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A proposed potential role for increasing atmospheric CO2 as a promoter of weight gain and obesity

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Human obesity has evolved into a global epidemic. Interestingly, a similar trend has been observed in many animal species, although diet composition, food availability and physical activity have essentially remained unchanged. This suggests a common factor-potentially an environmental factor affecting all species. Coinciding with the increase in obesity, atmospheric CO2 concentration has increased more than 40%. Furthermore, in modern societies, we spend more time indoors, where CO2 often reaches even higher concentrations. Increased CO2 concentration in inhaled air decreases the pH of blood, which in turn spills over to cerebrospinal fluids. Nerve cells in the hypothalamus that regulate appetite and wakefulness have been shown to be extremely sensitive to pH, doubling their activity if pH decreases by 0.1 units. We hypothesize that an increased acidic load from atmospheric CO2 may potentially lead to increased appetite and energy intake, and decreased energy expenditure, and thereby contribute to the current obesity epidemic.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummere31
TidsskriftNutrition and Diabetes
Vol/bind2
Antal sider3
ISSN2044-4052
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2012

ID: 45422296