One of the Most Common Ingredients in the Western Diet Has Been Found to Alter Genes in the Brain

The use of soybean oil has increased dramatically over the last few decades, to the extent that is has become the most widely consumed edible oil in the US and other Western nations. However, its rise has coincided with an alarming escalation in metabolic conditions like diabetes, insulin resistance, and obesity, and a new study indicates that this may be down to the way that soybean oil causes genetic changes in the brain.

Previous research has shown that mice fed a diet that is high in soybean oil are much more likely to develop these conditions than rodents fed on other fats like coconut oil. Further studies hinted that the culprit may be linoleic acid, as mice that consumed soybean oil that had been modified to lack this key ingredient were spared many of these harmful effects.

To better understand how soybean oil produces these negative consequences, scientists decided to investigate its impact on the expression of genes in the hypothalamus, a brain region that regulates metabolism and a range of other essential processes. . .

Writing in the journal Endocrinology, the study authors explain that soybean oil was found to modify the expression of around 100 different genes in the hypothalamus, affecting processes such as metabolism, neurological disease, and inflammation.

Among the altered genes were some that are associated with schizophrenia, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease, although by far the most affected was a gene that codes for the production of a hormone called oxytocin. (Read more from “One of the Most Common Ingredients in the Western Diet Has Been Found to Alter Genes in the Brain” HERE)

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