Diabetes & Dioxins

Diabetes & Dioxins
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Industrial pollutants that build up in our own body fat may help explain the link between obesity and diabetes.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Finding higher diabetes rates among those heavily exposed to toxic pollutants—Agent Orange exposure, chemical plant explosions, living next to a toxic waste dump, or eating fish out of the Great Lakes—that’s one thing.

But, would the same link be found in just a random sample of the general population? Yes. A strong dose-dependent relationship between the levels of these pollutants circulating in people’s blood, and diabetes. Those with the highest levels of pollutants in their bloodstream had 38 times the odds of diabetes.

Interestingly, “there was no association between obesity and diabetes among subjects with non-detectable levels of [pollutants].” In other words, “[o]besity was a risk factor for diabetes only if people had blood concentrations of these pollutants above a certain level.” We all know obesity predisposes us to diabetes. But, according to this study, only if our bodies are polluted—only, perhaps, if the fat we’re carrying is carrying chemicals.

This finding kind of implies that “virtually all the risk of diabetes conferred by obesity is attributable to [these] pollutants, and that obesity [might] only [be] a vehicle for such chemicals.” Could we be carrying around our own little toxic waste dump on our hips? “This possibility is shocking.”

Now, it’s “entirely possible that the six” pollutants they looked at “are not themselves causally related to diabetes.” Maybe they’re just “surrogates of exposure to a mixture of [chemicals].” After all, 90% of these pollutants come “from animal foods in the general population.”

“Except for individuals living or working around industrial sites where [these chemicals] were used or dumped, the most common source of exposure to PCBs is from diet, with foods of animal origin, especially seafood.” So, this strong relationship they found between certain pollutants and diabetes may just be pointing to other contaminants in animal products.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Mikael Häggström via Wikimedia

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Finding higher diabetes rates among those heavily exposed to toxic pollutants—Agent Orange exposure, chemical plant explosions, living next to a toxic waste dump, or eating fish out of the Great Lakes—that’s one thing.

But, would the same link be found in just a random sample of the general population? Yes. A strong dose-dependent relationship between the levels of these pollutants circulating in people’s blood, and diabetes. Those with the highest levels of pollutants in their bloodstream had 38 times the odds of diabetes.

Interestingly, “there was no association between obesity and diabetes among subjects with non-detectable levels of [pollutants].” In other words, “[o]besity was a risk factor for diabetes only if people had blood concentrations of these pollutants above a certain level.” We all know obesity predisposes us to diabetes. But, according to this study, only if our bodies are polluted—only, perhaps, if the fat we’re carrying is carrying chemicals.

This finding kind of implies that “virtually all the risk of diabetes conferred by obesity is attributable to [these] pollutants, and that obesity [might] only [be] a vehicle for such chemicals.” Could we be carrying around our own little toxic waste dump on our hips? “This possibility is shocking.”

Now, it’s “entirely possible that the six” pollutants they looked at “are not themselves causally related to diabetes.” Maybe they’re just “surrogates of exposure to a mixture of [chemicals].” After all, 90% of these pollutants come “from animal foods in the general population.”

“Except for individuals living or working around industrial sites where [these chemicals] were used or dumped, the most common source of exposure to PCBs is from diet, with foods of animal origin, especially seafood.” So, this strong relationship they found between certain pollutants and diabetes may just be pointing to other contaminants in animal products.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Mikael Häggström via Wikimedia

Nota del Doctor

If these pollutants are particularly found in seafood, are fish-eaters at higher risk for diabetes? See Fish & Diabetes and Pollutants in Salmon & Our Own Fat.

For more on dioxins, see:

For more on PCBs, see:

These pollutants may also play a role in our rising epidemic of allergic diseases; see Alkylphenol Endocrine Disruptors & Allergies and Dietary Sources of Alkylphenol Endocrine Disruptors.

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