Friday, October 17, 2014

Environmental Pollutants Linked With Obesity & Diabetes

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are compounds used by different industries. It is a name that includes plastics and agricultural products. POPs may have different chemical structures but share a common characteristic: they do not degrade naturally. All human beings are exposed to POPs to some degree. Research in 2006 found out the the people with the highest amount of POPs had an increased risk for diabetes.

The link between diabetes and POPs was not examined until more recently when a new study published in July 2014 examined  the relationship between POPs levels and glucose metabolism as well as fat tissue. The new data reveals that levels of POPs in human serum and fat tissue correlate significantly with glucose levels during an oral glucose tolerance test. The results suggest that environmental levels of POPs may cause diabetes.

The study looked at 151 obese and 44 normal-weight individuals. They examined a wide range of ubiquitously present POPs, including 28 types of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the pesticide p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE). 

 They found that individuals who were obese had higher levels of POPs than normal-weight individuals. High POPs levels were related to impaired glucose tolerance, higher HbA1c levels and higher fasting glucose levels.

These results concur with a previous study in Sweden that found that elevated levels of POPs predicted the development of type 2 diabetes.

The authors suggest that exposure to endocrine-disrupting POPs may be contributing to the pandemic of both type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity.

  • Participants also underwent serum testing for 28 different PCBs and the pesticide p,p'-DDE.
  • 53 individuals undergoing bariatric surgery agreed to have a sample of their adipose tissue tested for POPs.
  • PCB153, PCB138, and PCB180 were the most commonly isolated PCBs, and study analysis focused on these 3 compounds.
  • Mean concentrations of POPs were significantly lower in the lean vs the overweight cohorts.
  • After patients receiving medications for diabetes were excluded, all serum POPs were associated with impaired glucose tolerance, higher HbA1c levels, and higher fasting glucose levels. The relationship between serum POPs and glucose intolerance persisted after controlling for participants' BMI values.
  • POP levels from adipose tissue correlated positively with glucose intolerance.
You might share this data with your type 2 diabetic friends who eat non-organic food.