obesity epidemic, mouse, leptin

Many food containers are a source of a controversial chemical known as bisphenol A, or BPA. There has been concern that this agent used in clear hard plastic might be contributing to the obesity epidemic. BPA is an endocrine disruptor because it mimics estrogen in its actions.

Hormonal Effects of Bisphenol A and the Obesity Epidemic:

A study in mice has just shown that this agent may interfere with other important hormones as well. It determined that this could disrupt metabolism. When pregnant or nursing mice were exposed to bisphenol A, their pups did not respond normally to leptin. This hormone signals to the brain when the body does not need any more food. Insensitivity to leptin meant these mice did not know when to stop eating and became obese as adults.

Details of the Study:

The levels of bisphenol A in the mothers’ feed was comparable to those the FDA and HealthCanada permit in human food. Many North Americans have been exposed to this compound, which is used in rigid plastics and the linings of metal cans.

Other pregnant mice were exposed to the synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES) as a positive control. Their offspring were even more severely affected. Their leptin response was extremely delayed rather than merely blunted.

The study clarified how BPA disrupts the endocrine system to cause obesity in animals; it is possible that the same mechanisms are at work in humans exposed to this endocrine disruptor.

MacKay et al. Endocrinology, April 1, 2017 

Where Do You Find BPA?

In the US, manufacturers no longer add bisphenol A to baby bottles as they once did. No one knows, however, whether the substitutes being used are safer.

While BPA is commonly used in the linings of cans, the Campbell Soup company announced a few years ago that it will remove the chemical from its cans by the middle of 2017.

Cash register receipts are an often unexpected source of BPA. If the cashier asks if you want your receipt, you might do well to decline.

Using glass containers for food whenever possible will reduce exposure. It is especially important not to use hard plastic dishes in the microwave or even the dishwasher, as these conditions can lead them to leach BPA more readily.

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  1. Penelope

    About paper receipts with BPA–take them home to reconcile your credit card account, but wash your hands when you get home,–which you should be doing anyway, Then after handling at home wash your hands.

  2. Stuart

    I was operated on in 1990 to remove nasal polyps. I was told that I should use a nasal steroid to suppress the possibility of the polyps returning, and that if I didn’t they would surly return. I really didn’t like the idea of shooting a steroid into my nose, so In 1993 I stopped using the steroid, and started snorting salt water daily.

    In 1995 my doctor told me that the polyps had returned, but it wasn’t necessary for me to have them removed as long as I had the ability to smell. In 1997 I read where cancer could not live in a alkaline environment, so I added a half tablespoon of baking soda to my daily snort.

    I went to see my doctor the end of 1997 and he said the polyps were gone. I have been polyp free for twenty years! The combination I have been using is, one tablespoon of iodized salt, 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda, to a 4/5 quart mixing bowl of lukewarm water. Prior to snorting I put my face in the solution, open my eyes and blink, and it has eliminated my eyes burning at nite while watching TV.

    • RS

      How did you know you had polyps?

  3. Kristin

    Great article. It is also important not to use plastic dishes for your dog’s food and water for the same reasons. Use stainless steel, glass, high-fired ceramic, or enamel dishes instead to keep your pets safe.

    • RS

      How did you know you had polyps?

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