results may not apply to men lacking health insurance.

The study supports the American Heart Association recommendation that people get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity to reduce their risk for heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases, Young said.


As originally published in Science Daily.

Top 10 Tips to Learn from Chuck Norris

Few men have had the honor of going toe-to-toe with Bruce Lee on the silver screen, yet that is exactly what martial arts legend Chuck Norris did in 1981 Kung-Fu epic Way of the Dragon. Chuck Norris is one of the most decorated martial artists of all time, and has channeled his successful film career into powerful philanthropic efforts. Chuck has been a huge advocate of a healthy lifestyle, and his work with Kickstart Kids foundation earned him a nod for the “2015 Man of the Year.”

“Chuck Norris is not only a martial arts legend and Hollywood action start, but he is a man who understands community and does whatever it takes to make his community a better place to be. He is one of the rare athletes who reached the greatest heights of competitive success with only natural means, and I cannot overstate the respect I have for this man.”-Samir Becic

 Here are the Top 10 Tips Chuck Norris would approve of:

  1. It’s Never Too Late to Start

Chuck Norris wasn’t always the image of health and fitness, in fact, he grew up un-athletic and shy. “Because I didn’t have a father image, I grew up very shy and introverted,” he told a crowd of 2,400 people during the McLane Lecture April 2016 at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. “I was too shy to participate in sports, so I grew up non-athletic and very timid.”

After graduation from high school, Norris joined the U.S. Air Force. During his station in Korea, he had his first exposure to the martial arts. Norris enrolled in a Judo class, but while exploring the village one day, something caught his eye.

“I saw these guys doing these incredible kicks in the air. I didn’t think the human body could do something like that,” Norris said. “I wanted to find out what it was, but they looked mean, so I didn’t go down and talk to them.” When he went back to camp and was informed it was Taekwondo, a passion was ignited within him. “I was so determined to learn this art, that I finally made my black belt in it,” he said.

  1. “It doesn’t cost money to stay fit”

Talk about starting from the bottom, Chuck Norris didn’t actually grow up rich. Stemming from his background, he believes that being fit and healthy can be very simple! You can do a variety activities that require very little or no money. He also recommends purchasing old workout DVDs and equipment because they’re very cheap and totally worth the buy. He is also an advocate of walking as a simple form of exercise.

  1. Failure is normal and OK- just keep persevering

We all think of Chuck Norris as this invincible perfect human being. But before Chuck became such a sensation in the fitness world, he actually failed in martial arts. When he first opened a martial arts school in LA with $600 borrowed from his father, he and three of his students traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah to compete. “My three students won, and I lost,” Norris remembers. “As we were driving back, I thought about how I’d lost, and I said, ‘I may lose again, but I’ll never lose the same way twice.’” After that, however, he went on to become a 6-time world champion. Just goes to show sometimes in order to succeed, we must learn from failures first.

  1. “Eating with a purpose is key” -Chuck Norris

He believes in eating for disease prevention as well as weight maintenance. Norris prefers to eat whole, organic foods to keep his body properly fueled for his martial arts workouts. He also uses healthier substitutions daily- instead of sugar, he uses stevia, which is a natural plant derived sweetener. While Chuck Norris enjoys popcorn when he watches a movie, he makes sure that it’s the non-buttered kind. He even penned an article here where he describes the diet he followed to beat his skin cancer

  1. Wear Sunscreen!  

Chuck Norris is a huge advocate for sunscreen/sun tan lotion due to a surprising skin cancer he once had. Sunscreen is essential for protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can potentially cause cancer. He does however, advise you chose a sunscreen free of oxybenzone.

  1. Do some Chun Kuk Do (American/Korean martial arts techniques)

Chuck’s signature technique uses grappling, striking, kicking to incorporate a full martial arts practice. It also comes with key guidelines to live by. There are a variety of benefits from this form of exercising that enhances: fitness, mood, confidence, self-esteem, coordination,energy, attitude, and plenty more.  

  1. Give Back

Chuck Norris started his non-profit organization Kickstart Kids Program in 1990 and has been empowering children through karate ever since. Since it’s inception, over 85,000 alumni have graduated from the program. Following Chuck’s lead, find a cause you’re passionate about, and make a difference, it truly is rewarding!

  1. Have dinner early

According to Dr. Gullo, Chuck Norris prefers to eat his evening meal around (5:30) to let his food digest before bedtime. His final meal of the day is often a combination of a lean protein such as fish or chicken, green vegetables, and a complex carbohydrate, such as brown rice.

  1. Sleep Enough

Norris advocates for teens to sleep 10 hours a night a says adults should aim for 7-9 hours to improve memory, learning, and mental. He said he personally aims for 9, because that’s what works for him. And if it works for Chuck Norris, it will probably be good for you too!

  1. Be Spiritual

Chuck Norris, a devout Christian, admits to losing his way during his Hollywood career and drinking too much alcohol and being angry during a time. Since then, however, he has returned to his Christian roots and is an advocate for his spiritual beliefs. In an article he wrote for WND, he cites a 30 year research study done by the Human Population Laboratory that “proved for the first time that churches, synagogues, mosques or Buddhist monasteries helped create good health behavior, rather than simply attracting people who already took better care of themselves.”

The study’s analysis also confirmed that those who attended services regularly led more disciplined lifestyles, took physical exercise more serious, were more in control of their weight, experienced less depression, had stronger immune systems, had lower blood pressure, smoked and drank less and even maintained stable marriages compared to non-attendees. So be like Chuck Norris and find your form of spirituality.