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Vitamin C reported to prevent sperm damage.

Vitamin C in a man's diet may prevent his sperm from genetic damage that can cause inherited disease in his children.

A recent study of men who were vitamin C deficient revealed that a form of DNA(*) damage in sperm could be limited by even modest doses of vitamin C.

The researcher, Bruce Ames, Ph.D., of the University of California, at Berkeley, noted that when the men increased their intake of vitamin C, taking either 60 or 250 milligrams a day, DNA damage dropped.

Other studies have indicated that fertility is improved in smokers when vitamin C is added to the diet.

Ames is convinced that sperm damage and fertility failure can be avoided by taking as little as 60 milligrams of vitamin C a day.

Vitamin C is usually found in high concentrations in semen, where it is known to protect the DNA of sperm cells from toxic oxygen radicals. These radicals are supposed to contribute to aging, several forms of cancer, heart disease and mental deterioration.

Oxygen radicals routinely affect DNA(*). Much of the harm, however, is usually repaired by the body itself. But remaining damage often results in genetic mutations in the sperm, which may be passed on as birth defects.

Other studies have shown that some inherited cancers are often associated with DNA defects in sperm cells.

Researchers emphasize that children of male smokers are at risk of leukemia and immune system cancer. A significant drop in vitamin C occurs when a man smokes.

(*) DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid), the molecular basis of heredity.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Mar 22, 1992
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