Dr Dingle's Blog / cleaning products

Personal care products and at risk populations

Personal care products and at risk populations

Some people are more likely to have health problems as a result of exposure to cosmetics and personal care products than others, even when the amounts of contaminants present are seemingly quite low. However, when the studies are done, the focus is on one ingredient and its exposure to a healthy animal fed a well-balanced nutritional diet. As individuals, we each have different levels of resilience and tolerance to toxic chemicals based on our genetics and our current level of health, nutrition and even lifestyle factors.

Susceptible groups include:

  • The developing foetus
  • Infants and newborns
  • Pregnant mothers
  • Asthmatics
  • People who are already sick or immune-compromised
  • Chemically sensitive individuals
  • The aged
  • Genetically susceptible individuals
  • Lower socioeconomic groups
  • Stressed individuals

… to list the obvious.

Asthmatics have particular sensitivities. Any chemicals, gases or particulates that cause irritation of the respiratory system’s mucous membranes will aggravate an asthmatic’s condition. Allergy-prone people who already show sensitivity to a substance with reactions such as sinusitis, hay fever, atopic eczema and other forms of atopic dermatitis are likely to react with heightened sensitivity to indoor air pollution. They may experience an aggravation of their allergies or develop additional sensitivities. The increasing number of people who suffer from 21st-century diseases such as chronic fatigue and multiple chemical sensitivities will also react to even very low levels of these chemicals.

Pregnant women, who may themselves enjoy robust health, are at risk because some of these contaminants pass over the placenta to the foetus. People under stress are more at risk because their immune systems are often not functioning at optimum levels. Other factors determining susceptibility include gender, genetic makeup, pre-existing health conditions and predisposition to disease, as well as lifestyle considerations such as work, diet and exercise.

There is little doubt that our kids have a greater susceptibility to toxic chemicals than we do. The younger they are, the more vulnerable they are. Every day we expose our children to hundreds of different chemicals in personal care and cosmetic products and yet remain puzzled as to why they get sick and why the rates of childhood asthma, allergies and cancer are higher than ever. Childhood leukaemia and brain tumours are leading causes of death of children in most developed countries and many studies are now showing a link between these conditions and increased toxic chemical exposure.

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Environmental Estrogens and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC's)

Environmental Estrogens and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC's)

Since the 1980's, there has been a growing amount of research toward the potential interaction between these environmental estrogens and wild animals, with a number of reports detailing the emergence of 'feminised wildlife’ around the world, and a range of adverse effects in humans including decreased sperm count, increased cases of testicular cancer and testicular abnormalities, increased breast cancer in men and women and premature or precocious puberty. Other adverse health outcomes linked with EDC’s include headache, migraine, depression, gastrointestinal disturbances, insomnia, changes in breast tissue and in vaginal bleeding. More chronic symptoms affect the cardiovascular system, the skin (itching, rash, abnormal pigmentation), the gallbladder, and tumours particularly of the breast but also uterus, cervix, vagina and liver. While other studies have shown increases in the organ weight of estrogen-sensitive tissues such as the uterus, and calcium and bone metabolism are all examples of the estrogenic effects. Even how we age and age at menopause can be affected by these chemicals. In support of this at least one professional and very conservative group, the Endocrine Society, has concluded that sufficient evidence now exists linking endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) to adverse human reproductive effects, including possible epigenetic and trans-generational effects.

Unfortunately, our babies are being born pre-polluted with chemicals detectable in their blood, in the placenta and in amniotic fluid because of exposure to these chemicals during pregnancy and throughout the mother’s life. The placental barrier has been shown to allow these chemicals to cross, as many of them have been measured in human fetal cord blood, fetal serum, human amniotic fluid and even newborn stools (meconium). Exposure to these chemicals before birth poses a serious health risks to developing fetus, infants and young children as shown by the increasing adverse effects including negative birth outcomes, childhood obesity and increasing intellectual disabilities. It is believed that current levels of environmental estrogen exposure results in lower birth weights, smaller head circumferences, poorer neuromuscular maturity and visual recognition, delays in psychomotor development, short term memory problems, and growth retardation in newborn babies. Fetal exposure to these environmental estrogens are suspected of disrupting thyroid functioning, sexual differentiation of the brain in foetal development and cognitive motor function and cause anxious behaviour. They are also able to bind to neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, neuroepinophrine and dopamine enabling estrogens to influence the body's central nervous system (CNS). Environmental estrogens have also been shown to effect the body’s immune system.

Studies have found strong links with exposure to excessive levels of estrogen in males with penis abnormalities, lower libido, congenital anomalies, failure of the testes to descend and testicular cancer, reduced penis size and increased embryo mortality.

What is most concerning regarding control of these chemicals is that there are no indications given or regulations set regarding the minimal age at which they should be used or exposed to them. Increasingly, pregnant mothers, infants, pre-pubescent and pubescent children are being exposed to a large number of products containing these chemicals, with no research to show that exposure is safe during these critical periods of development.

Equally strong is the evidence that these same chemicals can cause some of the most common cancers: prostate and testicular cancer in men and breast cancer in women. One of the most troubling is their association with breast cancer. Breast cancer is the major cancer affecting women in the Western world and one of the most disturbing and well documented current trends is the alarming increase in breast cancer incidence over the past few decades. Fifty years ago the risk rate was one woman in 20; today it is one in 8 and approximately two-thirds of breast tumors are estrogen receptive, and environmental estrogens like parabens, phthalates and BPA are known to bind to estrogen receptors. Estrogen-dependent cancers, such as breast cancer, are known to be highly responsive to estrogens for growth. Even more disturbing is the increase in numbers of young girls developing breast cancer.

 

https://www.drdingle.com/collections/book-sales/products/dangerous-beauty-1

 

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Mothers BPA levels linked with birth defects.

Mothers BPA levels linked with birth defects.

Evidence from animal studies shows that prenatal exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a ubiquitous endocrine-disrupting chemical, is associated with adverse reproductive outcomes in females and males. In females exposure during early gestation, a critical period for reproductive development, is of particular concern. The Anogenital distance (AGD) is a sensitive biomarker of the fetal hormonal balance and a measure of reproductive toxicity in animal studies. In some studies, the daughters of BPA-exposed dams have shorter AGD than controls.

The results of this study showed BPA was detectable in 94% of women. In analysis of the 381 eligible subjects, maternal BPA concentration was inversely associated with infant AGD-AC

In support of animal studies this human study shows that BPA may have toxic effects on the female reproductive system in humans, as it does in animal models. Higher first-trimester BPA exposure was associated with significantly shorter AGD in daughters, suggesting that BPA may alter the hormonal environment of the female fetus.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic chemical widely used in consumer products, including food and drink containers, thermal receipts, medical equipment, and other plastic products. BPA is detectable in over 90% of the population in the United States, and may act on the endocrine system in numerous ways, including binding to and activating numerous nuclear and membrane endocrine receptors, and stimulating changes in estrogen, androgen, progesterone, and thyroid hormone activity.

Dozens of studies in humans have examined BPA exposure in relation to a wide range of health end points, including reproductive, perinatal, and pediatric outcomes. Many animal studies and in vitro studies show that many tissues and organ systems (including the mammary gland, prostate gland, adipose tissue, reproductive system, and brain) are sensitive to BPA. In animal and human studies, BPA can cross the placenta to enter fetal circulation. Because fetal development is a period of rapid cell proliferation and differentiation, tissue development, and organ growth, prenatal exposure to environmental chemicals such as BPA may be of particular concern.

source

https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/ehp875/

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Common household disinfectants linked with birth defects, miscarriages and fertility.

Common household disinfectants linked with birth defects, miscarriages and fertility.

Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) are antimicrobial disinfectants commonly used in commercial and household settings and everyone is virtually exposed to these chemicals every day. Two common quaternary ammonium compounds, alkyldimethylbenzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC) and didecyldimethyl ammonium chloride (DDAC), are combined in common cleaners and disinfectants.

In this study introduction of a cleaner containing ADBAC+DDAC in the living chambers caused neural tube defects (NTDs) in mice and rats. They found increased neural tube defects with exposure to the disinfectant combination in both rats and mice. The neural tube defects persisted for two generations after cessation of exposure.

They also found that male exposure alone was sufficient to cause neural tube defects. Equally significant, ambient exposure from disinfectant use in the cage they were kept in, influenced the levels of neural tube defects to a greater extent than oral dosing. So the ambient exposure through the air and surfaces had more impact than the feeding.

These results clearly demonstrate that ADBAC+DDAC in combination are teratogenic (birth defects) to rodents. Given the increased use of these disinfectants, further evaluation of their safety in humans and their contribution to health and disease is essential.

Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) are a large class of chemicals used for their antimicrobial and antistatic properties. They are common ingredients in cleaners and disinfectants, hand wipes, food preservatives, swimming pool treatments, laundry products, shampoos, conditioners, eye drops, and other personal care products. QACs have been in use for over 60 years, but the number of products containing QACs has increased recently as the versatility of these compounds is recognized. Over time, the chemical structure has been altered to increase antimicrobial and surfactant efficacy resulting in multiple generations of these products. Many products now contain a combination of two or more QACs. Extensive use of QACs results in ubiquitous human exposure, yet reproductive toxicity has not been evaluated.

Because chemical mixtures can act synergistically to produce greater toxic effects than the sum of the individual components, evaluation of common mixtures is essential in the evaluation of chemical risk.

This study was initiated because some laboratories which breed and test with mice and rats had noticed some anomalies. One laboratory noted abrupt declines in mouse colony productivity, along with declines in fetal health, that coincided with the introduction of disinfectants containing the QACs, alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC) and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride (DDAC). Several years later, the laboratory encountered breeding problems and neural tube birth defects (NTDs) that began shortly after a change in room disinfectants. These experiences pointed to the QAC disinfectant but could not confirm toxicity because neither incident tested QACs under experimental conditions.

In an earlier study by the same team reproductive studies demonstrated that QACs adversely affect both male and female fertility and fecundity in rodents (Melin et al., 2014, 2016). Decreased reproductive performance in laboratory mice coincided with the introduction of a disinfectant containing both alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC) and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride (DDAC). QACs were detected in caging material over a period of several months following cessation of disinfectant use. Breeding pairs exposed for six months to a QAC disinfectant exhibited decreases in fertility and fecundity: increased time to first litter, longer pregnancy intervals, fewer pups per litter and fewer pregnancies. Significant morbidity in near term dams was also observed. In summary, exposure to a common QAC disinfectant mixture significantly impaired reproductive health in mice.

 

Source 1

Ambient and dosed exposure to quaternary ammonium disinfectants causes neural tube defects in rodents. Hrubec TC et al 15 June 2017. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bdr2.1064/full

Source 2

Exposure to common quaternary ammonium disinfectants decreases fertility in mice.

Melin VE1, Potineni H1, Hunt P2, Griswold J2, Siems B3, Werre SR4, Hrubec TC5.Reprod Toxicol. 2014 Dec;50:163-70. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2014.07.071. Epub 2014 Aug 14.

 

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Common household disinfectants linked with birth defects, miscarriages and fertility.

Common household disinfectants linked with birth defects, miscarriages and fertility.

Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) are antimicrobial disinfectants commonly used in commercial and household settings and everyone is virtually exposed to these chemicals every day. Two common quaternary ammonium compounds, alkyldimethylbenzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC) and didecyldimethyl ammonium chloride (DDAC), are combined in common cleaners and disinfectants.

In this study introduction of a cleaner containing ADBAC+DDAC in the living chambers caused neural tube defects (NTDs) in mice and rats. They found increased neural tube defects with exposure to the disinfectant combination in both rats and mice. The neural tube defects persisted for two generations after cessation of exposure.

They also found that male exposure alone was sufficient to cause neural tube defects. Equally significant, ambient exposure from disinfectant use in the cage they were kept in, influenced the levels of neural tube defects to a greater extent than oral dosing. So the ambient exposure through the air and surfaces had more impact than the feeding.

These results clearly demonstrate that ADBAC+DDAC in combination are teratogenic (birth defects) to rodents. Given the increased use of these disinfectants, further evaluation of their safety in humans and their contribution to health and disease is essential.

Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) are a large class of chemicals used for their antimicrobial and antistatic properties. They are common ingredients in cleaners and disinfectants, hand wipes, food preservatives, swimming pool treatments, laundry products, shampoos, conditioners, eye drops, and other personal care products. QACs have been in use for over 60 years, but the number of products containing QACs has increased recently as the versatility of these compounds is recognized. Over time, the chemical structure has been altered to increase antimicrobial and surfactant efficacy resulting in multiple generations of these products. Many products now contain a combination of two or more QACs. Extensive use of QACs results in ubiquitous human exposure, yet reproductive toxicity has not been evaluated.

Because chemical mixtures can act synergistically to produce greater toxic effects than the sum of the individual components, evaluation of common mixtures is essential in the evaluation of chemical risk.

This study was initiated because some laboratories which breed and test with mice and rats had noticed some anomalies. One laboratory noted abrupt declines in mouse colony productivity, along with declines in fetal health, that coincided with the introduction of disinfectants containing the QACs, alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC) and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride (DDAC). Several years later, the laboratory encountered breeding problems and neural tube birth defects (NTDs) that began shortly after a change in room disinfectants. These experiences pointed to the QAC disinfectant but could not confirm toxicity because neither incident tested QACs under experimental conditions.

In an earlier study by the same team reproductive studies demonstrated that QACs adversely affect both male and female fertility and fecundity in rodents (Melin et al., 2014, 2016). Decreased reproductive performance in laboratory mice coincided with the introduction of a disinfectant containing both alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC) and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride (DDAC). QACs were detected in caging material over a period of several months following cessation of disinfectant use. Breeding pairs exposed for six months to a QAC disinfectant exhibited decreases in fertility and fecundity: increased time to first litter, longer pregnancy intervals, fewer pups per litter and fewer pregnancies. Significant morbidity in near term dams was also observed. In summary, exposure to a common QAC disinfectant mixture significantly impaired reproductive health in mice.

 

Source 1

Ambient and dosed exposure to quaternary ammonium disinfectants causes neural tube defects in rodents. Hrubec TC et al 15 June 2017. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bdr2.1064/full

Source 2

Exposure to common quaternary ammonium disinfectants decreases fertility in mice.

Melin VE1, Potineni H1, Hunt P2, Griswold J2, Siems B3, Werre SR4, Hrubec TC5.Reprod Toxicol. 2014 Dec;50:163-70. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2014.07.071. Epub 2014 Aug 14.

 

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Triclosan - Deadly Ingredient

Triclosan - Deadly Ingredient

Triclosan is another one of those chemicals that is finally on its way out even though we have known of its toxic effects for decades. After many decades of scientific scrutiny many companies are now removing TCS. Colgate removed triclosan from its Soft-soap liquid hand soaps and Palmolive antibacterial dish liquid in 2011. Unfortunately, the big companies still deny it is a problem but are phasing it out because of public concerns citing “changing consumer preferences and superior formulations”. Interestingly most of the research now shows it is not even effective in what it does.

Triclosan (TCS) is a biocide used as an antibacterial and antifungal agent in a number of consumer products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, disinfectants, soaps, hair products, skin creams (0.1%), feminine hygiene products, and cosmetics (Fang et al 2010, Dhillon et al Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015). Personal care products and cosmetics are the major source of exposure and studies on human subjects using TCS-containing cosmetics showed variable but significant amounts of TCS in their body fluids (Allmyr et al 2006, Sandborgh-Englund et al 2006) compared to controls.

Triclosan is also used as a preservative, fungicide, and biocide in household cleaning products and is infused into other household items such as kitchen utensils, cutting boards, kitchen wipes, mop heads, computer equipment, clothing, air filters, flooring, toys, bedding, and trash bags (Fang et al 2010). Research suggests that beyond its use in clinical applications (in hospitals) and toothpaste to prevent gingivitis (Gunsolley, 2006) there is questionable evidence that triclosan provides any extra benefit in other consumer products (Tan et al 2002). In 2001, a national survey detected triclosan and triclocarban in 76% of liquid soaps and 29% of bar soaps (Perenceivich et al 2001) whereas now it is likely to be in less than 10-20% of these products. However, as we have already seen many times, what is on the label is not always what is in the products and it has been detected in conventional dish liquid products at low concentrations, although it was not listed on the product labels.

Because of such widespread use in cosmetics, personal care and cleaning products TCS is one of the more frequently detected and highly concentrated contaminants in aquatic and terrestrial environments particularly in drinking water (Dhillon et al Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015). Triclosan was among the top seven organic wastewater contaminants found in samples from a network of 139 streams across 30 states by the U.S. Geological Survey (Kolpin et al 2002). Looking at the chemical structure of TCS implies that it may have chemical properties related to many toxic compounds, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), bisphenol A (BPA) and dioxins (Allmyr Sci Total Environ. 2008).

Use of these products, which typically contain 0.1 to 0.3% of the compound, results in absorption through lining of the gastrointestinal tract and mouth, and through the skin (Bhargava etal Am. J. Infect. Control. 1996; Dann and Hontela J. Appl. Toxicol. 2011)

Given the prevalence of triclosan in the environment, it is not surprising that measurable levels have been detected in just about every person even if you don’t use products with it on the label (Casas et al 2011, Philippat et al 2014). TCS absorption and distribution are rapid in humans and detectable levels have been found in body fluids such as amniotic fluid, blood, breast milk and urine (Allmyr et al. Sci Total Environ. 2006, Philippat et al. Environ Health Perspect. 2013) and TCS was detected in 100% of urine and 51% of cord blood samples in pregnant women in 181 expectant mothers from New York (Pycke et al Environ Sci Technol. 2014). TCS was also found in human tissues such as adipose tissue, brain, liver and nails (Geens et al.2012). The high TCS concentrations in the tissues relative to the environmental concentrations suggests that TCS bio-accumulates and is distributed all through human tissues. Other chemicals such as Propylene glycol, which is commonly found in the same product, has been shown to increase skin absorption of TCS (Fang et al. 2014).

Moreover, TCS has been detected in amniotic fluid, indicating that TCS can enter the fetal environment through the placenta (Philippat et al 2013). Fetal life is considered a particularly vulnerable period for exposure to EDC’s because hormonal disturbances during organ development may introduce irreversible changes (MacLeod et al 2010). Studies on pregnant rats have also reported the greatest bioaccumulation of TCS was observed in the placenta and that the hormone disruption might subsequently affect fetal development and growth (Feng et al. 2016).

In the U S, about two-thirds of 90 girls surveyed, aged 6–8 year olds had detectable TCS in their urine (Wolff et al. 2007). Among some Chinese school children aged 3–24 years old, higher TCS levels in urine were reported among females than their male counterparts. 93 % of those between 18 and 24 years had detectable levels (Li et al. 2013). Interestingly, in one study triclosan concentrations were a factor of 2 higher in Australian serum than in the Swedish plasma samples (Allmyr et al. (2008) most probably due to the discouragement to use triclosan containing products by the Swedish government and the lack of concern from the Australian authorities. Samples collected around Australia were remarkably homogenous with little differences between various groups showing they all appear to have a high exposure.

Breastfeeding infants represents a major route of exposure to TCS. In highly industrialized countries elevated concentrations breast milk are common (Dayan 2007). This is a major concern because of their immature metabolizing pathways of infants makes them particularly vulnerable to the negative impact of TCS. Not to mention they may be relying on just one source of food. Moreover, levels of triclosan in breast milk may be increased by underarm cosmetic use, which presents a direct dermal route of exposure to underlying epithelial tissue (Darbre, Best Pract. Res. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 2006) and a study of Swedish women who are users of personal care products containing triclosan had higher concentrations in milk and serum than women who use similar personal care products that presumably contain no triclosan (Allmyr et al. (2006) showing that personal care products containing triclosan were the dominant, but not the only, source of exposure to triclosan.

Health effects

Similar to all the research on the other EDC’s the latest science has shown that even small doses of certain chemicals can significantly affect hormone functions, if they are delivered at the wrong moment. The endocrine-disrupting properties of TCS including its effects on estrogen, testosterone activity and disturbance of thyroid hormone action (Arancibia et al.2009, Crofton et al. 2007; Henry and Fair 2013; Jung et al. 2012; Schiffer et al.2014, Paul et al 2010, Rodriguez and Sanchez 2010, Rotroff et al 2010) has been shown to occur at concentrations typically found in the studies on humans and the environment (Foran et al Mar Environ Res. 2000).

Because of its widespread environmental contamination many studies have been done on aquatic species show the same type of results. In a study on toads TCS exposure not only resulted in delayed growth and development but also caused birth defects in the animals embryos, and the developmental effects of TCS at high concentrations may be associated with disruption of the thyroid (Chai et al Ecotoxicology. 2016). Another study on tadpoles exposed to TCS developed into smaller froglets and had malformed legs (Helbing et al 2006 Aquatic Toxicology). In humans, recent studies have shown an increasing number of potential birth defects. In a study of 520 male newborns, prenatal triclosan exposure was inversely associated with prenatal growth parameters at week 33 and was statistically associated with reduced head circumference at birth (Philippat et al 2014). In another study prenatal TCS exposure was associated with reduced head and abdominal circumference at birth (Harmer Lassen,et al 2014 Environ Health Perspect)

Increasing evidence suggests that triclosan plays a role in cancer development, perhaps through its estrogenicity or ability to inhibit fatty acid synthesis (Dinwiddle et al 2014, Lee et al. 2012), Rodricks et al. 2010; Winitthana et al.2014; Wu et al.2014; Yueh et al.2014). Including breast cancer (Lu and Archer 2005, Lee et al Chem. Res. Toxicol. 2014) and liver tumours. Numerous studies have now investigated TCS’s estrogenic action in cultured cancer cells, animals and human and have shown estrogen activity. The results of these studies suggest that TCS affects cancer cell proliferation, particularly in the presence of estradiol. In male rats, TCS exposure led to decreases in serum testosterone, sperm production and male reproductive gland weight (Kumar et al Reprod Toxicol. 2009) as well as reduced ability to reproduce.

During the last decade, there has been a remarkable and unexplained increase in the prevalence of asthma. Some have hypothesized that widespread use of antimicrobial ingredients such as TCS may be a contributing factor. This concept is based on the hygiene hypothesis, which proposes that lack of pathogen exposure during development can alter the usual development of the immune system by eliminating or changing the commensal microbiota. But also for the potential of these antimicrobial products to alter the gut microbiome which is so important for the development of the immune system.

There are also increasing evidence of TCS-induced allergic reactions in humans. Dermatitis following prolonged use of TCS-containing hand washes (Wong and Beck 2001) or when further exposed to sunlight after use (Schena et al. 2008) have been recorded. Similarly, blisters were known to have erupted in the mouth and on the lips of human subjects following prolonged use of TCS-containing toothpaste (Robertshaw and Leppard 2007). A study conducted between 2003 and 2006 found a positive association between elevated urinary TCS levels and allergy or hay fever diagnosis, and concluded that TCS may negatively affect the immune system (Clayton et al 2011). A more recent study using data from 860 children obtained from the 2005–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found levels of urinary TCS was positively associated with allergies and food sensitization (Savage et al 2012). Another study also found that skin exposure to TCS in the presence of an allergen can augment the allergic response to that allergen (Anderson et al Toxicol Sci 2013).

TCS is known to have a negative impact on β cells in the pancreas which impacts on insulin synthesis and function and ultimately contributing to diabetes (Pi et al.2007). Its negative effect on the power house of the cells, the mitochondria may also be a contributing factor to diabetes (Ajao et al 2015).

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