Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Are female hormones playing a key role in obesity epidemic?

Date:
June 13, 2014
Source:
University of Adelaide
Summary:
An imbalance of female sex hormones among men in Western nations may be contributing to high levels of male obesity, according to new research. Scientists suggest that obesity among Western men could be linked with exposure to substances containing the female sex hormone estrogen -- substances that are more often found in affluent societies, such as soy products and plastics.

"In some Western nations, male obesity is greater than female obesity. While poor diet is no doubt to blame, we believe there is more to it than simply a high caloric intake," Mr Grantham says.
Credit: bahrialtay / Fotolia

An imbalance of female sex hormones among men in Western nations may be contributing to high levels of male obesity, according to new research from the University of Adelaide.

In a paper published in the online journal PLOS ONE, researchers from the University's School of Medical Sciences suggest that obesity among Western men could be linked with exposure to substances containing the female sex hormone estrogen -- substances that are more often found in affluent societies, such as soy products and plastics.

The research was conducted by University of Adelaide medical student James Grantham and co-authored by Professor Maciej Henneberg, Wood Jones Professor of Anthropological and Comparative Anatomy.

Mr Grantham compared obesity rates among men and women from around the world with measures such as Gross Domestic Product to determine the impact of affluence on obesity. He found that while it was normal for women in the developing world to have significantly greater levels of obesity than men, the developed world offers quite a different picture.

"Hormonally driven weight gain occurs more significantly in females than in males, and this is very clear when we look at the rates of obesity in the developing world," Mr Grantham says.

"However, in the Western world, such as in the United States, Europe and Australia, the rates of obesity between men and women are much closer. In some Western nations, male obesity is greater than female obesity.

"While poor diet is no doubt to blame, we believe there is more to it than simply a high caloric intake," Mr Grantham says.

Professor Henneberg says: "Exposure to estrogen is known to cause weight gain, primarily through thyroid inhibition and modulation of the hypothalamus. Soy products contain xenoestrogens, and we are concerned that in societies with a high dietary saturation of soy, such as the United States, this could be working to 'feminize' the males. This would allow men in those communities to artificially imitate the female pattern of weight gain.

"Another well-established source of xenoestrogen is polyvinyl chloride, known as PVC. This product is in prominent use in most wealthy countries, from plastic medical devices to piping for our water supplies."

Professor Henneberg says micro-evolutionary changes may be occurring within Western societies that could also be leading to changes in testosterone and estrogen in men. "This would certainly explain the various concerns about sperm count reductions among men in developed nations," he says.

Professor Henneberg and Mr Grantham say further research is needed to better understand whether or not environmental factors are leading to a "feminization" of men in the Western world.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. James P. Grantham, Maciej Henneberg. The Estrogen Hypothesis of Obesity. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (6): e99776 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099776

Cite This Page:

University of Adelaide. "Are female hormones playing a key role in obesity epidemic?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140613101546.htm>.
University of Adelaide. (2014, June 13). Are female hormones playing a key role in obesity epidemic?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140613101546.htm
University of Adelaide. "Are female hormones playing a key role in obesity epidemic?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140613101546.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 Video provided by AFP
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