A little while back we called vegetable oils “one of the worst foods you can consume“. That was before our article on the serious genetic dysregulation caused to lab rodents by soybean oil, and now another new study has shown that vegetable oils are seriously bad news.

In this new study, researchers looked at GM and non-GM varieties of various vegetable oils and discovered that they demonstrated ovarian toxicity in every case, as well as “remarkable estrogenic properties.” None of that is good.

As much as it’s nice to be proven right, the fact is that vegetable oils are ubiquitous in modern Western diets, in some cases providing the lion’s share of daily calories. In truth, the ill effects of vegetable oils have civilizational consequences. The sooner we acknowledge this and try to do something about it, the better.

New study on vegetable oils

vegetable oils

In this new study, out of the Tehran Medical Sciences University and published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Pollution Research International, researchers evaluated the reproductive toxicity of GM and non-GM vegetable oils in female wistar rats. They were motivated to do this research due to existing research on the endocrine-disrupting effects of these oils.

They fed the rats sunflower (non-GM), maize (GM) and canola (GM) oils which had been purchased from a local market. The oils were fed to the rats for 28 days, and a battery of tests were performed on the animals at the beginning and end, including measuring serum lipid levels and sex hormones, as well as performing necropsies.

Regardless of which oil the animals were fed, all of them showed worrying abnormalities in their reproductive organs, which included atrophy (shrinking) of the ovaries, congestion and multiple follicular cysts. Remember, the study only took place for a period of one month.

In addition, the researchers noted that these oils all showed “remarkable estrogenic properties”, with serum estradiol (estrogen) levels being raised in all of the animals fed the oils.

Soybean oil: most commonly consumed oil in the US causes serious genetic dysregulation in mice

According to a 2020 study, soybean oil — the most commonly consumed oil in America — caused gene dysregulation in mice which led to neurological problems, particularly in their ability to bond, and weight gain.

Four groups of mice were fed different isocaloric diets (diets with the same number of calories). One group was fed a diet that contained conventional soybean oil, high in linoleic acid; the second, a diet that contained genetically modified soybean oil that was low in linoleic acid; the third, a diet that contained coconut oil, which is high in saturated fat; the fourth was given a low-fat control diet.

The researchers noted that the two soybean diets had similar but non-identical effects on expression of genes for the hypothalamus, whereas the coconut oil had a negligible effect compared to the control diet. 

Among the genes that were dysregulated by the soybean-oil diets were genes associated with inflammation, neuroendocrine, neurochemical, and insulin signalling, as well as the production of oxytocin, an important hormone. Oxytocin is involved in empathy and social bonding, as well as other important biological processes including weight gain. Many of the genes that were dysregulated by the soybean oils are also linked to neurological diseases including Alheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and autism.

Insulin resistance, a topic we have recently covered in two articles (here and here), was increased by the soybean diets, and the mice on the conventional soybean oil experienced the greatest amount of weight gain, despite consuming the same amount of calories as the others.

Click here to read more about the potentially dire consequences soybean oil consumption could be having for humans too.

The researchers note that these estrogenic effects could have been caused by phthalate and xenoestrogen contamination of the oils, and end the study by calling for further research into the oils themselves and their effects on humans.

It’s worth noting that studies have already shown that vegetable oils can become contaminated with xenoestrogens if they are stored in plastic. This study out of Turkey showed that, of a variety of oils analysed using gas chromatography, the highest phthalate levels were observed in sunflower oil. Oils that were stored in polyethylene terephthalate showed the highest levels overall.

It’s worth noting that the amount of xenoestrogenic substances that leach into vegetable oils from plastics seems to be much greater than leaches into water, for instance. In one review study, the researchers stated that phthalates in edible oils “were 45-396 times of those in bottled water”.

The xenoestrogen menace

Once upon a time, not all that long ago, it was considered the sole preserve of cranks and conspiracy theorists to claim that industrial chemicals found in the environment, especially the drinking water and food supply (including vegetable oils), were causing serious reproductive effects in animals and humans. In 2015, Alex Jones, the host of Infowars, was roundly mocked for a rant in which he uttered the now immortal line, “I don’t like ‘em putting chemicals in the water that turn the friggin’ frogs gay!”

Now, though, just five years later, those previously fringe concerns have well and truly gone mainstream, accompanied by some truly dire predictions. On March 10, Politico ran an article with the headline, “No more babies? The hormone-altering chemicals threatening human procreation”, to coincide with the release of a new book on the subject by Dr Shanna Swan, a world expert on reproductive health at Mount Sinai, New York.

By 2045, Swan claims, the majority of men may no longer be able to reproduce because of the effects of harmful chemicals from a variety of sources.  ‘We’re about 40 years behind global warming, in terms of awareness’, she notes, and yet the threat to human survival is just as great as, if not greater than, our concerns about greenhouse gas emissions. 

According to Swan’s projections from available data, in 2045 the sperm count of the median man will reach zero, meaning that one half of all men will have no sperm at all, and the other half will have an amount that is barely more than zero. The implications are obvious: no sperm, no babies. Such a scenario has already been dubbed ‘Spermageddon’.

The root cause of the massive (59%) decrease in the sperm count of the average Western man between 1973 and 2011 appears to be the growing exposure to endocrine (i.e. hormone)-disrupting chemicals, such as pthalates and bisphenol A, which are now ubiquitous in the modern developed world. Plastics, electronic goods, packaging, pesticides, cosmetics, personal hygiene products and, yes, the drinking water and food supply, including vegetable oils, all contain such chemicals that disrupt male fertility.

And don’t think that women get off lightly either. Miscarriage rates have increased significantly over the last two decades, and women are experiencing puberty at ever younger ages. Such changes will only serve to amplify the male fertility problems modern men are facing.

Here at Herculean Strength we believe nothing is inevitable. What we advocate is a targeted approach that reduces our exposure to endocrine-disrupting substances, whether industrial or natural, as much as possible, and encourages a healthy, active lifestyle and diet that maximises natural testosterone production.

We’ve already devoted a series of articles to the dreadful effects of low testosterone, including its effects on mental health; the industrial compounds such as xenoestrogens and microplastics that are disrupting our hormones; foods that will boost your testosterone and foods that will lower it; and testosterone-boosting natural compounds. These articles, which include practical guidance on how to rebalance your hormones and optimise your masculinity, will serve as the basis for a full book on the subject, which we have tentatively named Reclaim Your Masculinity.

Regarding dropping male fertility: act like the fate of the species depends on your choices – because this time it really might.

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