Obesity can lead to a multitude of serious health problems. One that is not often discussed is the damage that it can cause to sperm production. In one experiment Zucker rats, chosen for metabolic characteristics that are close to our own, were examined for a variety of traits revolving around reproductive function. Twelve rats were selected from the same litter, some of which were over fed resulting in obesity. After being examined it was found that obesity caused many problems in regard to reproductive function.
Among the things affected were the physical anatomy of the genitals, difference in organ weight, onset of puberty, and sperm production. The affects obesity had on sperm production were alarming. It was found that gamete production was significantly decreased as well as having notable damage to the DNA. The DNA fragmentation may result from cells that did not undergo apoptosis correctly and proceed to spermiogenesis. This is most likely due to a deficiency in leptin, a hormone that helps to regulate reproductive function.
These findings are startling to say the least as these hormones and receptors are also part of our own genome. As the obesity crisis continues on, we must start to worry about the damage being inadvertently done to future generations. Not only do future generation have to deal with the epigenetic effects of artificial additives and unknown consequences of GMO foods, but they may very well be damaged before conception.