Several studies link chemicals predisposition to obesity
They are in creams or plastic and act as hormones
And … more kilos of contaminated
Spain has an obesity prevalence rate between 23% and 28%. / SANTI BURGOS
Pollution is not only associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, respiratory problems or develop tumors. Certain synthetic chemicals very present in the environment and everyday life (associated with pesticides and insecticides, but also perfumes, plastics and cosmetics) predispose to obesity, according to a growing number of studies. This was recently highlighted the Center for Biomedical Research Network, Pathophysiology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn), which brings together 24 leading research groups in Spanish obesity.
Some of these environmental pollutants are substances that pose as hormones (acting as endocrine disruptors, in the jargon), confuse the body and trigger metabolic derangements that modify the processes of accumulation of fat in the body.
While the interest was focused on the relationship between pollution (mainly air) and the main causes of death in developed societies (cancer and cardiovascular processes), little attention was paid to the involvement of other toxic overweight. But obesity is an epidemic and, as emphasized by Javier Salvador, CIBERobn researcher: “We’ve gone from a 12% prevalence in Spain between 23% and 28%.” And the study of the causes of overweight “is more and more fashionable,” said Salvador, who is also president of the Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition. Therefore, the focus is opening to understand what the role of these pollutants in common use both in this problem as in type 2 diabetes.
Toxic substances alter metabolism and confuse the body
The latest initiative to highlight this linkage has CIBERobn party through a compendium of recent studies published in recent years. “It’s a new field,” says Nicolas Olea, Professor of Medicine, University of Granada, and one of the main Spanish experts on the players of the relationship between environmental pollution and overweight.
Among them are the so-called persistent organic pollutants (POPs), chemicals with high resistance to degradation, which accumulate in the food chain and that being fat soluble, they concentrate in fat. For example, organochlorine pesticides such as DDT. “From his persistence gives us a good idea still was detected in 88% of the population when it was banned in 1975,” said Salvador.
They are joined seudopersistentes compounds, as noted by Olea. They have the same ability to look at the body, but exposure to these substances is so continuous that also act as endocrine disruptors on a daily basis.
not only fat,
This group includes phthalates, used in the industry as plastic softeners, benzophenones, present in the UV filters in sunscreens, parabens, which are used to extend the shelf life of cosmetics such as shampoos, or bisphenol A (BPA) found in plastics (polycarbonate and epoxy resins).
This product has a number of studies focused Angel Nadal, director of the Unit of Cellular Physiology and Nutrition at the University Miguel Hernández de Elche, which makes much of Olea. In these studies, with rats shows that relatively low doses of bisphenol A exposure levels equivalent to daily and frequent in most of the population, “no longer act as an estrogen [female sex hormone] weak, but as estradiol [ the most potent form of estrogen, among other things, influences the distribution of body fat in women], “said Olea.
Exposure to these compounds “at certain times of inadequate levels development,” especially in the fetal stage and infancy, influence both obesity and in diabetes, the researcher adds. In fact, another study referred to by the CIBERobn, Nadal also insists on this idea.
The plastics industry denies their products cause obesity
The University researcher Miguel Hernández de Elche pregnant rats exposed to bisphenol A during the 19 days of gestation in this species. All developed gestational diabetes and the offspring developed the disease at six months. In fact, the relationship with diabetes is first brought to obesity.
Thus, the network of obesity researchers noted that these compounds “not only fat, too sick.” And the link with two closely related disorders with diabetes: the metabolic syndrome (a set of risk factors including abdominal obesity, hyperglycemia and high blood pressure who have 31% of the Spanish adult population, according to the latest edition of the Spanish Journal Cardiology) and insulin resistance. “The simultaneous exposure to several persistent organic compounds may contribute to obesity, dyslipidemia and insulin resistance, the most common precursors to diabetes,” said Javier Salvador.
The researcher explains that the document prepared by specialists in obesity is not intended to be alarmist, but to draw attention to the link between overweight and these toxic materials from animal experiments and epidemiological studies. Therefore recalls that obesity is due to a combination of factors. Environmental pollutants are a variable of a complex equation to which we must add genetics, stress, diet or exercise. Not forgetting the old. “It is twice as common in older adults,” said Salvador.
Faced with the relationship between pollutants and overweight, especially between BPA and obesity, there are voices from the plastics industry who reject the connection. “There is no proven link between BPA and obesity,” says PlasticsEurope, the association of manufacturers of plastic raw material, in response to this newspaper on the study of CIBERobn. The reports linking this compound to overweight “are based on a small number of studies” containing “a large number of constraints” among which cite “small samples, limited number of dose levels or using an inappropriate route of exposure “. Thus, they say, “is not possible to extrapolate their findings to humans.”
And … more kilos of contaminated
The report of the Biomedical Research Centre Network (CIBER) of Obesity concludes with a singular climax: between pollution and obesity is a list of return. The feedlot pollution through endocrine disruptors, but also overweight “has an adverse effect on the conservation and sustainability of the natural environment.”
In this case, the controller would not be any of the 600 compounds that alter the metabolism in the census European but carbon dioxide, one of the causes of global warming gases. Although its influence is small compared, for example, sectors such as transport or industry.
The CIBER gives several examples from different studies. Each fat person is responsible for the emission of almost an extra ton of CO2 per year than a thin, according to a study published in 2009 in the International Journal of Epidemiology School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
An article based on a similar philosophy Gryca Ania and signed by other authors in the Journal of Obesity in 2011 suggested that a weight loss of 10 kilos of all patients with obesity and overweight in the world would be a fall of 0.2% of the CO2 production in 1997.
Other studies focus on the added fuel costs involved in moving to heavier people. An investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that U.S. between 1960 and 2002 could have saved 0.7% of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption when no passenger had obesity.
The estimated extra cost was 3,700 million liters of gasoline.