Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a chemical that is biologically active and is found in the environment (xenobiotic). BPA is one of the most widely used chemicals throughout the modern world. One place BPA is commonly found is in the plastics used for drinking bottles and also in canned goods.
BPA is thought to be an endocrine disruptor that mimics several of the effects of the hormone estrogen in the body. Estrogen is a hormone that is known to promote some cancers, particularly breast cancer. Therefore, scientists are currently looking into whether BPA is the cause of many of the cancers in effect today. BPA has also been linked to aggression in females, depression, and lower intelligence. Recently, research has shown that BPA may be responsible for weight gain. The negative effects of BPA has been shown to be more predominant in the young and the elderly, due to their lowered levels of estradiol.
BPA has recently been in the news because of recent studies on animals and fat cells that has produced evidence that BPA may be making the population fat. The following is a list of ways that BPA may be making you fat:
- Supress Key Hormone – BPA has been proven to suppress a key hormone in the body, adiponectin. This hormone is useful to the body in protecting against heart attacks and Type II diabetes.
- Metabolic Syndrome – BPA has been noted to cause the occurrence of metabolic syndrome, due primarily to the suppression of adiponectin created by BPA. The harmful activity of BPA has been suggested primarily in the area of fat and sugar metabolism. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of risk factors that include lower responsiveness to insulin and higher levels of sugar and lipids in the blood. Without treatment, the disorder can lead to life-threatening health problems, including coronary artery disease, stroke, and Type II diabetes.
- Synapse Slowdown – BPA has been shown to dramatically impair formation of synapses in the brain, which may include those responsible for activities that inhibit weight loss or produce weight gain.
- Lingers in Fat Tissue – Studies have indicated that BPA does not leave the body quickly. Instead, it lingers in the body’s fat tissue, thus prolonging the effects on the body.
- Predisposed from Infancy – Animal studies have indicated the possibility that prenatal exposure to chemicals including BPA, which can be found in baby bottles, toys, etc., could predispose the body to a life of weight gain. Since BPA is an endocrine disrupter, it mimics the natural hormones that help regulate how many fat cells the body produces and how much fat is stored in them. Once this predisposed level is created during infancy and young adulthood, it would be difficult to reverse, as it becomes embedded in the physiology of the body.
Don’t Panic Just Yet
While BPA may be fingered in weight gain and obesity, it is not the only culprit. BPA exacerbates the problems created by overeating, high-fat diets, and a lack of exercise. Also, research points out the fact that the average person’s daily exposure to BPA typically does not reach the level that is applied in most studies.