The Health Sciences Institute is intended to provide cutting-edge health information.
Nothing on this site should be interpreted as personal medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before changing anything related to your healthcare.

Can a healthy pastime actually put your health in jeopardy?

There’s no doubt that this winter has been a wild one. Whether you got dumped on with snow, rain, hail or anything else Mother Nature had up her sleeve, I’m sure you’re ready for a change.

And I bet all those visions of sugar plums you had just last month are now being replaced by dreams of herbs, veggies and flowers!

But whether you plan on having a full-fledged “victory garden” when spring finally comes around or just a few patio pots that will soon be in bloom, don’t let your gardening plans make you a sitting duck for metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

That may sound far-fetched, but scientists at the State University of New York at Buffalo have found what very well may be the big reason why rates of diseases like diabetes are off the charts.

And the smoking gun could be sitting right in your own garage or shed.

The melatonin connection

The researchers started with a database of close to four million chemicals and eventually narrowed it down to just a pair of insecticides — carbaryl and carbofuran. They found both of these chemicals to “interact” with human melatonin receptors, which means they could actually mimic melatonin.

You may know melatonin as the hormone that helps you get to sleep at night. But what these SUNY Buffalo scientists discovered is that when your “melatonin system” is disrupted, some very bad things can happen.

Professor Margarita Dubocovich (who just so happens to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on melatonin) explained that when the melatonin receptors in our brains are interfered with, key “physiological processes” can be disrupted.

And when that happens, your risk of developing diabetes can skyrocket.

While carbofuran was banned for use on food crops in the U.S. almost eight years ago, carbaryl is another story. Walk through most any garden center or home improvement store, and you’ll have loads of choices of carbaryl products to choose from (some sold under the brand name Sevin).

And if these SUNY researchers are even half right about the risk this chemical poses, we’ve got a lot more to worry about than some bugs eating our plants or flowers.

Now, if you’re thinking that carbaryl would be tightly regulated if it really was that dangerous, you’re absolutely right.

It is — only not here in the USA.

Seven countries — including Denmark, Australia (where they’ve rarely met a pesticide they didn’t like!), Germany, Sweden and the UK — have already banned its use.

Despite this, carbaryl is the third most widely-used pesticide in America. It’s absolutely unbelievable!

And the two chemicals the SUNY researchers looked at aren’t the first ones to be associated with diabetes, either.

A rat poison called Vacor was actually banned when it was found to cause sudden type 1 diabetes in adults. And studies with farm workers and people who apply pesticides for a living, have found that exposure to numerous other chemicals (including dichlorvos and chlordane) also up the risk of developing diabetes.

And that’s on top of decades of data associating bug-killers to other illnesses, including cancer.

Yes, I know — less toxic, natural methods of pest control don’t work quite as fast or as well as these chemical bombs do. Some take repeated applications and still don’t eradicate the problem.

But considering the very real risks involved, especially to your kids or grandkids and family pets, is using these toxic substances really worth it?

Even if you’ve gone the chemical route for more years than you can remember, the body has a remarkable ability to heal itself when given a chance. And switching to more natural gardening methods may turn out to be one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family’s health.

“Insecticides mimic melatonin, creating higher risk for diabetes” University at Buffalo, January 19, 2017, ScienceDaily,