Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lavender and tea tree oils may cause breast growth in boys

01.02.2007
A study published in this week's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that repeated topical use of products containing lavender oil and/or tea tree oil may cause prepubertal gynecomastia, a rare condition resulting in enlarged breast tissue in boys prior to puberty, and for which a cause is seldom identified.

Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), confirmed in laboratory studies what a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Science Center's School of Medicine suspected after diagnosing three of his young male patients with prepubertal gynecomastia.

The researchers found an association between the use of products containing these oils and the rare disorder, but cautioned more research is needed. At this point, the findings are only applicable to young males with unexplainable enlarged breasts who are regularly using products containing these essential oils.

"We want to encourage doctors who may be seeing patients with gynecomastia to ask their patients about the products they are using. Patients with prepubertal gynecomastia may want to consider reducing the use of products that contain these oils," said Ken Korach, Ph.D., chief, Laboratory Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology at NIEHS and author on the study. "Although we found an association between exposure to these essential oils and gynecomastia, further research is needed to determine the prevalence of prepubertal gynecomastia in boys using products containing lavender and tea tree oils. Results of such epidemiological studies are important to tell us how strong the association is between topical application of the oils and prepubertal gynecomastia"

The three otherwise healthy Caucasian boys, ages four, seven and 10 years, had normal hormonal levels when they were diagnosed with gynecomastia by Clifford Bloch, M.D., in Colorado. All had either used lavender-scented soap and skin lotions, or shampoos or styling products that contained tea tree oil and lavender oil as ingredients. In each case, several months after the suspected products were discontinued, the gynecomastia had subsided or resolved.

After Bloch discussed the cases with Korach, the NIEHS researchers conducted experiments using human cells to determine if the oils mimic the effects of estrogen, the female hormone that stimulates breast tissue growth, or inhibited the effects of androgen, the hormone known to control masculine characteristics and inhibit the growth of breast tissue. The researchers tested the ability of the oils to modulate or inhibit gene expression.

"The results of our laboratory studies confirm that pure lavender and tea tree oils can mimic the actions of estrogens and inhibit the effects of androgens," said Korach. "This combinatorial activity makes them somewhat unique as endocrine disruptors."

Bloch said the laboratory studies support his hypothesis. "Since there was no identifiable cause for prepubertal gynecomastia in the three patients we reported, we speculated that environmental factors might be contributing to their condition. Together, the case histories and NIEHS in vitro studies provide support for our hypothesis that topical exposure to lavender and tea tree oils likely caused gynecomastia in the three patients."

The oils did not alter the levels of the usual forms of circulating estrogens and androgens in the boys. "We do not anticipate any long term effects on hormonal levels," said Derek Henley, Ph.D., the lead NIEHS author on the study. It is unknown whether the oils have similar endocrine disrupting effects in prepubertal girls, adolescents or adults.

"This study clearly demonstrates how clinical observations can be supported by basic science research," said NIEHS Director David A. Schwartz, M.D.

These essential oils might now be considered endocrine disruptors since they appeared to have caused an imbalance in estrogen and androgen signaling. Endocrine disruptors are naturally occurring compounds or synthetic chemicals that may interfere with the production or activity of hormones of the endocrine system leading to adverse health effects.

Robin Mackar | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.niehs.nih.gov
http://www.nih.gov

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

nachricht Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
03.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers

17.07.2018 | Information Technology

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier

17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

The role of Sodium for the Enhancement of Solar Cells

17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>