September 3, 2013

Arsenic in Drinking Water and T2D

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arsenicThe prevalence of diabetes is increasing globally. We need water to survive. Trace amounts of arsenic are found in well water. A study published in PLOS One  investigates the association between T2D and arsenic in drinking water.

This study looked at the interaction between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes associated with the risk of developing T2D and arsenic in drinking water.

SNP is a variation in a single base pair in a DNA sequence. Most SNPs have no effect on health or development. Some of these genetic differences, however, have proven to be very important in development of T2D.

In a 2 year study, 957 adults who previously had been treated for arsenic-induced skin lesions were analyzed for their SNPs and their risk of developing T2D. The development of T2D was defined as having an HbA1c greater than or equal to 6.5%.

Arsenic exposure was characterized by drinking water samples collected from wells of participants drinking water. The arsenic levels in the drinking water were higher in diabetics drinking water than nondiabetic drinking water.

A significant interaction between arsenic and a specific SNP, NOTCH2, was observed which significantly increased the risk of T2D.

These findings suggest that genetic variation in NOTCH2 increased susceptibility to T2D in people exposed to arsenic. Certain foods qualify in this exposure category. Take caution when consuming rice syrups for sweetening, certain fruit juices, and well drinking water.

Arsenic taints drinking water in many parts of the United States. Check EWG’s Tap Water Database to see if it’s been detected in your water. If you drink well water, contact your local health department to find out if arsenic could be a problem in your well.

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