BPA-free packaging could impact diabetes care

A new study has revealed the benefits of reducing exposure to a common chemical for reducing the risk of diabetes. The findings are the first to provide evidence that BPA administration may increase type 2 diabetes risk and were presented as an Oral Presentation – Presidents’ Select Abstract as well as a Symposium at the 84th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association® (ADA) in Orlando, FL.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastic is a hard, clear plastic used in many products, including baby bottles, food containers, pitchers, and tableware. BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical, which may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. While BPA is linked to diabetes, no study has directly assessed if BPA administration increases this risk in adults. 

“Given that diabetes is a leading cause of death in the US, it is crucial to understand even the smallest factors that contribute to the disease,” said Todd Hagobian, PhD, author of study.We were surprised to see that reducing BPA exposure, such as using stainless steel or glass bottles and BPA-free cans, may lower diabetes risk. These results suggest that maybe the US EPA safe dose should be reconsidered and that healthcare providers could suggest these changes to patients.”

“With the increase in diabetes in the US, it is our duty to ensure safety within our products and in our homes,” said Dr. Robert Gabbay, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. “This is only the beginning of highlighting the need for informed public health recommendations and policies.”

In the double-blind study, participants were given either a placebo or BPA at the US EPA’s safe dose (50 ug/kg body weight) for 4 days to assess its effect on insulin sensitivity.  Forty healthy, non-active adults (22 F, 18 M; average age 21.3; average BMI 22.1; 85% Non-Hispanic White) completed a 2-day low-BPA diet, during which urine, blood, and peripheral insulin sensitivity were measured using a 120-minute euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp. Participants were then randomly assigned to a 4-day diet with either oral BPA (50 μg/kg) or a placebo, in a double-blind manner. Outcomes were reassessed using repeated measures ANOVA, adjusting for sex, BMI, physical activity, and ethnicity.

This study suggests that bisphenol A in food packaging may directly impact diabetes risk in adults, informing public health recommendations and policies. Results showed that BPA administration decreased peripheral insulin sensitivity after four days.

As this study progresses, two follow up studies are needed to accurately account for results. The first being to see if a lower dose of bisphenol A administration over several weeks or months increases diabetes risk, and the second to see if aerobic exercise, which is a powerful stimulator of decreasing diabetes risk, can reverse or overcome the negative effects of bisphenol A administration.

For more informtaiton or to read the full findings head here

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