Diabetes Could Stem From Your Parent’s Eating Habits

For people with diabetes resulting from poor dietary habits, new research in animals has drawn a link between diet-induced diabetes and the eating habits of their parents.

The Institute of Experimental Genetics (IEG) recently studied the offspring of obese mice with type-2 diabetes brought on by a diet high in fat.

"The results showed that both oocytes and sperm passed on epigenetic information, which particularly in the female offspring led to severe obesity," said Johannes Beckers, director of the study.” In contrast to genetics, epigenetics is the inheritance of traits not driven by the genes - the primary sequence of the DNA.

Compared to the female offspring in the study, the males' blood glucose levels were more affected. The researchers also proposed that the mother’s contribution to altering metabolism in the children exceeded that of the father.

"From the perspective of basic research, this study is so important because it proves for the first time that an acquired metabolic disorder can be passed on epigenetically to the offspring via oocytes and sperm," said Beckers.

Ramifications for worldwide obesity

According to Population Health Management, 53 million Americans could be battling diabetes by the year 2025. The researchers at IEG believe the massive increase in worldwide diabetic patients goes beyond mutations in the genes (DNA) - and knowing the dietary habits of parents could explain the occurrence of metabolic disorders in the offspring.

Understanding these inheritance factors, “due to an unhealthy diet could be another major cause for the dramatic global increase in the prevalence of diabetes since the 1960s," said Martin Hrabe de Angelis, study leader.

Source: German Research Center for Environmental Health

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