Chemicals in Food Packaging, Plastics, and Makeup May Lower Vitamin D Levels

Amanda MacMillan :

This is the first time BPA and phthalates have been linked to the “sunshine vitamin.” Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates—chemicals found in many types of cosmetics, plastics, and food packaging—may reduce adults’ vitamin D levels, according to a study published today.

Explore the potential impact of chemicals in food packaging, plastics, and makeup on vitamin D levels in this informative blog post.
Image by heberhard from Pixabay

But this is the first research to find a link between them and vitamin D levels in a large group of adults.

That’s important, say researchers,

(In many of these cases, doctors still don’t know if low vitamin D is a cause or a consequence.)

The study, published online by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, includes data from 4,667 adults who participated in a national health survey between 2005 and 2010. They also provided period blood and urine samples, which researchers analyzed to determine vitamin D levels and exposure to EDCs.

They also found a link between BPA exposure and low vitamin D levels in women, but not in men. Johns is a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

In fact, she told Health,

these finding may provide a clue as to how, exactly, EDCs are making people sick. “It is possible that this may be one pathway through which these chemicals may adversely impact health,” she says.

The authors can’t be sure why EDC exposure seems to affect vitamin D levels, but they believe that the chemicals may alter vitamin D in the body through some of the same mechanisms they use to impact similar reproductive and thyroid hormones. More studies are needed, they say, to determine what implications their findings could have on public health.

So how do consumers protect themselves?

Industry-wide bans have helped reduce levels of some EDCs in products like children’s toys over the last decade, research has shown, but at the same time, levels of others have increased.

“The widespread use of these chemicals, and their alternatives, makes it difficult to avoid exposure,” Johns agrees. But she does have some suggestions for people concerned about their vitamin D levels, and their overall health.

“It is possible to reduce exposure

by limiting use of plastic-containing products, finding natural alternatives to personal-care products, and limiting consumption of heavily processed and packaged foods,” she says.

And if you’re concerned about your vitamin D levels, talk to your healthcare provider. The latest government recommendations say that regular screenings for vitamin levels aren’t necessary, but your doctor can help you decide if you might benefit from getting yours checked, and from taking a supplement if necessary.

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