Wednesday, September 17, 2014 Headlines & Global News

Environmental Pollution Linked To Long-Term Health Effects

By Sam Goodwin | Aug 31, 2013 06:19 AM EDT

Air Pollution Increases Risk of Preeclampsia and Hypertension During Pregnancy, Study
Air Pollution Increases Risk of Preeclampsia and Hypertension During Pregnancy, Study (Photo : Reuters)

Researchers of a new study found that environmental pollution may have long-term health effects like chronic diseases including metabolic disorders and diabetes.

We often find that in spite of eating well and exercising regularly we don't get the desired results. We find ourselves falling sick and not keeping as fit as we should. Researchers of a new study may have solved the mystery behind this.

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According to researchers from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, health effects are not restricted to how often we exercise or what we eat but all the environmental pollutants that may be present in the food we consume.

"This study adds evidences for rethinking the way of addressing risk assessment especially when considering that the human population is widely exposed to low levels of thousands of chemicals, and that the health impact of realistic mixtures of pollutants will have to be tested as well," said Brigitte Le Magueresse-Battistoni, a researcher involved in the work from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), in a press statement.

The study was conducted on two groups of obese mice. Though both groups were fed a high-fat, high-sucrose enriched diet; one group had a low-dosage, cocktail of pollutants added to their diet. Though these pollutants didn't seem to affect the weight and toxicity of the mice, researchers observed a decrease in glucose tolerance among female mice that received the cocktail of pollutants. This, in turn, suggested a defect in insulin signaling.

"Indeed, one pollutant could have a different effect when in mixture with other pollutants," Battistoni explained. "Thus, our study may have strong implications in terms of recommendations for food security. Our data also bring new light to the understanding of the impact of environmental food contaminants in the development of metabolic diseases."

On further investigation researchers found that the pollutants reduced estrogen activity in the liver through enhancing an enzyme in charge of estrogen elimination. Astonishingly, glucose tolerance was not affected in males that received the pollutants. However, males did show some changes in liver related to cholesterol synthesis and transport. This study reconfirms the belief that pollutants may contribute to the current prevalence of chronic diseases including metabolic diseases and diabetes.

Findings of the study were published in the September issue of The FASEB Journal.

"This report that confirms something we've known for a long time: pollution is bad for us," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal. "But, what's equally important, it shows that evaluating food contaminants and pollutants on an individual basis may be too simplistic. We can see that when "safe" levels of contaminants and pollutants act together, they have significant impact on public health."

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