Gene Dysregulation Caused by Soybean Oil Behind Negative Health Impacts

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside found that mice consuming a diet high in soybean oil experienced the dysregulation of about 100 genes, some of which are linked to obesity, diabetes and mental health conditions.

Jan. 30, 2020
By Daniel Dawson

The over-con­sump­tion of soy­bean oil may have an impact on inflam­ma­tion, obe­sity and dia­betes, as well as neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions such as autism, Alzheimer’s dis­ease, anx­i­ety and depres­sion.

New research from the University of California, Riverside, has found that the con­sump­tion of soy­bean oil in mice is linked to the dys­reg­u­la­tion of the expres­sion of about 100 dif­fer­ent genes in the hypo­thal­a­mus.

We rec­om­mend that you avoid con­sum­ing too much soy­bean oil. A lit­tle bit is not harm­ful – soy­bean oil per se is not toxic – and in fact, it is help­ful in that it pro­vides linoleic acid, an essen­tial fatty acid that we must get from the diet.- UC Riverside research team

The hypo­thal­a­mus reg­u­lates body weight via your metab­o­lism, main­tains body tem­per­a­ture, is crit­i­cal for repro­duc­tion and phys­i­cal growth as well as your response to stress,” Margarita Curras-Collazo, a pro­fes­sor of neu­ro­science at UC Riverside and lead author on the study, said.

The dys­reg­u­la­tion of these genes leads to the over or under-pro­duc­tion of hor­mones – such as oxy­tocin and vaso­pressin – which have meta­bolic, inflam­ma­tion and neu­ro­log­i­cal rel­e­vance.

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The study found that mice fed diets high in soy­bean oil became more glu­cose intol­er­ant and expe­ri­enced more weight gain com­pared with mice fed a high-fat diet with coconut oil. Mice fed the high soy­bean oil diet also expe­ri­enced the dys­reg­u­la­tion of genes asso­ci­ated with autism, Alzheimer’s dis­ease, depres­sion, Parkinson’s dis­ease and schiz­o­phre­nia.

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Given its ubiq­ui­tous pres­ence in the American diet, the observed effects of soy­bean oil on hypo­thal­a­mic gene expres­sion could have impor­tant pub­lic health ram­i­fi­ca­tions,” the researchers wrote in the study, which was pub­lished in the jour­nal, Endocrinology.

While the two main chem­i­cal com­po­nents of soy­bean oil – linoleic acid and stig­mas­terol – were found not to be respon­si­ble for the dys­reg­u­la­tion, researchers are yet to iden­tify what is respon­si­ble for the dys­reg­u­la­tion.

An impor­tant caveat of our study is that we do not know if the soy­bean oil is directly affect­ing the brain,” the research team told Olive Oil Times in an email. It could be that since soy­bean oil causes obe­sity and dia­betes (at least in mice), it is either the obese state or the dia­betic state that actu­ally causes the change of gene expres­sion in the brain.”

Many organs play a role in obe­sity, in addi­tion to the hypo­thal­a­mus,” the research team added. These include the liver, mus­cle, pan­creas and fat (adi­pose tis­sue).”

However, the researchers said that the impli­ca­tions of the study were clear, even if the organic chem­istry was not.

We rec­om­mend that you avoid con­sum­ing too much soy­bean oil,” the research team said. A lit­tle bit is not harm­ful – soy­bean oil per se is not toxic – and in fact, it is help­ful in that it pro­vides linoleic acid, an essen­tial fatty acid that we must get from the diet.”

But we only need about one to two per­cent linoleic acid in our diet,” the research team added. Many Americans are cur­rently tak­ing in as much as 10 per­cent linoleic acid, due to the increased con­sump­tion of soy­bean oil.”

The trou­ble with soy­bean oil is that it has become ubiq­ui­tous in the American diet and is increas­ingly dif­fi­cult to avoid.

Unfortunately, in the United States it is very dif­fi­cult to avoid soy­bean oil. We often do not have a choice,” the researcher team said. Most restau­rants in the U.S. use soy­bean oil as it is inex­pen­sive (soy­beans are easy to grow which makes them a great crop)… Many processed foods con­tain soy­bean oil, even ones that appear to be healthy.”

Products from farm ani­mals likely have soy­bean oil or its com­po­nents that can make their way to human diet as well,” the research team added. This is because many times soy­bean oil… is added to ani­mal feed… in order to meet rec­om­mended energy require­ments and in some cases for fat­ten­ing up the ani­mals.”

It also remains unclear whether replac­ing soy­bean oil with health­ier oils, such as extra vir­gin olive oil, would have an impact on gene dys­reg­u­la­tion.

We can­not know what effect if any olive oil might have on gene expres­sion,” the researcher team said. We would have to do the exper­i­ment.”





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