Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pollutants may contribute to illness and becoming overweight

Date:
June 26, 2012
Source:
The Research Council of Norway
Summary:
Lack of physical activity and poor diet alone cannot explain the dramatic rise in obesity and diabetes occurring in many countries, believe some researchers. It is time to face the possibility that hazardous chemicals may also share part of the blame.

Lack of physical activity and poor diet alone cannot explain the dramatic rise in obesity and diabetes occurring in many countries, believe some researchers. It is time to face the possibility that hazardous chemicals may also share part of the blame.

The population of the Western world is increasingly falling prey to metabolic syndrome, which is the name for a group of risk factors -- such as overweight and insulin resistance -- that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes.

What can explain this sharp upsurge in the incidence of metabolic syndrome? Both genetics and environmental factors such as diet and physical exercise play a part, but researchers are still missing some key pieces to the puzzle.

"Many studies now indicate that persistent organic pollutants play a major role," says Jerome Ruzzin, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Bergen.

From fatty foods

For several years, Dr Ruzzin has been receiving funding from the Research Council of Norway's Programme on Environmental Exposures and Health Outcomes (MILPAAHEL) to study the effects of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). He believes these substances have much more of a health impact than most people realize.

"Today's adults are the first generation to experience serious health problems from these substances. If we do not take this challenge seriously," he cautions, "there is every reason to be concerned about the coming generations as well."

POPs enter our bodies when we consume fatty foods such as dairy products, meat, and particularly fatty fish. One of Dr Ruzzin's research findings on mice is that eating salmon that contains high levels of POPs can lead to insulin resistance, one of the main causes of metabolic syndrome. Popping up everywhere

In two recent scientific articles, Dr Ruzzin has sounded the alarm about the harmful health effects of POPs.

"A great number of studies are now showing that people with high concentrations of POPs in their body are developing metabolic syndrome. We are talking about ordinary people who live in normal environments," stress Dr Ruzzin, "so this means that we are being exposed to far too high levels of POPs that may have a major impact on our health."

Typically, dietary changes are prescribed to treat metabolic syndrome. But according to Dr Ruzzin, too little is known about the effects of pollutants in specific foods to make any detailed health recommendations. This is why he believes we should waste no time in launching more studies that examine the combination of pollutants and nutrients in humans.

Dangerous cocktail effect

Studies have shown that POPs, even at concentrations below their danger level individually, can interact with other POPs or hazardous substances to cause serious consequences. This combined "cocktail effect" worries Dr Ruzzin.

"Current threshold values for pollutants are probably too high," says Dr Ruzzin, "which means that the regulatory framework needs changing. Food producers need to eliminate hazardous substances to a far greater extent than they do at present, and we consumers need more information about the kinds of chemicals we could be ingesting with their food products."

Deformed genitalia

Danish studies have shown that even small amounts of different chemicals found in everyday products can have a cocktail effect. Malformations of the sex organs are one possible consequence. Researcher Sofie Christiansen of the Technical University of Denmark is concerned.

"There is no doubt that the importance of interactions between different hormone-disrupting chemicals has been underestimated," she asserted in connection with a conference on environmentally hazardous substances co-hosted by the Research Council and the Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency this January.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Research Council of Norway. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Research Council of Norway. "Pollutants may contribute to illness and becoming overweight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120626092631.htm>.
The Research Council of Norway. (2012, June 26). Pollutants may contribute to illness and becoming overweight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120626092631.htm
The Research Council of Norway. "Pollutants may contribute to illness and becoming overweight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120626092631.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins