They can get into our bodies through theskin or by thediet. They affect ourhormone system and are suspected of having an influence on ourbody weight. Recently,the Integrated Research and Treatment Center (IFB) Adiposity Diseases at the University of Leipzig and the University Hospital Leipzig, researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) have now published a study showing that the phthalate DEHP leads toweight gain and revealed themetabolic processes involved. >Plasticisers such as phthalates are always found in plastics.
Phthalates are used as plasticisers in polymer processing to make plastics soft, flexible or tensile. Under certain conditions, phthalates can also emerge from the material and be uptaken into our bodies most prominently by our diet. Phthalates are mainly transferred from the food packaging of fatty products, e.g. cheese or sausages. They are found in various places, including food containers, toys, beauty products, pharmaceuticals, shower curtains and paint. These chemicals can easily leach out of plastics and contaminate foods, the water supply and even the very air we breathe.
>The study shows where phthalates can interfere with metabolism and pave the way for weight gain. In studies at the University of Leipzig, mice exposed to the phthalate DEHP in their drinking water gained a substantial amount of weight. This was particularly true of the female animals. “It is evident that phthalates seriously interfere with the hormone balance. They give rise to significant changes, e.g. weight gain, even in low concentrations,” said von Bergen, Head of the Department of Molecular Systems Biology at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ).
The work at the UFZ focused on defining the metabolic products in the mice’s blood. The researchers determined that the proportion of unsaturated fatty acids in the blood increased and the glucose metabolism was disrupted under the influence of phthalates. The composition of receptors in the blood also changed. These receptors are important for general metabolism and may cause it to change. “Some metabolic products that are formed by adipose tissue also act as messengers and control functions in other organs,” explained von Bergen. “However, there is no conclusive clarification of how the various effects of phthalates on metabolism influence each other and ultimately lead toweight gain.”
Tips to Reduce your Exposure to Chemicals
- Use glass containers and canning jars at home for food storage.
- Use stainless steel containers in the freezer instead of freezer bags.
- Use a stainless steel water bottle instead of plastic bottles.
- Don’t drink bottled water from plastic bottles, especially when they’ve been exposed to sunlight.
- Use glass baby bottles instead of plastic
>Chemicals such as phthalates andBPA are widely used as an additive that prevents degrading of plastic structure, but they also interfere with our natural hormone levels which can cause serious problems to both males and females (lower testosterone levels in men, and premature girl puberty). Be Aware.