There’s something in the air.
Discovery News—Steadily rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may be affecting brain chemistry, increasing appetite and contributing to the obesity epidemic, according to a new hypothesis, which still awaits rigorous testing and inevitable debate.
The idea proposes that breathing in extra CO2 makes blood more acidic, which in turn causes neurons that regulate appetite, sleep and metabolism to fire more frequently. As a result, we might be eating more, sleeping less and gaining more weight, partly as a result of the air we breathe.
Major studies are in the works to test the hypothesis, which is still very much in the what-if stage. But if the link pans out, the research would offer yet another reason to reduce the CO2 we produce, while also potentially inspiring new obesity treatments.
Is Obesity a Disease?
If it turns out that people are increasing their food intake due to this mechanism of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions, we would suddenly be getting a new dimension. This could give us an explanation for why the entire population on this planet is increasing in body weight as soon as there is available food.
What we’re doing is trying to be certain that we are not overlooking any very important factors that could be partly responsible for the obesity epidemic. I think we should be extremely open-minded about new causes of obesity. ~ Arne Astrup, head of the department of obesity and nutrition at the University of Copenhagen.