by Dr. Kam Tecaya, with help from Angelique Pogue
Obesogens are considered endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and they can interfere with the human endocrine system, and thus, hormones. Obesogens are present in a variety of sources, where they can contaminate food, water, or the air, thereby increasing exposure. When these chemicals enter the body, they can alter energy balance regulation to favor weight gain.
The Different Kinds of Obesogens:
Glyphosate: The biggest source of Glyphosate is oats, wheat, and corn. Canola, almonds, beets, and soy are also very high sources. Glyphosate has been indicated in disturbing the microbiome and causing endocrine dysfunction.
BPA: BPA is found in plastic and canned foods, where the intake of BPA is most associated with obesity and chronic diseases. BPA’s are found amongst newborns, children, and adults; They can be measured by bodily fluids and tissues such as, blood, urine, saliva, breast milk, and fatty tissue. BPA’s that are found in the general population are linked mostly to obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Phthalates: Phthalates are present in many plastic and personal care items, and have been found in over 75% of the U.S. population. Phthalates are linked to an increase in the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Atrazine: Atrazine is a widely used herbicide in the United States and can have anti-androgenic and estrogenic effects. Atrazine can reduce the production of the luteinizing hormone, a hormone involved in sexual development and function. Research shows that herbicide exposure has a potential effect on chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and birth disabilities. There is also an increased risk of gestational diabetes in those who are pregnant.
Organotins: Organotins are a class of industrial compounds used as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) stabilizers, antifouling paints, and pesticides. One of them is called tributyltin (TBT), an active ingredient in antifungal paint which is applied to boats and ships to prevent the growth of marine organisms. As a result, it is released into the water and deposited in sediments, contaminating many lakes and coastal waters. Organotins such as TBT have a endocrine-disrupting effect in animals and are believed to promote obesity in humans.
Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA): PFOA is a surfactant used in waterproof clothing, nonstick cookware, stain repellent, and microwaveable food items. PFOA is also used to make heat, oil, stain, grease, and water-resistant products. The main source of PFOA exposure is contaminated water sources. Once PFOA is ingested, it can remain in the body for long periods of time. PFOA activates PPAR receptors in your body, which are involved in fat metabolism. Studies in mice suggest that those exposed to PFOA before birth had higher chances of developing obesity in adulthood, as well as increased insulin, leptin, and body weight.
Minimizing Your Exposure to Obesogens
While it is unlikely to avoid obesogens altogether, there are a few simple things to reduce exposure including:
• Opting for organic foods such as fruits, vegetables, wheat, and rice when possible.
• Minimizing the use of EDC-containing cosmetics and personal care products by choosing organic options.
• Choose stainless steel, cast iron, or glass containers over plastic for food and beverages.
• Avoid heating food up in plastic containers.
• If using plastic containers, opt for ones featuring the BPA- and BPS- free and phthalate-free labels.
These recommendations are especially important if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
What Can You Do?
• Minimize exposure
• Water and air filter
• Organic foods
• Grass-fed wild meats
• Avoid nonstick, plastic, BPA, etc.