Your soon-to-be bundle of joy may get its father’s dimples and sense of humor—but personality traits and physical features aren’t the only things your Mister can pass on to his children.
Science now says daddies under a lot of regular stress can actually increase their baby’s risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. Sperm likely isn’t the first link that comes to mind between a baby and diabetes, but recent findings confirm that stress hormones cause an epigenetic change in sperm. Epigenetic changes refer to heritable gene changes that don’t affect the underlying DNA. (The Sfmbt2 gene caused the increased blood sugar.)
How, exactly, does this transfer happen? When a father is stressed out, his hormones pack the potential to raise his offspring’s blood sugar levels. With higher blood glucose levels comes a higher diabetes risk.
Since long hours at the office, bills, and family drama probably aren’t going away anytime soon, researchers built an additional component into the study: blocking the father’s stress hormones. Though the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine conducted this study on mice, the researchers believe it’s applicable to human daddies as well.
Luckily, the study showed that injecting male mice with a substance to block the full effects of stress on genes could help cut the risk of hyperglycemia. Good news for mice and human families all round!