Can Eating Canned Foods Cause Sleep Problems?

November 25, 2011

The next time you eat anything out of a can, think about this study: Researchers at Harvard found that levels of BPA (bisphenol-A) had a 1,221% increase in urine levels after eating canned soup once daily for 5 days. BPA is commonly found in the lining of bottles and cans. Recently, manufacturers have voluntarily removed this substance from baby bottles, but not from commonly used containers such those used for canned foods.

BPA is a known endocrine disruptor, as well as being linked to increased rates of cancer. These molecules mimic estrogen and stimulate estrogen receptors artificially. In the process, it can also suppress progesterone levels, which can alter one’s sleep-breathing status by lowering your upper airway muscle tone, particularly the genioglossus muscle of the tongue.

Since the combination of estrogen and progesterone have protective effects on upper airway muscle tone, any disruption of this delicate balance can affect how well you breathe at night. Having artificial levels of a synthetic estrogen can suppress natural estrogen function as well. The end result can have a subtle, but significant effect on your sleep quality. 

Another good reason to eat organically.

3 Responses to “Can Eating Canned Foods Cause Sleep Problems?”

  1. Meg Bohne on November 28th, 2011 2:30 pm

    Hi Dr. Park, Thanks for the post about this important study. Just wanted to note that most organic canned goods also have BPA in the can linings, so if your patients are trying to avoid BPA they should eat *fresh* organic food. There are definitely some exceptions to this rule (Eden Organic beans and Muir Glen tomatoes to name a couple) – but unfortunately just because a can says ‘organic’ it doesn’t mean ‘BPA-free’. Thanks!

  2. Steven Park on November 28th, 2011 5:00 pm

    Thanks! What a coincidence….Muir Glen is my favorite tomato brand.

  3. Maria on December 29th, 2011 12:41 am

    Thanks Doctor Park, I never associated BPA/Estrogen with sleep disorders. I learned something very interesting because of you!

    Eden Brand beans are sold in a BPA free cans. Canned tomatoes, unfortunately, due to their high acidity, are always in BPA lined cans. Pureed organic tomatoes can found in bottles in natural foods stores.

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