Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical used in the production of resins, plastics, coatings of bottle tops, dental sealants, and so on. Exposure to the chemical has been linked to several health issues including decreased fertility. A recent study by the Harvard Medical School (HMS) proposes that such harmful effects are reversible through the use of a supplement called CoQ10.
Reversing the harm
CoQ10 is a substance that is produced naturally in the human body. It is also found in fish and beef. In the study, the scientists looked at how nematodes from the species Caenorhabditis elegans that were exposed to BPA reacted to the antioxidant action of CoQ10. Being an electron donor, CoQ10 is capable of stabilizing free radicals, diminishing oxidative stress, and eventually minimizing the damage BPA causes to the cells. BPA is chemically unstable and generates reactive oxygen and nitrogen species.
“When the antioxidant reserves in cells [electron donors] run out, the amount of reactive oxygen and nitrogen increases. Because of their chemical instability, they ‘poach’ electrons from mitochondria and other cellular organelles, cell membranes, proteins, and even DNA, damaging cells significantly and potentially causing cell death. If this problem becomes extensive, it poses a major threat to the organism,” research team member Maria Fernanda Hornos Carneiro said, as reported by Lab Manager.
In the study, nematode worms exposed to BPA suffered numerous DNA breaks that were not correctly repaired. The damage to DNA was assessed by monitoring a protein involved in DNA breakage and repair. Scientists hypothesize that the DNA breakage and the inefficient repair in the worms were caused by an increase in gonad oxidative stress triggered by BPA exposure.
These worms had their mitochondrial membrane potential altered quite significantly. However, in the worms that received a CoQ10 supplement, this specific marker was seen to be much improved, suggesting that CoQ10 might be potentially useful in reversing the harmful effects of BPA in human beings.
In February, a similar study on Caenorhabditis elegans worms also produced promising results. Researchers discovered that CoQ10 reversed or improved several types of damage caused by BPA on the worms. In fact, the worms that had been treated with CoQ10 displayed fewer instances of egg cell death, a lesser number of double-strand DNA breaks, and also decreased chromatic abnormalities during egg cell division.
Some of the early embryos had fewer instances of abnormal chromosome numbers and other types of defects. These kinds of abnormalities in human beings typically result in birth defects, miscarriages, and infertility.
Dangers of BPA
In addition to fertility problems, BPA is known to cause a host of other health issues in human beings. For one, people with high BPA levels have a 27 to 135 percent greater risk of having high blood pressure. One study found that high BPA levels also indicated an increased potential for diabetes and heart disease. In fact, BPA can potentially raise insulin resistance in the body, which is an important trigger of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
BPA can also make a person become fatter. Multiple studies point out that the chances of obesity increased by 50 to 85 percent if a person has been exposed to BPA for a long time. This is true for adults as well as children. Prenatal exposure to BPA raises the chances of developing asthma in childhood. Liver enzymes in the body will also be at abnormal levels due to BPA.