Diet Risks: Disposal Site for Nuclear Waste in the Beer Belly

15. December 2010
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To get slimmer does not only bring a healthier life to people with overweight. If the data of a study with more than 1000 US Americans proves right, dangerous environmental pollutants might wander into the blood once the fat reserves start melting.

“If you don’t start loosing weight you’ll end up in the hospital with a heart attack“. Almost every GP had to warn one or the other patient once the Body-Mass-Index (BMI) had past the 30. And those warnings are getting more frequent. According to the figures of the Robert-Koch-Institute, the rate of obesity in adult men and women increased from about 12.5 percent in 2003 to about 16 percent in 2009. And the rate is even higher in young people, from about 2.5 percent the index raised to 7.1 (men) and 5.4 (women).

Wobble gone – POPs in the blood

So: Diet and sports and loosing the kilograms! – Stop! If the results of Korean nutritionists, they published a few weeks ago in the International Journal of Obesity, get confirmed, the body exchanges the lost kilograms and thus the lower burden for heart and vascular system with a homemade intoxication. Because the burning of fatty deposits releases also lipophilic substances bound to the storage for lean times. If you are fasting and thus reducing your BMI, you set free a lot more persistent organic pollutants (POP): Substances we know from the news about environmental pollution like for example the pesticide DDT, dioxin or the plasticizer PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls).

Studies
of about ten years ago already gave a first indication for a higher concentration of poisons in the blood of people getting lighter. But only the results shortly after loosing the weight were measured. And also unclear was the answer to the question whether the strain created by POPs decreases once the fat has settled. Duk-Hee Lee at the Kyungpook National University in Daegu/Korea and his colleagues analysed data of 1099 participants in the age of 40+ in a large American health study. Here the researchers relied on the data provided by the participants regarding their weight one year respectively ten years prior to the study. A gas chromatograph measured the concentration of pollutants in the serum samples. The result: all seven pollutants defined showed a clearly negative correlation between change of weight and serum concentration. The coefficients for various PCBs and DDT-derivatives were around -0.2 in this 10-years timeframe. The person who gained weight decreased his/her POP concentration in the blood even more in comparison with participants with a stable BMI. Correlations for the change of weight within one year were also significant but clearly less.

Increase by 388 percent

If or if not this data can be transferred to Germany, has to be proven in similar analyses here. The US is one of the few countries that did not yet enter the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants regarding the production and distribution of POPs. Only up-to-date measurements can clear whether a reduction of these pollutants in the environment and in food has improved the situation. Because analyses in Canada several years ago showed a similar trend although the country has signed the convention in the meantime. For example Norman Teasdale from Quebec studied extremely obese people after they had a bariatric surgery and thus lost about 45 percent of their body’s weight. Chlororganic compounds in the blood increased by 388 percent.

Keep up with belly and spirit

Together with the increasing tendency for corpulence the risks for the pump and the supply system of the body increases as well. But already in 2000 a study in Wales showed that it’s not the moderate gaining of weight in the middle of life leading to a higher mortality, but actually the obesity in a younger age. If you were fat when you were 18, you most likely will die earlier that a well-fed person in his mid-fifties who gained his wealthy belly just in recent years. A publication from Finland in 2005 finally shows that mortality increases with targeted loss of weight. And a study made by neurologists in Pittsburgh/USA last year demonstrated that not only the body suffers from an excessive diet but also the central nervous system. Old people with a low BMI or rapid loss of body mass carry – compared to at least full figured people respectively to seniors with a stable weight – a higher risk for mental aberration, connected to Alzheimer and dementia.

Skinny makes sick?

Do we have to revise our suppositions regarding the relations between disease and body weight? Until today, at least most of the physicians thought that an acute or chronic disease causes an unwanted slimming cure. But perhaps the causal link is opposite. At least the results would be an explanation for the lower heart risk during moderate gaining of weight, as the authors of the Korean study think. Also Hans Hauner at the professorship for nutritional medicine at the Technical University Munich/Germany knows about the storage and release of environmental pollutants in the fatty tissue. Hauner explained to DocCheck: “As long as it is completely excreted via other mechanisms, it does not necessarily mean a disadvantage. But at the same time, immediate toxic effects cannot be excluded neither.”

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