Beware of sugar as it can affect sex steroids!

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Washington, Nov 22 (UNI) Think twice before you add another spoon of sugar to your morning tea cup or gulp down a bottle of sweetened beverage as excess sugar can turn off the gene that regulates sex steroids, a research shows.

According to the research, eating too much fructose and glucose can turn off the gene SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) that regulates the levels of active testosterone and estrogen in the body, the Science Daily reported.

''We discovered that low levels of SHBG in a person's blood means the liver's metabolic state is out of order, because of inappropriate diet or something that's inherently wrong with the liver, long before there are any disease symptoms,'' says Dr Geoffrey Hammond, the study's principal investigator from the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Table sugar is made of glucose and fructose, while fructose is also commonly used in sweetened beverages, syrups, and low-fat food products.

Glucose and fructose are metabolised in the liver. When there's too much sugar in the diet, the liver converts it to lipid. Using a mouse model and human liver cell cultures, the scientists discovered that the increased production of lipid shut down a gene called SHBG, reducing the amount of SHBG protein in the blood.

SHBG protein plays a key role in controlling the amount of testosterone and estrogen that's available throughout the body.

If there's less SHBG protein, then more testosterone and estrogen will be released throughout the body, which is associated with an increased risk of acne, infertility, polycystic ovaries, and uterine cancer in overweight women.

Abnormal amounts of SHBG also disturb the delicate balance between estrogen and testosterone, which is associated with the development of cardiovascular disease, especially in women.

''With this new understanding, we can now use SHBG as a biomarker for monitoring liver function well before symptoms arise,'' Dr Hammond added.

The discovery dispels the earlier assumption that too much insulin reduces SHBG, a view which arose from the observation that overweight, pre-diabetic individuals have high levels of insulin and low levels of SHBG. This new study proves that insulin is not to blame and that it's actually the liver's metabolism of sugar that counts.


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