Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Friday, 31 October 2014

Men are getting fatter because of hormones in plastic and soy, study claims -

Men are getting fatter because of hormones in plastic and soy, study claims - 

Scientists have claimed that the obesity epidemic in the western world could be caused in part by exposure to oestrogen, a female sex hormone.

Exposure to extra oestrogen inhibits the thyroid and affects areas of the brain, leading to more weight gain.

The authors, from the University of Adelaide's School of Medical Sciences noticed that in Western societies the rates of obesity in men is much closer to women than in the third world.

They believe that men are slowly becoming 'feminised' by contact with oestrogen, found for example in the PVC used to make water pipes, and this could even explain the drop in sperm counts amongst Western men.

Study author and medical student James Grantham compared obesity rates among men and women from around the world with measures such as Gross Domestic Product to determine the impact of affluence on obesity. 

He found that while it was normal for women in the developing world to have significantly greater levels of obesity than men, the developed world offers quite a different picture.

He said: "Hormonally driven weight gain occurs more significantly in females than in males, and this is very clear when we look at the rates of obesity in the developing world.

"However, in the Western world, such as in the United States, Europe and Australia, the rates of obesity between men and women are much closer. 

"In some Western nations, male obesity is greater than female obesity.

"While poor diet is no doubt to blame, we believe there is more to it than simply a high calorific intake." 

Co-author Professor Maciej Henneberg added: "Exposure to oestrogen is known to cause weight gain, primarily through thyroid inhibition and modulation of the hypothalamus. 

"Soy products contain xenoestrogens, and we are concerned that in societies with a high dietary saturation of soy, such as the United States, this could be working to 'feminise' the males. 

"This would allow men in those communities to artificially imitate the female pattern of weight gain.

"Another well-established source of xenoestrogen is polyvinyl chloride, known as PVC. This product is in prominent use in most wealthy countries, from plastic medical devices to piping for our water supplies.

"Micro-evolutionary changes may be occurring within Western societies that could also be leading to changes in testosterone and oestrogen in men. 

"This would certainly explain the various concerns about sperm count reductions among men in developed nations." 


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