Is Our Modern Environment Promoting Type 2 Diabetes?


Diet and Exercise May Not Be the Only Things Affecting Your Diabetes

By now, almost everyone knows that a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle contributes to the risk of type 2 diabetes. Far less known by the public are some surprising, lesser-known environmental factors that can also affect diabetes and may even be the reason some people develop it. But what can be done about them?

As the national epidemic of type 2 diabetes continues, the National Stem Cell Institute (NSI) –a leading regenerative medicine clinic in the U.S.- has become increasingly concerned about the role that our environment plays in promoting this degenerative disease. The good news is that everyone has at least some amount of control in reducing the environmental risks that may trigger diabetes and diabetic symptoms. So let’s take a closer look.

You, Your Diabetes, and the Environment

All through everyone’s life, all over the world, we are exposed to thousands of chemicals, often every day. Chemicals like BPA, vehicle emissions, and plastics that can contain phthalates all find their way into our lives, our homes, and alarmingly often into our bodies.

When these “every day chemicals” are absorbed by the body, they have the potential to alter metabolic function in a significant way. Many of them can even impact the body’s hormone balance and functioning. This includes glandular functions that become susceptible to type 2 diabetes.

In 2016, the highly respected medical journal The Lancet published an article about diseases related to household chemicals.

These household chemicals -all approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)- were purchased by households to the tune of $340 billion annually. This amounts to approximately 2.33 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). That’s in the U.S. alone. European households spend $217 billion annually. But at least Europe has tighter regulations on these endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

So, is there a connection between these numbers and alarming diabetes rates?

Many U.S. experts and researchers say there is. Part of the problem points to something very wrong with the way the U.S. regulates environmental chemicals and monitors their effects on our health. Ultimately, this is a problem that must be addressed on the national level. In the meantime, each American can take pro-active steps in reducing their exposure as much as possible and the risk of these chemicals triggering diseases like diabetes.

Reducing Type 2 Diabetes Environmental Triggers

Just to be clear: there is no argument that type 2 diabetes is primarily a product of poor diet and lack of exercise. Genetics, too, plays a role. But recent research points to there being more to the story than these established factors. Even given the well-known and accepted factors involved, the numbers just don’t add up.

For example, the International Federation of Diabetes has reported that the worldwide occurrence of diabetes totaled 415 million people in 2015 alone. It’s believed that this number will shoot to 642 million by 2040. This is in spite of continual awareness and education to get the word out about the importance of diet and exercise in the prevention and control of type 2 diabetes. Why does the increase in cases continue to grow so rapidly despite all that is being done to fight it?

Medical science is increasingly turning attention to the role of environmental chemicals in the epidemics of chronic weight gain and type 2 diabetes.

Studies have shown multiple links between chemical-laden environmental exposure and diabetes. Enough evidence has now mounted to support a scientific proposal known as the “developmental obesogen” hypothesis. The hypothesis proposes that chemical exposure may increase obesity risks by interfering with neural circuitry development involved with regulating eating behavior.

9 Chemical Triggers Suspected in Promoting Diabetes

  1. Arsenic

Modern research indicates that chronic exposure to arsenic may affect the body’s insulin secretion and boost the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The American Journal of Physiology published a study in 2017 proposing that arsenic “contaminates the drinking water of approximately 100 million people globally and has been associated with insulin resistance and diabetes.”

Indeed, it has already been established that arsenic is in our water, oil, air, and food. That makes it almost impossible to avoid. What is particularly disturbing, however, is that the FDA sets no limits on total arsenic in foods. Arsenic has been detected in foods as common as rice, chicken, apple juice, and protein powder.

  1. Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic compound used in the manufacture of certain plastics, canned goods, toys, medical devices, and more. Research points to BPA affecting a wide array of health disorders. It has also been shown to potentially disrupt endocrine levels and be diabetogenic. A diabetogenic is the word used to describe something that causes diabetes.

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published the results of human and lab studies suggesting that Bisphenol A exposure is associated with increases in risk development of type 2 diabetes. BPA directly impacts pancreatic cells and has shown to impair insulin and glucagon secretions. This results in the triggering of insulin resistance.

The best way to prevent bringing BPA toxins into your life is to switch from as many plastics as you can and use glass and/or high-quality stainless steel containers as much as possible.

  1. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

This group of man-made chemicals is an integral part of hundreds of industrial and commercial applications. PCBs are made by manipulating organic substances. But PCBs were discovered to be so toxic, their use was banned in the U.S. during the late 1970’s. Even so, Americans are wise to be on the lookout for many products that contain PCBs that are yet circulating through the country.

Prior to being banned in the U.S., PCBs were used to produce oil-based paint, plastics, floor finishers, caulking, thermal insulation, and electrical devices. In time, it was discovered that PCBs would release into the environment when waste containing them was burned, something that poorly managed landfills were notorious for doing. PCBs also leaked from abandoned electrical transformers.

As PCBs eventually found their way into groundwater, they entered the food chain through small organisms and fish. Including the fish we eat.

Research indicates that PCBs remain in the human body well after initial exposure. This is because the toxins eventually migrate to the body’s fatty tissues and store there. PCB exposure is linked to significant impairment of glucose function and insulin tolerance.

The EPA offers a write-up of practical actions that can be taken to reduce exposure to PCBs. It’s worth reading through.

  1. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Polycyaclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are produced when coal, gas, oil, tobacco, and garbage are burned. They are toxic air contaminants that can be found in vehicle exhaust, cigarette smoke, fumes from coal-tar and asphalt driveways, burnt meat and burning wood. The two most common sources of PAH ingestion in the United States is cigarette smoke and foods cooked at high temperatures.

Of course, it comes as no surprise that it is strongly recommended that you stop the use of tobacco products, and this is just one more good reason to do so.

But it is also recognized that asking the American public to give up their favorite barbecue or pan-fried chicken is unrealistic. However, there are ways you can reduce PAH emissions from seeping into your cooked food. When you’re grilling, pre-cook the meat in a pan over a medium heat or in the even in the oven prior to laying it on the grill. This will help reduce the drippings that splash onto the charcoal or propane coils that turn into PAH-laden smoke absorbed by the meat.

BONUS: You’ll be amazed at how tender and delicious your grilled food turns out!

  1. Phthalates

The EPA states that “Phthalates are used in many industrial and consumer products, many of which pose potentially high exposure.”

Phthalates are used in a wide array of day-to-day home products including:

  • Cosmetics
  • Household cleaning
  • Packaging material
  • Medical care products.

Phthalates are chemical compounds. They are used to increase the durability, flexibility, and transparency of plastic products. It may seem that a chemical compound used for various plastic containers and bottles wouldn’t leak into the human body. But a human study did in Australia detected phthalates in 99.6% of the participant urine samples. They also discovered that total phthalate concentrations were positively associated with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.

  1. Mercury

In spite of mercury’s toxic qualities being well established for at least 5 decades, the repercussions of its uses continue to this day. Research has shown that mercury can induce hyperglycemia by affecting the pancreatic beta cell functioning. It has also been shown through at least 34 separate studies that there is increased risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome due to mercury exposure.

Mercury is a heavy metal that is naturally found in the Earth’s crust. It is released into the environment through such activities as gold mining and coal burning. But mercury is also used as a stand-alone product in electrical switches, glass thermometers, fluorescent light bulbs, and in dental amalgam fillings. Mercury concentrations in the environment have lead to warnings about the consumption of fish, such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel,bigeyee tuna, and tilefish.

  1. Cadmium

Cadmium is another natural chemical within the environment. It becomes a problem with it is released through smelting and mining. But cadmium is used in industrial production beyond these, including:

  • Metal plating
  • Plastics
  • Color pigment production for paints such as oil, acrylic, watercolor, and spray paint

When cadmium contaminates the soil where food is grown, it can be absorbed by vegetables, rice and other cereal grains, potatoes, and tobacco products. It can also leach into groundwater. It frequently enters the food chain through water run-off associated with mining operations.

The FDA and EPA have set regulation standards to reduce cadmium risk related to foods.

It is now believed that food consumption alone doesn’t create undue exposure. However, people who used tobacco products are definitely exposed to higher cadmium risks. Likewise, anyone whose occupation brings them into exposure needs to be aware when working with cadmium levels. These jobs include:

  • Alloy makers
  • Auto mechanics
  • Battery makers
  • Mining and refinery workers
  • Pesticide makers

You can find a complete full list of occupations that increase the risk of toxic cadmium exposure provided by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

  1. Pesticides

Pesticides remain in wide use in industrial agriculture in the prevention and killing of pests that can potentially destroy crop volume. The problem is that the use of pesticides has created problems that are worse than their intended benefit. They have themselves become a global environmental hazard that affects the health of millions of people, including those with type 2 diabetes, as these pesticides enter the worldwide food chain.

The main problem is that pesticides are generally poorly managed, poorly restricted, with oversight in many countries being sloppy or none. This includes pesticide management in the U.S. A methodical review and analysis that appeared in Environment International examined the role of pesticides in the pathogenesis of diabetes. The 22 studies in this analysis found a high probability of association between increased pesticide exposure and the occurrence of diabetes.

Pesticides exposure can result in acute or chronic illnesses.

So limiting your intake of foods that are treated with pesticides is imperative. Organic foods are among the best ways to limit exposure to pesticides. Doing so helps turn 12 natural fruits and vegetables from the dirty dozen to the healthy dozen. They include:

  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  1. Nickel

No, we’re not talking about your pocket change, though this metal is certainly included in the manufacture of coins. Nickel is regularly combined with other metals to create alloys not just for making coins, but also:

  • Jewelry
  • Valves
  • Heat exchangers
  • Some batteries
  • Color ceramics

The danger comes from when the metal gets released into the environment through industrial processing in large furnaces at power plants or trash incinerators. But it has also been released into industrial water waste and has ended up in soil and sediment.

A Chinese study released in Oxford Academy’s International Journal of Epidemiology examined the relationship between nickel exposure and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes among Chinese adults. A valid connection between elevated levels of urinary nickel and higher fasting glucose levels and insulin resistance was positively shown.

People who are exposed to dust or fumes that contain nickel are at the most risk of toxic levels of nickel exposure.

Burning fossil fuels also releases a full 180,000 metric tons of nickel into the environment annually, making this burning and the industrial processing of nickel the top causes of environmental nickel contamination.

Fortunately, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reports that the general public is not at risk of dangerous nickel contaminants, as these levels are not significant in foods or drinking water. However, people who work in industrial environments that include the processing of nickel should take any and all necessary precautions.

In Conclusion

If you have been faithful in doing everything your doctor and nutritionist have advised for treating your diabetes and, still, your numbers are not coming in line as they should, it may be time to take a close look at what is in both your home and work environment that might be contributing.

Reducing as much as possible any chemically laden household cleaners, fragrances, and grooming products is a good start. Likewise replacing as many plastic products with glass and stainless steel will be helpful. Also, be sure to examine how your dietary and cooking habits can be improved to limit your risks.

If you work in an environment where you must be exposed to pesticides or the processing of certain heavy metals, be sure to take every precaution possible in the handling of and breathing in of resulting smoke and fumes.

About the National Stem Cell Institute (NSI)

The National Stem Cell Institute (NSI) is a leading regenerative medicine cell clinic based in the United States. NSI specializes in stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma therapy. From diseases like diabetes and COPD to injuries of the spine and joints, NSI has helped patients recover from disease, heal from injury, and improve quality of life.

NSI is a fully licensed regenerative medicine facility that strictly adheres to FDA guidelines. NSI encourages the public to call with any questions regarding stem cell therapy and how it may pertain to any health concerns. Below, NSI offers tips on selecting the right stem cell clinic for you.

What to Look for in a Stem Cell Medical Clinic

When searching for a qualified stem cell therapy center it’s important to remember that not all of them are created equal. Stem cells, when used properly, are your body’s most powerful means for healing that can repair everything from ligaments, tendons, and cartilage to organs including your liver, pancreas and lungs and even neurological tissue like your brain, nerves, and spinal cord.

Unfortunately, the majority of so-called “regenerative medicine clinics” in the world aren’t trained in the latest, most technologically advanced procedures and will, therefore, provide poor results if any.

The good news is the National Stem Cell Institute (NSI) has established the most advanced stem cell and platelet rich plasma procedures on the planet which has drawn patients from all over the world as well as professional athletes and celebrities because they are recognized as the best in the world at stem cell therapy.

What makes NSI Stem Cell the top stem cell clinic in the world is demonstrated in 5 key areas:

1. Highly trained and experienced, board-certified doctors and team members who have performed stem cell procedures on thousands of patients with incredible results.

2. Cutting edge procedures utilizing all that regenerative medicine has to offer for many chronic degenerative conditions.

3. Leading scientific researchers who follow the advanced guidelines to maximize the healing potential of your stem cells and to maintain compliance and ethics

4. Use of only the most potent and viable resource of living, viable stem cells and harvested on the same day. No vial that you can purchase will contain living stem cells. If there is no harvest then there are no stem cells.

5. Post-operative guidance for supporting stem-cell growth including rehabilitation, diet and supplement protocols. NSI is a full-service healthcare center focused on patient outcomes. Stem cell therapy is only one tool used to help improve patients’ lives.

Patients have raved about their experience at NSI Stem Cell Clinics testifying that it was their unique cutting-edge procedures that helped them experience a breakthrough when nothing else worked.

If you want to learn more about NSI Stem Cell Clinics, you can set up a complimentary consultation today to see if you are a candidate. You can contact the National Stem Cell Institute at (877) 278-3623.

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* Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary. As each patient’s problem is different, each treatment must be tailored around your specific needs.