Monday, April 16, 2012

High levels of phthalates associated with greater incidence of  type-2 diabetes  -- among 114 elderly Swedish women

Anything with such a funny name has got to be suspicious!  Be that as it may, publicity seekers have been targeting phthalates for a very long time -- long enough for there to have been many official reviews of the evidence against them -- reviews which find them harmless.  But if you keep doing studies of them over and over again, you are bound to get some "positive" results by chance alone -- and that is probably what we see below.  So it is wise of the authors below to be cautious in interpreting their results.

And don't forget the study which shows that phthalates IMPROVE male reproductive performance!  LOL

There is a connection between phthalates found in cosmetics and plastics and the risk of developing diabetes among seniors. Even at a modest increase in circulating phthalate levels, the risk of diabetes is doubled. This conclusion is drawn by researchers at Uppsala University in a study published in the journal Diabetes Care. "Although our results need to be confirmed in more studies, they do support the hypothesis that certain environmental chemicals can contribute to the development of diabetes," says Monica Lind, associate professor of environmental medicine at the Section for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Uppsala University.

Together with Lars Lind, professor of medicine at Uppsala University, she has analysed new information from the so-called PIVUS study, which covers more than 1,000 70-year-old women and men in Uppsala.

In a physical examination participants were examined for fasting blood sugar and various insulin measures. They submitted blood samples for analysis of various environmental toxins, including several substances formed when the body breaks down so-called phthalates. Most people come into daily contact with phthalates as they are used a softening agents in plastics and as carriers of perfumes in cosmetics and self-care products.

As expected, diabetes was more common among participants who were overweight and had high blood lipids. But the researchers also found a connection between blood levels of some of the phthalates and increased prevalence of diabetes, even after adjusting for obesity, blood lipids, smoking, and exercise habits. Individuals with elevated phthalate levels had roughly twice the risk of developing diabetes compared with those with lower levels. They also found that certain phthalates were associated with disrupted insulin production in the pancreas.

"However, to find out whether phthalates truly are risk factors for diabetes, further studies are needed that show similar associations. Today, besides the present study, there is only one small study of Mexican women. But experimental studies on animals and cells are also needed regarding what biological mechanisms might underlie these connections," says Monica Lind.

Circulating Levels of Phthalate Metabolites Are Associated With Prevalent Diabetes in the Elderly

By P. Monica Lind et al.

OBJECTIVE: Phthalates are ubiquitous industrial high-volume chemicals known as ligands to peroxisome proliferator–activated receptors (PPARs). Because PPAR-γ agonists modulate insulin sensitivity and are used to treat type 2 diabetes, we investigated whether circulating levels of phthalate metabolites are related to prevalent type 2 diabetes.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A total of 1,016 subjects, aged 70 years, were investigated in the Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors Study. Four phthalate metabolites were detected in almost all participant sera by an API 4000 liquid chromatograph/tandem mass spectrometer. Type 2 diabetes was defined as the use of pharmacological hypoglycemic agents or a fasting plasma glucose >7.0 mmol/L.

RESULTS: A total of 114 subjects were shown to have diabetes. Following adjustment for sex, BMI, serum cholesterol and triglycerides, educational level, and smoking and exercise habits, high levels of the phthalate metabolites monomethyl phthalate (MMP) (P < 0.01), monoisobutyl phthalate (MiBP) (P < 0.05), and monoethyl phthalate (MEP) (P < 0.05), but not mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, were associated with an increased prevalence of diabetes. Using the fasting proinsulin–to–insulin ratio as a marker of insulin secretion and the homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance index as a marker of insulin resistance, MiBP was mainly related to poor insulin secretion, whereas MEP and MMP mainly were related to insulin resistance.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings in this cross-sectional study showed that several phthalate metabolites are related to diabetes prevalence, as well as to markers of insulin secretion and resistance. These findings support the view that these commonly used chemicals might influence major factors that are regulating glucose metabolism in humans at the level of exposure of phthalate metabolites seen in the general elderly population.


Sugarcane juice to be commercially marketed

You can get it freshly crushed  by almost any roadside in India so it is mildly surprising that it has not hit the Western world much as yet.  It's got to be pretty harmless and undoubtedly contains useful nutrients.  I used to chew sugarcane as a boy -- which made it good gum exercise as well

Swiss Australian consortium Nutraceutical and Natural Products (NNP) Ag has recently secured worldwide commercialization rights to PlantZap (patent pending), a natural electrolyte base for sports and health drinks.

The PlantZap concentrate is extracted from sugar cane, using new technology developed by Queensland Government researchers at the Health and Food Sciences Precinct.

PlantZap is free from chemicals and additives, the company says, low in sugar and sodium and rich in electrolytes (dominated by potassium). It is described as having a pleasant, naturally slightly salty taste, making it suitable to be consumed straight or formulated with flavors.

Its nutritional profile is similar to that of coconut water, which is an emerging beverage in the market today with global retail sales in excess of $1 billion, the company reports.

Unlike coconut water, however, PlantZap has virtually unlimited supply, and is therefore likely to remain price stable for the industry and consumer, the company says.

PlantZap’s taste is formulated to work well with the unique flavor systems developed by Ungerer and Company; a multinational flavor and fragrance house headquartered in New Jersey and the exclusive flavor supplier to PlantZap globally.

NNP sees great opportunity for PlantZap to be included as a natural source of electrolytes in existing sports and health drinks and claims that it is now in negotiations with one well-known brand in the U.S. that is interested in converting its entire range of sports drinks to PlantZap.

According to Mike Lehman, CEO of NNP, PlantZap dovetails with market direction. “Consumers are becoming more and more aware about the level of salt and sugar in processed foods and their diets. They also are starting to realize the importance of naturally sourced potassium and magnesium for their health and wellbeing. Here is a product which is low in sugar, high in potassium and with levels of magnesium that can be consumed daily as a naturally healthy way to hydrate,” he says.


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