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Pesticides, Niacin, and ozempic

A new EWG peer-reviewed study has found chlormequat in four out of five, or 80 percent, of people tested.

The groundbreaking analysis of chlormequat in the bodies of people in the U.S. rings alarm bells, because the chemical is linked to reproductive and developmental problems in animal studies, suggesting the potential for similar harm to humans.


EWG’s research, published February 15 in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, tested for the presence of chlormequat in urine collected from 96 people between 2017 and 2023. The chemical was found in the urine of 77 of them.


The tests found higher levels and more frequent detections of chlormequat in the 2023 samples, compared to those from 2017 through 2022, which suggests consumer exposure to chlormequat could be on the rise.


They detected the chemical in 92 percent of oat-based foods purchased in May 2023, including Quaker Oats and Cheerios. The fact that so many people are exposed raises concerns about its potential impact on public health, since animal studies link chlormequat to reduced fertility, harm to the reproductive system and altered fetal growth.


Environmental Protection Agency regulations allow the chemical to be used on ornamental plants only – not food crops – grown in the U.S. But its use is permitted on imported oats and other foods sold here. Many oats and oat products consumed in the U.S. come from Canada.


Chlormequat was not allowed on oats sold in the U.S. before 2018, when the government administration gave first-time approval for some amount of the chemical on imported oats. The same administration in 2020 increased the allowable level. These regulatory changes might help explain why we’re seeing more frequent, higher detections of the chemical in Americans tested.


Chlormequat’s potential harms

Some studies show chlormequat can damage the reproductive system and disrupt fetal growth in animals, changing development of the head and bones and altering key metabolic processes. Although these studies focus only on the chemical’s potential effects on animals, they raise questions about whether it could also harm humans.

Research about chlormequat’s effects is ongoing, and no studies have determined how much of a risk this chemical might pose.


Until the government fully protects consumers, you can reduce your exposure to chlormequat by choosing products made with organic oats, which are grown without synthetic pesticides such as chlormequat.


High levels of niacin linked to heart disease, new research suggests

Excess amounts of vitamin B3 — which is found in meat, fish, nuts, and fortified cereals and breads — may trigger inflammation and damage blood vessels.


The report, published Monday in Nature Medicine, revealed a previously unknown risk from excessive amounts of the vitamin, which is found in many foods, including meat, fish, nuts, and fortified cereals and breads.


The recommended daily allowance of niacin for men is 16 milligrams per day and for women who are not pregnant is 14 milligrams per day. About 1 in 4 Americans has higher than the recommended level of niacin, said the study’s senior author, Dr. Stanley Hazen, chair of cardiovascular and metabolic sciences at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute and co-section head of preventive cardiology at the Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute.


The researchers currently don’t know where to draw the line between healthy and unhealthy amounts of niacin, although that may be determined with future research.

"The average person should avoid niacin supplements now that we have reason to believe that taking too much niacin can potentially lead to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease,” Hazen said.


The newly detected pathway to heart disease might lead to the discovery of a medication that could reduce blood vessel inflammation and decrease the likelihood of major cardiovascular events.


What Happens When You Stop Taking Weight Loss Drugs?

After taking Ozempic, Mounjaro or other weight loss drugs, people often experience rebound weight gain and other effects when coming off the medication.


Ozempic has become the catch-all name associated with weight loss drugs, but it was approved by the FDA in 2017 for adults with Type 2 diabetes to help lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke or death.


Wegovy was approved in 2021 for adults and children over 12 to lose weight, when used in tandem with diet and exercise.


Mounjaro works by activating two receptors simultaneously: the GLP-1 (like semaglutide) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, or GIP, receptors. Mounjaro was approved by the FDA in 2022 to help adults with Type 2 diabetes improve blood sugar.


In a 2021 study published in JAMA, adult participants who were overweight or had obesity completed a 20-week weekly treatment of semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy, in a randomized clinical trial, reporting a mean weight loss of 10.6%. From week 20 to 68, some were randomized to continue receiving semaglutide while others received a placebo, withdrawing treatment. Mean weight change was 7.9% weight lost versus 6.9% gained, respectively.


The results showed that participants gradually regained weight after stopping the weight loss drug, which the researchers point out is consistent with findings from other withdrawal trials of anti-obesity medications.


Essentially it means that you will have to take these drugs permanently to maintain weight loss.


When you stop the medication, your physiology goes back to what it was before your medication, and this effect can be immediate.


Because the drug affects your hormones and is injected once a week, which is the length of time it remains in your system, your body's composition is likely to return within seven days.


There is no such thing as a magic pill, and there will never be a substitute for proper nutrition and exercise.


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