Soybean Oil Alters Genes in the Brain - Study

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Used for fast food frying, added to packaged foods, and fed to livestock, soybean oil is by far the most widely produced and consumed edible oil in the US, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  In all likehood, it is not healthy for humans according to a study.  In 2015 the University of California Riverside research found soybean oil induces obesity,  diabetes, and fatty liver in mice. This year, 2020, a new study by the university found that soybean could also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and depression.  The new study was published on January 8, 2020, in the journal Endocrinology.

The new study compared mice fed three different diets high in fat, soybean oil, soybean oil modified to be low in linoleic acid, and coconut oil.  The study did not find any difference between the modified and unmodified soybean oil’s effects on the brain. This is in contrast to one of their earlier studies, which did find that if soybean oil is modified to be low in linoleic acid, it would cause less obesity and insulin resistance.  The research team did find noticable effects of the oil in the hypothalamus, a small part of the brain that plays a crucial role in many important functions, such as releasing hormones.

 The team found that the mice on the soybean oil diet had a number of genes that were not functioning properly.  “The results show that compared to the coconut oil and low-fat control diets, the two soybean oil based diets resulted in a significant dysregulation of more than 100 hypothalamic genes including those involved in neurochemical and neuroendocrine pathways and metabolic and neurological disorders.”  The authors added the findings could mean consequences related to energy metabolism, proper brain function and neurological conditions like autism or Parkinson’s disease. 

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