Chemicals in Personal Care Products May Raise Diabetes Risk

Phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are commonly found in personal care products such as body moisturizers, nail polishes, soaps, hair sprays and perfumes. They are also used in adhesives, electronics, toys and a variety of other products.  Tamarra James-Todd, from Brigham and Women's Hospital (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues analyzed urinary concentrations of phthalates in 2,350 women enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Women with higher levels of phthalates in their urine were more likely to have diabetes; specifically, women who had the highest levels of the chemicals mono-benzyl phthalate and mono-isobutyl phthalate had almost twice the risk of diabetes compared to women with the lowest levels of those chemicals.  Secondly, the team observed that women with higher than median levels of the chemical mono-(3-carboxypropyl) phthalate had approximately a 60% increased risk of diabetes. And thirdly, women with moderately high levels of the chemicals mono-n-butyl phthalate and di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate had approximately a 70% increased risk of diabetes.  Writing that: “Urinary levels of several phthalates were associated with prevalent diabetes,” the study authors urge for:  “Future prospective studies are needed to further explore these associations to determine whether phthalate exposure can alter glucose metabolism, and increase the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.”

Tamarra James-Todd, Richard Stahlhut, John D Meeker, Sheena-Gail Powell, Russ Hauser, Tianyi Huang, Janet Rich-Edwards.  “Urinary Phthalate Metabolite Concentrations and Diabetes among Women in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008.” Environ Health Perspectives, July 13, 2012.

Insulin Resistance Linked to Brain Health

Whereas the main hormonal function of insulin is to support the uptake and use of glucose in muscles and fat tissues, insulin that reaches the brain enhances memory function.  Christian Benedict, from Uppsala University Sweden), and colleagues studied 331 men and women at the age of 75 years. The researchers measured the brain structure of each participant using magnetic imaging technology (MRT), and tested the subjects’ language skills by a verbal fluency test.  Among the subjects whose insulin sensitivity was still high, the brains were larger, and the subjects had more grey matter in regions that are important for language skills, as compared with those who had diminished insulin sensitivity. The team also observed that higher insulin sensitivity was associated with better scores on the language test. The study authors conclude that: “These cross-sectional findings suggest that both pharmacologic and lifestyle interventions improving insulin signaling may promote brain health in late life.”

Christian Benedict, Samantha J. Brooks, Joel Kullberg, Jonathan Burgos, Matthew J. Kempton, Richard Nordenskjold, et al.  “Impaired Insulin Sensitivity as Indexed by the HOMA Score Is Associated With Deficits in Verbal Fluency and Temporal Lobe Gray Matter Volume in Elderly Men and Women.” Diabetes Care, February 1, 2012.

Stem Cell Therapy Effective for Type-1 Diabetes

Among patients with Type-1 diabetes, therapy using the patient's lymphocytes passed through a device with cord blood stem cells “re-educated” the patient's cells, suggesting a potential safe, lasting treatment for the disease.  Yong Zhao, from University of Illinois/Chicago (Illinois, USA), and colleagues completed a study involving 15 subjects, 12 of whom received the treatment, finding that lymphocytes "re-educated" by passage with cord blood stem cells were effective in treating patients with type 1 diabetes with and without residual beta cell function.  As well, both insulin requirements and glycated hemoglobin levels decreased significantly in the treated patients with effects lasting out to 40 weeks.  Submitting that: “Stem Cell Educator therapy is safe, and in individuals with moderate or severe [Type-1 diabetes], a single treatment produces lasting improvement in metabolic control,” the study authors conclude that: “Initial results indicate Stem Cell Educator therapy reverses autoimmunity and promotes regeneration of islet beta cells.”

Yong Zhao, Zhaoshun Jiang, Tingbao Zhao, Mingliang Ye, Chengjin Hu, Zhaohui Yin, et al.  “Reversal of type 1 diabetes via islet beta cell regeneration following immune modulation by cord blood-derived multipotent stem cells.”  BMC Medicine 2012, 10:3, 10 January 2012.

Staggering Rise in Diabetes Worldwide

In its Fifth Edition of the “IDF Diabetes Atlas,” the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) reports that 366 million people worldwide now have diabetes, up from the 300 million estimated in the 2009 edition of the Report.  Moreover, the disease is responsible for 4.6 million deaths annually. Overall global spending on patient care for diabetes is $465 billion.  Experts call for attention to the diabetes epidemic, which has truly become an urgent global disease issue. Projections estimate that nearly 600 million people will have diabetes within the next 20 years.

“IDF Diabetes Atlas, 5th Edn.”  International Diabetes Federation, September 2011.

One Adult in Ten Will Have Diabetes by 2030

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF; Belgium) warns that the number of people worldwide living with diabetes is expected to rise from 366 million in 2011 to 552 million by 2030, if no urgent action is taken. This equates to approximately three new cases every ten seconds or almost ten million per year. IDF also estimates that as many as 183 million people are unaware that they have diabetes.   The greatest number of people with diabetes are between 40 and 59 years of age, yet the condition is a readily preventable cause of death and disability. 

5th edition Diabetes Atlas, International Diabetes Federation, 2011

Pollutants Linked to Type-2 Diabetes

People with higher levels of pesticides and other pollutants in their blood may be more likely to get type 2 diabetes. Duk-Hee Lee, of Kyungpook National University (South Korea), and colleagues recruited a group of 725 diabetes-free elderly adults in Sweden and took blood samples to measure their levels of the pollutants. Then, the researchers followed them for the next five years. Thirty-six of the study participants were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes over that time. When the team accounted for confounding factors, people who had high levels of poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in their blood were up to nine times more likely to get diabetes, as compared to those with very low blood levels of pollutants.  PCBs -- once used in paint, plastics, and for electrical equipment manufacturing -- are heavily regulated and no longer used in many countries, however the exposure to these chemicals in the general population still occurs because they have widely contaminated our food chain.  The researchers warn that: “This study found that environmental exposure to some [persistent organic pollutants] substantially increased risk of future type 2 diabetes in an elderly population.”

Duk-Hee Lee, P. Monica Lind, David R. Jacobs Jr, Samira Salihovic, Bert van Bavel, Lars Lind. “Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Organochlorine Pesticides in Plasma Predict Development of Type 2 Diabetes in the Elderly: The Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS) Study.” Diabetes Care, June 23, 2011.

Deanna Minich, PhD, Vice President of Scientific Affairs/Clinical Nutritionist, discusses how the average person eats 2,000 pounds of food per year and why its so important to make good choices with that ton of food.

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Rick Cox, President/CEO of RLC Labs, talks about the Halide Group of chemicals found in our food, water, and consumer products, and how they are causing weight gain and obesity.

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