Obese kids because their parents were exposed to environmental toxins? This is how epigenetic obesity works

According to the latest scientific findings, environmental toxins promote obesity by affecting our metabolism. How exactly this works and what toxins have this effect, you can find out here.

InsecticidesAnd Bisphenol A (BPA), air pollution The list of environmental toxins we encounter every day is long. It has long been known that these substances are harmful to health. According to BfR, BPA can damage the liver and kidneys, for example. Pesticides can be carcinogenic and disrupt our hormonal balance. Polluted air increases respiratory diseases.

There is now evidence of another negative effect of toxins: Several research findings suggest that environmental toxins interfere with our bodies’ ability to regulate body weight. Thus it can promote increased appetite and thus obesity. Since they sometimes directly alter our genetic material, these chemical consequences can also be passed on to subsequent generations. The researchers called for more attention to be paid to these findings in medicine so that they are able to combat or avoid obesity more effectively.

Environmental toxins and our metabolism

Environmental toxins promote obesity and make it difficult for us to lose weight again. This was suggested by three scientific reviews by more than 40 researchers. In their conclusions, the researchers cited about 1,400 studies that were conducted.

Environmental toxins can affect our metabolism and weight in different ways: Some toxins can directly affect the number of fat cells in our bodies. Others disturb our feeling of fullness. We keep eating because we are never full. Some environmental toxins also affect the function of the thyroid gland, or thyroid gland Intestinal germs. The altered gut microbiota then absorbs more calories from the digested food than usual. For example, they have similar effects sweeteners.

These chemical changes are especially dangerous for babies: if we are already exposed to environmental toxins in the womb and in the early years of our development, the consequences for our metabolism can be irreversible. Then we have a greater tendency to gain weight early in our lives and have problems losing weight.

Some toxins can also increase obesity over generations. Then they alter our genes through epigenetics, which we pass on to our biological children. A study conducted around 2021 revealed that weight gain in women largely depends on how much it is DDT Their grandmothers were exposed – although the granddaughters had no contact with the exterminator themselves.

What are the environmental toxins that increase obesity?

Environmental toxins can also hide in furniture.
Environmental toxins can also hide in furniture.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / Skitterphoto)

In the published reports, researchers note about 50 environmental toxins that are said to have the effects described. We encounter it almost everywhere in everyday life, for example in packaging, in air and dust, in water, household products or electronic devices. These include:

  • BPA(plastic component)
  • Phthalates (material to increase ductility)
  • Insecticides
  • flame retardant
  • Dioxins present, for example, in the exhaust gases of gasoline engines
  • Pollutants in the air (such as exhaust fumes, fumes, or smoke)
  • PFAS (The so-called “forever chemicals”, which are found in packaging or furniture, for example, are not biodegradable and accumulate in our bodies)

Based on the English word “obesity,” researchers also refer to these environmental toxins as obesity-causing agents. They criticize that the findings have not yet been taken into account in the dominant medical research. It is still assumed that obesity is caused solely by too many calories and too little exercise. Thus, medical professionals often blame people themselves for their failure to manage weight.

However, studies of environmental toxins can now more accurately explain why people are finding it increasingly difficult to eat healthy, balanced food. After all, the number of obese people has tripled since 1975. Currently, nearly two billion adults are affected worldwide. According to researchers, the etiology of obesity is responsible for about 15 to 20 percent.

Conclusion: what do we do?

In order to better control obesity globally, according to scientists, countries must better reduce the prevalence of obesity causes. For example, governments can restrict and control the addition of certain toxins in consumer products. This is already the case for many chemicals in Germany and the European Union. For example, the regulation regulates the maximum amount of BPA that can be transferred from a package into a food. This value is currently 50 micrograms per kilogram of food.

Pregnant women in particular should try to avoid prescribed environmental toxins. Parents should also keep children away from chemicals, especially in the first few years of life. For this, better education in the society is necessary first and foremost.

The researchers are currently concerned: the problem is currently not receiving much attention, and thus is getting worse instead of getting better.

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