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.

Related Articles


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 January 29, 2015 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 January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

AFP (Jan. 29, 2015) Oxfam International has called for a multi-million dollar post-Ebola "Marshall Plan", with financial support given by wealthy countries, to help Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to recover. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The World Health Organization announced the fight against Ebola has entered its second phase as the number of cases per week has steadily dropped. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The California Health Department says e-cigarettes are a public health risk for both smokers and those who inhale e-cig smoke secondhand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) Officials say 66 students at a Southern California high school have been told to stay home through the end of next week because they may have been exposed to measles and are not vaccinated. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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