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 Soybean Oil to Cause Genetic Variations in Hypothalamus (UC Research) 

Soybean oil is the most widely-used oil in the USA and it is revealed through new UC Research that it causes many genetic problems in the people. Many neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, autism, stress, diabetes, and obesity are caused by using soybean oil.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, soybean oil is the most widely used edible oil in the U.S. used in the packaged foods, for frying fast food and for feeding the livestock, as it is not considered good oil for the health of humans.

A new study was conducted on mice for evaluating the results of soybean oil usage. The study was published in the journal Endocrinology. In this study, mice are fed and compared with three different diets that are high in fat i.e. Soybean oil, coconut oil and modified soybean oil low in linoleic acid.

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 In the 2015 study, the same URC team of researchers found that obesity, fatty liver, diabetes, and insulin resistance in mice were induced by the use of soybean oil. In 2017study, it was observed by the same research group that diabetes, obesity and insulin resistance reduced by using soybean that is low in linoleic acid.

In the recent study, the investigator did not find any different effects on the brain after using the modified and unmodified soybean oil. Pronounced effects were seen on the hypothalamus by the use of soybean oil. Hypothalamus is a place where many critical processes of the body occur.

A URC associate professor of neurosciences and lead author, Margarita Curras Collazo explains that the hypothalamus is important in maintaining the body weight through controlling the metabolism. It also involved in regulating the body temperature that is critical for growth, reproduction and stress response.

Researchers found that when the mice were fed with soybean oil, many genes were not working properly. One of them, one gene produces hormone oxytocin (a love hormone). The level of oxytocin in the hypothalamus reduces in the soybean fed oil.

100 genes were discovered by the team that is not working properly in the people who used soybean oil in the diet. There are many complications in this discovery regarding energy metabolism as well as for brain function and disease including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism.

No proof is available that these diseases are caused by the use of soybean oil. These findings are only limited to soybean oil, not to the soybean products.

Frances Sladek is a URC toxicologist and professor of cell biology stated that don’t waste your soymilk, tofu or soy sauce. These products contain a small amount of oil and have a large number of useful substances for the body such as proteins and fatty acids.

The study was conducted on mice and it is not always true that similar results will be found in the human if we apply the same conditions. Moreover, the study used male mouse and oxytocin is a female related hormone that usually promotes mother-child bonding and ejection of milk. The study must be performed on female mice for better results.

One other limitation of this study is that scientists have not found the related chemicals in the soybean oil that are responsible for producing the changes in the genes. Instead, Researchers have confirmed the two chemical substances that do not cause changes in the hypothalamus.

One is linoleic acid because by using modified oil that is low in linoleic acid genetic changes were observed. The second one is stigmasterol, it is a cholesterol-like substance naturally present in soybean oil.

Poonamjot Doel who is an assistant project scientist in Sladek’s laboratory said that it is important to find the chemical that is responsible for bringing the changes in genes. It will help us in the future for developing healthy dietary oils.

Out of saturated and unsaturated fat, unsaturated fat is good for consumption. Soybean is composed of polyunsaturated fat but its safe use in the human body is still not proved. Coconut oil is a saturated fat-based oil that induces fewer changes in the genes of the hypothalamus.

Deol gave an important message to people that reduce the use of soybean oil in daily diet.


Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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