Effects Of Aging On Sperm: Genetic Disease-Causing Mutations Increase As Men Age, According To Study
Some sperm contain mutations that can cause genetic diseases to babies. According to a new study, the numbers of sperm with these mutations increase as men grow older, even if these men are actually healthy.
Medical News Today reports that the new study was led by professor of pathology Andrew Wilkie and his colleagues at the University of Oxford and was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers hope that their findings can give better understanding on how genetic diseases develop in babies with parents who do not have those disorders.
"Some DNA mutations are harmless, but some are not and can give rise to genetic disorders," the report shared. "Thus, as a man ages, and his sperm production undergoes more cell cycles, his sperm contains an increasing proportion of cells with selfish mutations." The process is compared to cancer, which involves the faster growth of cancerous cells compared to healthy cells.
The researchers also pointed out that all men have sperm cells that have mutations that can cause different genetic diseases like dwarfism. However, the fact that men release millions of sperm makes the chances of a disease-causing sperm fertilizing the woman's egg very rare. As men grow old, the chances go higher because they produce more of these genetic disease-causing sperm cells.
Men's Health shared some advice on how to have stronger, faster and more agile sperm cells which might also help reduce the negative effects of aging on sperm. Maintaining a healthy body weight through proper diet, avoiding soy products which affect sperm production, exercising regularly to increase testosterone levels, eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to improve sperm quality, and keeping the testicles cool by avoiding hot tubs and hot showers are some of the best ways to have better quality and quantity of sperm.