May 23, 2010
Pollutants Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes

Two pollutants and two nutrients influence the risk of getting insulin resistant type 2 diabetes.

By comparing the blood or urine concentrations of each factor between the case group and the control group, Butte and Patel identified four factors linked to the disorder. Their analysis confirmed previous findings that high blood levels of industrial pollutants called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were highly associated with the disease. The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes was two to three times higher for those with the higher levels of the pollutant compared to those with the lowest. Type 2 diabetes prevalence among those with high levels of heptachlor epoxide, a break down product of a previously common pesticide, was at about two times higher than those with low levels of the compound. (The United States banned the manufacture of PCBs in the United States in 1979 and banned heptachlor for most uses in 1988, but the compounds persist in the environment, especially near former industrial sites or contaminated soil.)

Type 2 diabetes typically develops in late middle age. Obesity, lack of exercise, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides are among the risk factors for it. Type 2 diabetes increases the risk of many diseases including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and 24 types of cancer.

Surprisingly, consumption of the gamma tocopherol form of vitamin E is positively associated with type 2 diabetes risk.

The analysis also indentified a factor never before linked to type 2 diabetes: a form of vitamin E called gamma-tocopherol. Vitamin E appears in eight different molecular forms; gamma-tocopherol is the most common form in the American diet. Prevalence of type 2 diabetes among study participants with high blood levels of gamma-tocopherol—which, like other forms of vitamin E, is an antioxidant—was two times greater compared to people with low levels of the nutrient. Butte says that much additional research is needed to sort out how this form of vitamin E is related to type 2 diabetes. “This finding, in particular, shows the value of surveying across as broad a range of environmental factors as possible,” Butte says.

On the bright side, carrots and other sources of beta carotene probably will cut your risks of type 2 diabetes by 40%.

There was also good news. Butte and his colleagues confirmed previous studies showing the protective association of the vitamin beta-carotene. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes among people with high amounts of beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A, was about 40% lower than those with lowest amounts of the vitamin.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 May 23 10:16 PM  Aging Pollution Studies

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