A new study suggests that synthetic chemicals used in insecticides and garden products find their way to our food. These chemicals affect our melatonin receptors which in effect disrupts our circadian rhythm. Disruption in our circadian and sleeping patterns are known to put us at risk of getting diabetes.
Researchers at the University at Buffalo conducted their study on the effect of these insecticides to human melatonin receptors.
Senior author of the paper and professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Margarita L. Dubocovich says, “This is the first report demonstrating how environmental chemicals found in household products interact with human melatonin receptors.”
“No one was thinking that the melatonin system was affected by these compounds, but that’s what our research shows."
The research focuses on two chemicals, carbaryl and carbofuran. Carbaryl is the third most widely used insecticide in the U.S. but is illegal in several countries. Carbofuran is the most toxic carbamate insecticide, which has been banned for applications on food crops for human consumption since 2009.
“We found that both insecticides are structurally similar to melatonin and that both showed affinity for the melatonin, MT2 receptors, that can potentially affect glucose homeostasis and insulin secretion,” said Marina Popovska-Gorevski, the study co-author.
“That means that exposure to them could put people at higher risk for diabetes and also affect sleeping patterns.”
Dubocovich adds, “By directly interacting with melatonin receptors in the brain and peripheral tissues, environmental chemicals, such as carbaryl, may disrupt key physiological processes leading to misaligned circadian rhythms, sleep patterns, and altered metabolic functions increasing the risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and metabolic disorders."
The research is published in Chemical Research in Toxicology
See: New Evidence Linked Diabetes With Bacteria Contracted in Childhood