Fertility Damage Caused By Obesity Can Be Reversed

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In a breakthrough discovery, researchers at the University of Adelaide have claimed that the damage of obesity passed from mother to child can now be reversed. The findings have major implications for fertility research, the researchers claim.

A mother’s health can often impact the health of her child, as we already know. In fact, one study has suggested to women who are overweight are five times more likely than a thinner woman to have an obese baby. Smoking and a vitamin D deficiency can also lead to health risks in newborns and later in a child’s life.

“It's now well established that obesity in females leads to very serious fertility problems, including the inability to conceive,” Associate Professor and lead author Rebecca Robker said. “Obesity can also result in altered growth of babies during pregnancy, and it permanently programs the metabolism of offspring, passing the damage caused by obesity from one generation to the next.”

The team found that obesity leads to a stress response causing damage to mitochondria, which are critical energy-producing “organs” within living cells. Mitochondria are passed from mother to child and can produce heavier fetuses with reduced amounts of mitochondrial DNA. By identifying the stress that lead to the transmission of mitochondria to offspring, researchers discovered certain compounds that prevented the stress response.

“It restored egg quality, embryo development and mitochondrial DNA to levels equivalent to those of a healthy mother,” Robker said. “Effectively, the problem was fully reversed."

Robker said this work could lead to a natural restoration of fertility in obese women and prevent multi-generational damage. The study also highlights the importance of a woman’s nutritional state during pregnancy.

The researchers urged women to eat healthy diets to optimize their chances for healthy conception. Such a diet can also reduce negative impact on their child’s future health.

The results were published in the fertility journal Development.

Source:DailyMail / Photo Credit: Flickr


 
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