Thursday, August 12, 2010

Are Parabens Making Us Fat?

The Devil Is In The Details

Recently I came across several websites which sell organic all natural products and now are pushing a new mantra of "parabens making us fat" in order to promulgate a certain agenda, hoping to create more fear so they can promote their products.

Do I even have to suggest this is ridiculous let alone a disgusting marketing ploy? I mean everyone knows that if you can't sell your products on their merits, then by George, scare the customer into buying them....customers love that! Plus it begins the spiral of spreading this rumor by those that believe, which in turn scares more people, which in turn becomes reality through ones perspective, literally taking on a life of its' own. These types of marketers are hooked on the "chicken little syndrome" and can only sustain in our world by dealing with the negative aspects of it. I prefer to live in the positive...but that's just me!

There are few things that scare me in life, but when I read these blurbs on blogs and websites, I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I read this hyperbole, which I am sure is similar to those that get the same feeling whenever they buy into this propaganda as reality.

Many of us enjoy a thrill ride or a scary movie for the adrenalin rush, but for some a roller coaster ride can be quite nauseating. I equate this to a roller coaster of truth versus deception, and this is not a thrill ride most care to endure, and can be quite draining to the person seeking the truth. And to those that do this type of thing to the unsuspecting consumer by spending this much time turning over every little rock to come up with and spread this latest science fiction, is reaching an all new low and is disingenuous to say the least.

Equating Science With Theory

They like to compare the introduction of parabens into our personal care products as to the increase in thyroid cancer over the past 25 years. Well this could be scary except this has little meaning and little to do with science when increases in any illness is due mainly to increases in the population, and our reporting bases have become more sophisticated in tracking this data.

In fact research shows that incidences in cancer are dropping since 2000 and people are living longer due to healthier lifestyle changes. This is a given!

Furthermore, these spreaders of myth and hysteria go on to state that the increase of obesity in this country and globally is linked to the use of parabens because they are still debating the issue as to them being endocrine disrupting. Basically having an oestrogenic effect which behaves similarly to estrogen we make within our bodies, which is then stored in our fat cells, which in turn is making us fat.

Great theory, but scientifically inaccurate! Plus, as a woman, who since being a young adult, used birth control, some hormone replacement therapy for a time and now passing through the gateway of menopause, I can only say from my experience, in every instance of using estrogen, I lost weight. So how can this be?

My estrogen has since been tested to see if I am truly entering menopause and my levels have fallen considerably, so based on my analysis of my hormones of estrogen, then why am I slowly increasing in body mass when estrogen is falling? Shouldn't I theoretically be getting thinner?

I'll tell you diet isn't the best, exercise is lacking due to my work schedule, basically fell off the yoga and workout wagon, my sleep habits are terrible which scientists correlate with obesity as well due to the cortisol effect from lack of sleep, (that's a whole other subject), and I take full accountability for where my body is today. I make no excuses and I blame no one or any one thing. Diet and exercise are key to being at a healthy weight and to stave off cancer and other diseases.

This is similar to theorizing which came first, The Chicken or The Egg?

It is fact, that estrogen is stored in fat cells, it is fact that the more obese we are the more reoccurring estrogen within our bodies along with an increase risk of cancer...but it is also fact, that when we lose fat, estrogen levels will drop and restore to normal or fall below depending on what life change we are in.

So the question remains, is it the estrogen that makes us fat or is it the fat that retains the estrogen? It is the latter as we all know.....lose the weight and estrogen levels will fall. This is why extreme female athletes deal with amenorrhea, absence of periods, caused by reduced body fat. Plus when eating all those healthy fruits and vegetables, your body will benefit from low levels of estrogen they provide for keeping us heart healthy and fight off osteoporosis, some of which can also help with hot flashes and night sweats.

The Truth Of The Matter

We have become a sedentary nation and our youth are heavier than they have ever been before in the history of it. Improper diet, unsupervised eating habits of junk food and soft drinks, and video games has created an epidemic of obesity, not only in children, but adults also.

When I was younger, I was a full on athlete, never being at home much once I entered junior high. I was an English equestrian, riding in competitions, karate, racquet ball, played tennis, water and snowed skied, volleyball, swimming, ballet, you name it, my mother had me in it....and I loved it all, well except for the French and piano lessons. On summer evenings we were outside with our friends riding bikes, playing green light, red light, hide and seek and tag. The activity was boundless....and I ate two Big Mac's almost everyday with fries and a coke. I weighed 100 lbs soaking wet at 5' 3" tall all the way up until I turned 30....until then it was Metabolism baby!

I look at myself today, and some times ask myself, "what the hell happened?" And to answer myself back, "LIFE happened!" Some say this is the beginning of insanity when we answer ourselves....I just say it is empty nest syndrome and menopause!

Go to any gym, observe our athletes, young or old, or walk around a park and notice the joggers, the cyclists, the aerobics class our Hollywood actresses, etc, etc, of which I am in awe of, they are in shape, look great and did so through proper diet and exercise....literally working their buns off to achieve the bodies they have. They didn't get them by eating twinkies and watching the boob tube endless hours, complaining that parabens are making them fat.

Our bodies are designed to move and spending 8 hours a day at a desk will take its toll on any person unless they get up and move after work. Go to the couch later and it is a repeat of the day we spent at our desks.

Blaming parabens as causing us to be fat is a cynical viewpoint and one that does not hold water. The blame game in order to avoid personal responsibility about our choices in life is something that is a growing epidemic.

Let's Compare Shall We

Fruits and vegetables contain parabens. They also contain phytoestrogens. Asian nations have some of the lowest rates of cancer and obesity......why?....because mainly it is how they eat and the level of exercise they perform. However, an increase in obesity is occurring in China and across the globe. A study was conducted by Rutgers on why we are starting to see obesity occur in certain nations while others are still remaining quite fit and healthy.... and I can assure you it is not linked to Parabens. It has been noted and linked to transportation as prosperity grows, and you can read the report Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2008, 5, 795-814.

Basically with increase of personal transportation to and from destinations, level of exercise decreased, when the typical method of getting around was either walking or riding a bike.

The benefits of anti carcinogenic and anti mutagenic properties with a diet rich with leafy greens, fruits and other vegetables is the best argument for increasing these in our systems, while reducing fatty meats, sugars and chemically laden processed foods. Our bodies were not designed to metabolize synthetic chemicals in our diets. Plus, calories in, calories out....if you are consuming more than you burn each day, you will gain weight....common sense is that simple.

However, this tired mantra espoused by these marketers to sell their products of stating absorption of skin care products is at an alarming 60%, is the perpetuated myth we see over and over on the internet and now is supposedly linked to obesity through the absorption of parabens.

Where did they get this number? I have tracked this repeatedly, and I can't find a single source of scientific evidence to support this theory. In fact, unless the product is completely made up of nano particles, this is impossible since most all skincare products and cosmetics are created with larger micron size which is designed to not penetrate much below the skins' surface. This is standard knowledge within the industry. These may absorb into the epidermis as moisturizing creams are designed to do, (surface barrier) but will rarely reach the dermis much less penetrate into the blood brain barrier.

The Science Presented By Dene Godfrey August 8 2010:

Dene Godfrey is President at the Society of Cosmetic Scientists in the United Kingdom and has over 28 years experience of preservation of personal care products in technical and commercial roles, including NPD (New Product Development).

Can Parabens Make You Fat?

A very simple question, but one that requires a detailed scientific answer, unfortunately!

Recently, one or two web sites have started to ask this question, or even state it as an unassailable fact. At first glance, the claim seems ridiculous, but there is a sort of strange logic behind it, albeit based on misinformation. The logic is based on the erroneous claim that parabens mimic oestrogen. Oestrogen is related to increased body fat (one of the reasons why women tend to have more body fat than men – at least, in different places!). The problem with this train of logic is that parabens do not mimic oestrogen, despite what many anti-chemicals organizations and commentators may claim.

The main source of this information was a study by Routledge in 1998 (Routledge, E.J, Parker, J, Odum, J, Ashby, J and Sumpter, J.P. Tox. & Appl. Pharm. 153, 12 - 19) which measured the oestrogenic activity of several of the parabens, both in vitro and in vivo – the in vivo results are the more relevant, because they better reflect “life”. ( In vitro means “in glass”; “in vivo” means “in life”.)

This study found that butylparaben had oestrogenic activity 100,000 times weaker than the natural oestrogen tested alongside for comparison. The same study also found that methylparaben had NO oestrogenic activity. (if you check for information on Skin Deep, the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetics database, you will see that they have quoted this Information incorrectly). The terminology here is confusing, because “oestrogenic activity” does not mean that the substance behaves in the same way as oestrogen – it simply means that the substance can bind to the oestrogen receptors in the body; so oestrogenic activity does not automatically mean oestrogen mimicry. In fact, a further study carried out in 2006 (Pugazhendi, D, Sadler, A. J, Darbre, P. D, J. Appl. Toxicol, 27, 67 – 77) showed that the potential to mimic oestrogen (by measuring the effect on global gene expression – the REAL measure of oestrogen mimicry) was extremely low, because the researchers found that the parabens all behaved differently – not only from each other – but also to oestrogen in their effect on global gene expression. Basically, it is of relatively little importance that substances can bind to oestrogen receptors ; what matters is the effect they have whilst they are bound, and parabens do not mimic oestrogen. – this 2006 study proves it.

Parabens do NOT mimic oestrogen, and nor is there any proven link to cancer, despite what you may read elsewhere.

So, the short answer to the question “do parabens make you fat” is “NO”!

End Report

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

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