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Do steroids taken by the father cause chemical imbalance in baby?

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My grandson was born of a father who took anabolic steroids. His birth was traumatic but he was a healthy weight and didn't suffer any problems.
He is now 4 years old and my concerns are as follows: short concentration span, shows some aggressive behaviour, seems to go off the scale whenever he eats anything (even an apple). If he has a chemical imbalance, can you please give me your help? Do you think the steroids his father took right up to conception may have affected him in any way?

Many thanks for your advice,


Dear Cherrie,
Anabolic steroids have many negative effects, which is why their use is controversial and controlled. We know they affect sperm production, at least by lowering it. We have no evidence at this point that they actually change the sperm, which would be the only way they could impact the father's baby. (This is in contrast to the very definite effects on a baby who might be exposed to these steroids through the mother's taking them during pregnancy.)

That means that as of yet we are not aware of any link between a father's use of steroids and his child's health or temperament. There are many other reasons, however, why a four year old might have "issues," from food allergies to genetics to parenting.

I caution you that many four year olds have tremendous energy and rush around, so your grandson may be a completely normal child. But I always trust the instincts of parents and grandparents who spend substantial time with the child, because they generally know best, so I'll assume that you know best and your grandson is indeed showing unusual behavior.

If your grandson "goes off the scale" when he eats "anything," it sounds as though there may indeed be some form of chemical imbalance. Of course, that is most likely to be triggered by the food itself. Many children have food allergies, and these can dramaticaly affect behavior.

I would recommend that you begin with a visit to his pediatrician for a full evaluation. But since you link his behavior to eating, I would also suggest that you consider the possibility that your grandson is allergic to food additives. In the past several years, two British studies have found that food dyes, together with the preservative sodium benzoate, cause behavior problems in many children, including the inability to pay attention, inability to focus on schoolwork, and hyperactivity. These studies confirm the hypotheses of allergist Benjamin Feingold, who noticed in the 1970s that many of his young patients improved when artificial food dyes, preservatives, and even certain natural foods were removed from their diets.

Many parents who put their children on the Feingold Diet, which screens out those substances, report fewer tantrums, more focused school work, and other welcome changes. In fact, the Feingold Association claims that 70-90% of kids improve their behavior when food additives are removed from their diets. Please check out for more information on how to assess your grandson's response to various foods.

Dr. Laura

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