A commonly used oil in fast-food and packaged food in the US can cause neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer's, anxiety and depression, a new study by UC-Riverside has found.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, soybean oil is widely used in the country for various purposes and is by far the most produced edible oil in the US. The study finds that in all likelihood the oil is harmful for consumption.

The new study published in Endocrinology this month says the oil was not found to be healthy to be consumed when given to mice. The same group of researchers from the University of California had said that soybean oil causes obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and fatty liver in mice. Similarly, research in 2017 by the Riverside team said the oil when engineered to be low in linoleic shows lesser chances of obesity and fatty liver in mice.

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Effect on hypothalamus

The oil seemed to have a major effect on the hypothalamus, a region where most of the critical processes take place. Previous research which argued that oil with lesser linoleic acid can be a better substitute was trashed after the research this year found that it had the same effect on the human brain as normal soybean oil.

The lead author of the study and associate professor of neuroscience at UCR, Margarita Curras-Collazo, said the hypothalamus regulates body weight via our metabolism, maintains body temperature, is critical for reproduction and physical growth as well as response to stress. The research was conducted by analyzing the mice's reaction to the oil. It was observed that the oxytocin level in the hypothalamus went down due to consumption of the oil.

The study was conducted on mice, the results of have not necessarily reflected among humans. The team has not yet identified which chemical causes the reaction in the human body which affects neurological structures and surfaces in living beings.