"Your mission, if you accept it: deliver 23 chromosomes to a future embryo!" Mission almost impossible, since the road is full of pitfalls but also be
“Your mission, if you accept it: deliver 23 chromosomes to a future embryo!” Mission almost impossible, since the road is full of pitfalls but also because it is not so easy to select 23 chromosomes among the 46 contained in each cell of the future father. However, sperm can rely on essential tools: vitamins!
Indeed, since chromosomes consist of DNA and most of the components of DNA come from food, it has a significant effect on reproduction.
In addition, several vitamins seem to be involved in the process of maturation of sperm to make agents of outstanding effectiveness.
A perfect maturation is all the more important as the baby must absolutely receive as many chromosomes from his mother as from his father.
For this reason, when producing sperm, it is necessary to reduce the number of chromosomes so that they contain only one copy of each one. Thus, when the egg and sperm merge to form the first cell of the baby, he will receive all the genetic material he needs to develop.
Four steps are therefore necessary to produce functional spermatozoa. First, non-specialized cells that can, under the right conditions, generate other specialized cells of the body must be produced. Subsequently, these cells will transform to become precursor cells of the spermatozoa.
At this stage, the precursor cells still contain 46 chromosomes. It is the next step that these cells will divide to give birth to spermatids that contain only 23 chromosomes. Finally, the maturation of spermatids will allow the appearance of motile and functional spermatozoa.
Throughout this process, it is believed that vitamins have a vital role to play in the success of the mission.
This vitamin, in the form of retinoic acid, is important for reducing the number of chromosomes from 46 to 23. It is therefore required for the production of sexual cells.
Thus, in the mouse, vitamin A deficiency prevents precursor cells from eventually turning into spermatozoa. In humans, however, the effect of such deficiency on the reproductive system is still unknown.
Vitamins C and E:
Vitamins C and E are antioxidant substances. Antioxidants have the particularity of protecting the DNA against molecules called free radicals.
It is well known that spermatozoa are particularly sensitive to these. Infertile men who are given supplements of vitamin C, vitamin E and glutathione (another antioxidant) therefore see their sperm count increase.
Folate is a member of the B-vitamin family and plays an important role in the manufacture of DNA. For this reason, it is essential for reproduction.
Researchers have noted that men who received, among other things, a folate supplement also had a greater number of spermatozoa. Folate would also promote their mobility.
Vitamin D is used to manage the body’s use of calcium. Since calcium is essential for sperm production and mobility, researchers believe that vitamin D deficiency could affect male fertility.
It has been observed in the art that such a deficiency is indeed associated with a decrease in the number of spermatozoa.
In humans, it is known that testicular cells can use vitamin D. This could, therefore, be important for the production of sexual cells, possibly by modifying gene expression.
Although this is not fully demonstrated experimentally, it seems likely that some vitamin deficiencies cause fertility problems in humans.
Without these tools, spermatozoa are not as well equipped to carry out their mission. Therefore, when a couple seeks to conceive a child, a healthy and balanced diet is as important for the future father as for the expectant mother.