September 5, 2008

Study: Mechanism Found that Explains Why Bisphenol-A Causes Metabolic Syndrome

There has been a lot of news this week about the impact of artificially created organic chemicals on our bodies. Now a major new finding comfirms what I have been suspecting all along: Bisphenol-A suppresses adiponectin--the hormone in fat that is part of the system that regulates how much additional fat our bodies put away.

Bisphenol-A is found in hard plastics like water bottles and baby bottles. It is also used in the lining of food cans, which means if you ever eat commercially prepared foods you are exposed to it, since much restaurant food starts out in cans.

Here's a good write up about this research:
Toxic Plastic Linked to Metabolic Syndrome

From that report we get this description of the study, published in the Aug. 14, 2008, online edition of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives:

"In a laboratory study, using fresh human fat tissues, the UC team found that BPA suppresses a key hormone, adiponectin, which is responsible for regulating insulin sensitivity in the body and puts people at a substantially higher risk for metabolic syndrome."

If you've been following the news, you will have noted that the plastics industry and its lobbyists have been fighting hard to keep this plastic in our environment and the FDA--that has never found a lobbyist whose interests it won't serve--continues to claim it is safe.

Other research has shown that many of us have detectible levels of Bisphenol-A in our bodies. And yet more research has shown that heating a plastic baby bottle releases a lot of Bisphenol-A into the milk in that bottle.

Plastic baby bottles made of Bisphenol-A have been around for a generation. But the plastics industry would have you believe that it is totally coincidental that the generation that grew up drinking from those baby bottles has the highest rate of obesity ever seen in our society.

Completely coincidental. Oh yeah.

Don't those lobbyists have kids and grandkids too?


Anonymous said...

What has happened with the action focused attitude in the USA? The USA led the world in many public health initiatives, e.g. eliminate leaded gasoline.

Now it seems nothing can get accomplished. Bisphenol-A has been banned in Canada, but no action on this critical subject in the US.

Those of us who live close to Canada can go there and buy plastic products with confidence.


Stephan Guyenet said...

If BPA has effects comparable to a steroid, it must be potent stuff.

Disturbing... thanks for pointing this out.

Anonymous said...

My endocrinologist, who is very enlightened, told me that exercise helps clear BPA from the system--that metabolic syndrome arises if you DON'T exercise.

Jenny said...

Your endocrinologist may have just been repeating the old wives' tale about what causes metabolic syndrome.

I can't find any research papers that discuss exercise having an effect on the clearance of bisphenol-a. Many of these environmental chemicals don't leave the body once they get into it because our bodies have not had to deal with them in the past and hence have no mechanisms in place to deal with them.

The belief that exercise can prevent metabolic syndrome is very common, but unfortunately, not supported by the evidence that many chemicals cause weight gain in animals compared to controls when exercise and food intake are the same. I believe Bisphenol-a may be one of them.

Anonymous said...

Talking to a farmer friend reminded me of two things. One is that many modern agrochemicals are several orders of magnitude safer than their forbears BUT tests are all done on single chemicals, who knows the effect of bombardment with low concentrations of a cocktail of different substances. Think of the various drug interractions and Cytochrome P450 for example.
The other point is that when chamicals are banned in the US or Europe the manufacturers simply market them to Third World countries where restrictions are more lax rather than close down production facilities. Now, how much of your food is being imported from these countries?
Bisphenol A seems to be biologically active in remarkably low concentrations, and in other species also. Add to it low volumes of several different endocrine disruptors and watch the outcome.