As most of my patients, friends, and readers know I have a special interest in the role that the environment plays in human health. That is why I am a professor at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and their environmental medicine Center of Excellence in Arizona.
Increasing evidence has consistently been found that environmental pollutants play a significant role in human disease.
Now a new article has come out in the government-sponsored journal Environmental Health Perspectives which shows that persistent organic pollutants (POP's) lead to insulin resistance a condition which is asscociated with diabetes, obesity, fatty liver disease, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. POP's are organic compounds that are resistant to being broken down by our environment through the normal processes. Therefore they persist in the environment and accumulate in human tissue and get magnified in food chains.
Epidemiologic studies have suggested that exposure to persistent organic pollutants in our diet might be a contributing factor to diabetes. POP's are known to accumulate in some foods such as fatty fish.
In this study, when the authors exposed adult male rats to crude, but not refined, salmon oil, the rats developed insulin resistance, abdominal obesity, and liver problems.
In rats given refined salmon oil this did not happen.
In addition the authors studied fat cells and found that POPS led to significant inhibition of insulin action at the cellular level, which is what we call insulin resistance.
This is a very interesting article because it shows that it may not be just fat that contributes to diabetes and obesity but an environmental contaminant in the fat, that makes it more likely that these diseases will occur.
This is just one more reason to eat organic as much as we possibly can.