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Chiropractic Research Review

Another Danger of Cigarette Smoking: Damage to Paternal Sperm DNA Affects Offspring

The presence of antioxidants in the human body has been shown to reduce the risk of many forms of cancer. Cigarette smoke contains a high concentration of oxidants, which can deplete antioxidant levels and increase oxidative damage to tissues.

A study of 51 healthy males (22 smokers and 29 nonsmokers aged 18 to 51) investigated the potential association between smoking status, antioxidant levels in seminal fluid, and damage to sperm DNA.

Results showed that the oxidative damage in sperm DNA was 50% higher in smokers compared to nonsmokers, while the concentration of alphatoco-pherol (a form of vitamin E) in seminal plasma was 32% lower in smokers vs. nonsmokers.

Conclusion: The smoking-associated increase in oxidants in DNA, and the decrease in antioxidant levels in semen is consistent with the hypothesis that adequate antioxidant protection is essential for maintaining the genetic integrity of sperm cells. Paternal smoking may cause mutations in sperm that contribute to cancer, birth defects and genetic diseases in offspring.

Fraga CG, Motchnik PA, Wyrobek AJ. Smoking and low antioxidant levels increase oxidative damage to sperm DNA. Mutation Research, 1996;351, pp199-203.

Chiropractic Research Review

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