Does obesity begin in the bedroom not the kitchen ?

Sperm carrying altered fat genesMost people at some level understand that you are what you eat.  But blaming your metabolism on what your father or grandfather ate – isn’t that a bit of a stretch ?

Hungry grandfathers produce fat grand kids

It has already been documented in several communities, that children conceived during periods of famine, are far more likely to end up fat in times of plenty.

So the idea that our parents are “telling” us things in ways that reach beyond genes is not new.   Research is now showing that these transgeneration messages are not being shared around the dining room table, but are being whispered in the bedroom.

Hungry sperm produce fat kids

Research published in the December issue of Cell suggests the transgenerational messenger is in fact contained within the sperm.

In the study, “hungry” male mice acted as sperm donors i.e. they provided the sperm but never had any other role in the fatherhood deal.

The absent fathers, who were fed a low protein diet from when they were weaned until they hit sexual maturity,  managed to alter their kids metabolism. 

The “starving” fathers  turned on and off  hundreds of genes in their offsprings’ liver.   One specific gene that was dialled down was Ppara.  Ppara is a lipid transcription factor which controls fat metabolism.   Lower Ppara programmes the liver to hoard calories – a good idea in times of famine but a problem in times of plenty. 

Messages from the “other side”

Science has an inkling of how genes are turned on and off through the phenomenon known as epigenetics.   How the message was transferred in these mice remains a mystery at this stage,  but the message – “store every morsel you find”, got through.  Researchers noted that the switches in the sperm were normal but flipped in junior.

“Inheriting” disease just got more complicated !

The bible suggests  ……… the sins of the father are visited on the children and the children’s children.

Maybe modern genetics just proved the concept.  

Ups the anty a bit, when you realize what’s on your dinner plate, could be on the hips of your children’s children.

Paternally Induced Transgenerational Environmental Reprogramming of Metabolic Gene Expression in Mammals. Cell, 2010; 143 (7): 1084-1096.  Benjamin R. Carone, Lucas Fauquier, Naomi Habib, Jeremy M. Shea, Caroline E. Hart, Ruowang Li, Christoph Bock, Chengjian Li, Hongcang Gu, Phillip D. Zamore, Alexander Meissner, Zhiping Weng, Hans A. Hofmann, Nir Friedman, Oliver J. Rando.

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Further reading

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Are the lights in your neighbourhood making you fat ? Gorilla dieting techniques A noisy street does more than just keep you awake, it can instigate a stroke

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

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Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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