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New harmful effects of soybean oil discovered
Soybean oil is the second most used oil in the world, although it is not particularly recommended for health reasons. New research results reveal that soybean oil consumption not only contributes to obesity and diabetes, but could also favor neurological diseases such as autism, Alzheimer's, anxiety disorders and depression.
In experiments on mice, researchers from the University of California Riverside showed that soybean oils seem to have far-reaching negative health effects. In a first study from 2015, the team already associated soybean oil with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance and fatty liver. The current study shows that the oil in mice leads to genetic changes in the brain, especially in the hypothalamus region. The results were recently published in the specialist journal "Endocrinology".
Soybean oil is one of the most used oils in the world
Soybean oil is the most commonly used oil in America and accounts for over 30 percent of the world's edible oil production. Soybean oil is particularly often used to deep-fry quick meals or is added to highly processed foods.
Soybean oil is definitely harmful to mice
The researchers warn that the consumption of soybean oil is very likely to be harmful to people's health. It is certainly unhealthy for mice. Tests with the rodents showed that regular consumption of soybean oil triggered genetic changes in the hypothalamic brain region. "The hypothalamus regulates body weight through metabolism, maintains body temperature, is crucial for reproduction and growth, and for responding to stress," summarizes neuroscientist Margarita Curras-Collazo.
Bad for love hormones
The research team found that a whole series of genes stopped working when the mice were fed soybean oil. Among other things, the production of the love hormone oxytocin was disturbed in the mice, causing the entire level to decrease.
Around 100 genes affected
The research team discovered about 100 other genes that were also changed by the soybean oil. The scientists fear that these changes could affect both energy metabolism and the proper functioning of the brain. Even if there is currently no definitive proof of this, the researchers suspect that this increases the risk of diseases such as autism, Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.
The above changes did not occur in control groups who received the same diet with other vegetable oils.
Not all soy products are unhealthy
"Don't throw away your tofu, soy milk, edamame or soy sauce," says toxicologist Frances Sladek from the study team. Many soy products contain only small amounts of soybean oil and large amounts of healthy compounds such as essential fatty acids and proteins.
Results so far only confirmed on mice
The research team points out that this study was done on mice and it is unclear whether the same effects will occur in humans. It is also still unknown which subtle mechanism is behind the changes. However, it is clear that neither linoleic acid nor stigmasterol are responsible for the process.
In a subsequent study, the team now wants to identify the connections that lead to the negative effects. "This could help develop healthier food oils in the future," added Poonamjot Deol, the study's lead author.
Coconut oil better than soybean oil?
"The dogma is that saturated fatty acids are bad and unsaturated fatty acids are good," says Sladek. In current research, coconut oil, which contains more saturated fats, has caused far fewer changes in the genes. "If there is one message that people should take with them, it is this: Reduce the consumption of soybean oil," Deol recommends. (vb)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek
- UC Riveside: America’s most widely consumed oil causes genetic changes in the brain (published: 20.01.2020), news.ucr.edu
- Poonamjot Deol, Elena Kozlova, Matthew Valdez, et al .: Dysregulation of Hypothalamic Gene Expression and the Oxytocinergic System by Soybean Oil Diets in Male Mic; in: Endocrinology, 2020, academic.oup.com
- Poonamjot Deol, Jane R. Evans, Joseph Dhahbi, u.a .: Soybean Oil Is More Obesogenic and Diabetogenic than Coconut Oil and Fructose in Mouse: Potential Role for the Liver, in: PLoS One, 2015, journals.plos.org