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  1. Topic : GMO

    What Are Genetically Modified Organisms?
    Genetically Modified Organisms are plants and other living organisms derived from modern molecular biotechnology techniques that alter the genetics of the organism. Humans have indirectly changed traits in plants and animals since prehistoric times, but new techniques of molecular biotechnology have resulted in the ability to target specific traits for alteration. Biotechnology has allowed the introduction of proteins, for example, that are not native to a given species. The United States Department of Agriculture defines biotechnology as “the use of biological processes of microbes, and of plants and animal cells for the benefit of humans.” Genetically modified foods were first introduced in 1996. A large portion of the food supply in North and South America is now produced with this technology. In the United States, over one-half of the soybean crop and a large percentage of corn and cotton are genetically modified and have been since the late 1990s. No adverse health effects associated with the consumption of Genetically Modified Organisms have been demonstrated, and these crops may have important benefits to farmers and consumers. For example, plants have been modified to produce soybeans with less saturated fat than conventional soybeans, offer significant consumer health benefits.

    Why are ingredients from Genetically Modified Organisms used in cosmetic and personal care products?
    Plant-derived (botanical) ingredients were among the very first cosmetics, and, as noted above, large percentages of many agricultural commodities have been genetically modified. This use of biotechnology in agriculture has occurred largely to assist farmers in the production of crops for food and other uses. In some cases, however, Genetically Modified Organisms have been developed to assist in the production of cosmetic ingredients. For example, canola has been modified to produce high levels of lauric acid, a key ingredient in soaps and detergents, at a reduced cost to consumers. Cosmetic ingredients potentially derived from Genetically Modified Organisms include ingredients such as corn oil, corn flour, soybean oil, lecithin and proteins produced by yeast.

    Are ingredients from Genetically Modified Organisms safe in cosmetic and personal care products?
    The FDA has concluded there is no evidence that bioengineered food or plant ingredients are less safe than those produced through conventional methods. Similarly, ingredients derived from Genetically Modified Organisms that are now found in cosmetic and personal care products are considered to be as safe as those produced through conventional means.

    More Information:
    Find out more about Genetically Modified Organisms. FDA: Are bioengineered foods safe? http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/fdbioeng.html UK Health and Safety Executive: Genetically modified organisms. Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) – health and safety at work: http://www.hse.gov.uk/biosafety/gmo/index.htm New Scientist bibliography of publications. Special Report on GM Organisms – New Scientist: http://www.newscientist.com/channel/opinion/gm-food

    – See more at: http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/genetically-modified-organisms-gmos#sthash.BdKRjYUG.dpuf

  2. Trans Fats in Cosmetics?


    It is common practice in cosmetic chemistry to be interested in achieving different types of aesthetics. As natural personal care products rise in demand, altering feels and physical properties of natural oils and fats through cosmetic chemistry become paramount.

    A popular approach has been altering the physical properties of natural oils or fats to achieve butters that are spreadable on skin. These butters posses attributes that are different from traditional solids and liquids in that they are solid when applied but liquefy under pressure. Butters have become more and more important in personal care products, especially when the formulator desires materials that incorporate natural oils in a formulation requiring a solid form. Typically, butters are either natural or chemically altered oils or fats. The most common chemical alteration is a simple process called hydrogenation.

    Natural Butters
    Natural butters are materials that are produced from a natural source and are not chemically modified. Natural butters are extracted and refined by chemists; however, unlike hydrogenation, no chemical modification is made to the molecule. There are a number of naturally occurring butters including shea butter and cocoa butter. These materials are butters by virtue of their fatty compositions. Shea butter, a natural fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree, is widely used in the cosmetic field as a moisturizer, salve or lotion. There are many natural oils that have a wide composition of materials and are liquids. These materials have a degree of unsaturation in the alkyl group of the triglyceride. Natural oils can be monosaturated or polysaturated, meaning they have one or many degrees of unsaturation. The steric hindrance of the double bond or bonds prevents the molecules from packing closely together and becoming solid.

    Hydrogenated Butters
    The most common way to solve the problem of natural “unrefined” oils is for a chemist to chemically alter the oil by hydrogenation. Hydrogenation changes the chemical structure of the materials in the oil and results in the conversion of liquid oil to a solid or semi-solid fat. The most common example of this margarine. Changing the fat’s degree of saturation alters some important physical properties such as the melting range, which is why liquid oils become semi-solid. The hydrogenation process was considered a mild reaction that adds two hydrogens and left the molecule “unchanged.” Karabulut et al. found that hydrogenation produced a large amount of trans fats. Trans fats are produced by chemical modification and have been found to be unhealthy in diets.

    Gelation Additives
    Another approach to making butters is to add gelation agents. These additives will provide structure to natural oils and make them into butters. The gelation agents are generally added at low concentrations (below 10%) and allow for alteration of the butter’s spread properties. These materials will be addressed in a subsequent “Comparatively Speaking” column.

    Butters in Formulation
    In the cosmetic field, formulation chemists have a tricky task ahead of them. The overall goal is to find a product that has the correct physical characteristics but is green. Natural oils like olive and soybean are used as solvents and natural additives in cosmetic products. The major advantage in using natural oils is that they are renewable and generally mild. Conversely, their rheological properties are typically weak, and the product has to be refined to improve its rheological properties. When these oils are added into a chemical formulation, they will weaken the structural integrity of the product. This is not a major problem when formulating a cream or liquid product, but it becomes a problem in lipstick, where the lack of structural integrity will lead to the product failing. There are a couple of ways to fix this problem. The first is to refine the hydrocarbons from the liquid oil. Refining or concentrating oils will produce a solid and does not chemically alter the chemical structure of the material. The second solution is to hydrogenate or chemically modify the chemical structure of the oil.

    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogenation
    3. I Karabulut, M Kayahan and S Yaprak, Determination of changes in some physical and chemical properties of soybean oil during hydrogenation, Food Chemistry, 81(3) 453–456 (2003)

    – See more at: http://www.cosmeticsandtoiletries.com/formulating/function/moisturizer/126610168.html#sthash.ur6xkrLE.dpuf

  3. http://www.mayoclinic.org/trans-fat/art-20046114

    Trans fat is double trouble for your heart health

    Trans fat raises your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lowers your HDL (“good”) (HDL) cholesterol. Find out more about trans fat and how to avoid it.
    By Mayo Clinic Staff

    Trans fat is considered by many doctors to be the worst type of fat you can eat. Unlike other dietary fats, trans fat — also called trans-fatty acids — both raises your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lowers your HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

    A high LDL cholesterol level in combination with a low HDL cholesterol level increases your risk of heart disease, the leading killer of men and women. Here’s some information about trans fat and how to avoid it.
    What is trans fat?

    Some meat and dairy products contain small amounts of naturally occurring trans fat. But most trans fat is formed through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which causes the oil to become solid at room temperature.

    This partially hydrogenated oil is less likely to spoil, so foods made with it have a longer shelf life. Some restaurants use partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in their deep fryers, because it doesn’t have to be changed as often as do other oils.
    Trans fat in your food

    The manufactured form of trans fat, known as partially hydrogenated oil, is found in a variety of food products, including:

    Baked goods. Most cakes, cookies, pie crusts and crackers contain shortening, which is usually made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Ready-made frosting is another source of trans fat.
    Snacks. Potato, corn and tortilla chips often contain trans fat. And while popcorn can be a healthy snack, many types of packaged or microwave popcorn use trans fat to help cook or flavor the popcorn.
    Fried food. Foods that require deep frying — french fries, doughnuts and fried chicken — can contain trans fat from the oil used in the cooking process.
    Refrigerator dough. Products such as canned biscuits and cinnamon rolls often contain trans fat, as do frozen pizza crusts.
    Creamer and margarine. Nondairy coffee creamer and stick margarines also may contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

    Reading food labels

    In the United States if a food has less than 0.5 grams of trans fat in a serving, the food label can read 0 grams trans fat. This hidden trans fat can add up quickly, especially if you eat several servings of multiple foods containing less than 0.5 grams a serving.

    When you check the food label for trans fat, also check the food’s ingredient list for partially hydrogenated vegetable oil — which indicates that the food contains some trans fat, even if the amount is below 0.5 grams.

  4. Trans-fats on skin are acted upon by skin bacteria using liapase and esterase to give free trans fatty acid which penetrates the skin.

    The Esterase and Lipase Activity of Aerobic Skin Bacteria

    Article in British Journal of Dermatology 85(1):18-23 ·

    — The production of esterase and lipase by aerobic bacteria from normal human skin surfaces was tested by simple plate tests against natural and artificial substrates. Almost all of 42 strains of Micrococcaceae representative of each of Baird-Parker’s subgroups produced strong esterases and lipases, as did most of the 82 strains of Sarcina spp., especially those most commonly present on healthy skin. Forty per cent of 50 aerobic skin diphtheroids and 20% of 58 aerobic nasal diphtheroids produced active lipases.

  5. Monolaurin Health Benefits

    Monolaurin, or glycerin monolaurate or GML, is a substance formed from a mixture combining glycerol and lauric acid from coconut oil. Lauric acid is a component in human breast milk and known to help protect infants from infection. According to a study in the October 2007 issue of “Journal of Drugs in Dermatology,” coconut oil has fatty acids made from lauric acid. Monolaurin is an antimicrobial agent that has some promising health benefits, especially in the arena of combating infection.
    Immune System Health

    The human body will naturally convert coconut oil to monolaurin. Beth Beisel, a registered dietitian, claims in an article for NourishedMagazine.com that ingesting coconut oil daily helps to build up the immune system and fight infection from attacking agents, such as swine flu. In the magazine piece, Dr. Mary Enig adds that 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil provides enough lauric acid to help fight virulent infections. The magazine encourages using coconut oil for cooking or as part of a recipe for salad dressing.

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