Britain's Prince William holds his baby son outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital before leaving with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in central London July 23, 2013. Kate gave birth to the couple's first child, who is third in line to the British throne, on Monday afternoon, ending weeks of feverish anticipation about the arrival of the royal baby. REUTERS/John Stillwell/POOL (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT HEALTH TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
It's well known that a healthy diet during pregnancy is important, but now research shows dads' diets also play an important role — that is, before conception. "A new study suggests a father's diet pre-conception affects the development of his child. Scientists say that the father's vitamin levels may be just as important to their offspring's health and development as their mother's." (Via Fox News)
The study from McGill University in Montreal says folic acid, a form of vitamin B, is especially important. Vitamin C and zinc are also essential. (Via March of Dimes)
Researchers worked with mice and compared the offspring of the fathers who had sufficient folate intake with those who didn't. (Via KOVR)
They found male mice with low levels of those important vitamins were 30 percent more likely to have babies with birth defects.
"That means men should put away the junk food, too, and stick to the left — greens. Alcohol also interferes with the vitamins, so doctors say it is best to stop drinking before conception." (Via KEYE)
One researcher said, "We saw some pretty severe skeletal abnormalities that included both cranio-facial and spinal deformities." They also found underdeveloped digits, shortened jaws and clubfeet. (Via Science Daily)
Researchers say next they hope to analyze the effects a father's weight, particularly being overweight, can have on his offspring.