Science & Technology

Common food additives confuse gut bacteria

A widely used food additive, carboxymethyl cellulose alters the intestinal environment of healthy people and disrupts beneficial bacterial and nutrient levels, new research shows.

Survey results published in the journal Gastroenterology, Indicates that further research is needed on the long-term effects of this food additive on health.

“It certainly disproves the argument that” it just passes “…”

Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) is a synthetic member of a widely used class of food additives called emulsifiers that are added to many processed foods to enhance texture and extend shelf life.

Researchers have not extensively tested CMC in humans, but additives are being used more and more processed food From the 1960s. CMC has long been considered safe to ingest because it is not absorbed and is excreted in the faeces.

However, as awareness of the health benefits of bacteria that normally live in the colon and therefore interact with non-absorbed additives has increased, scientists have disputed this assumption.

Experiments with mice have shown that CMC and other emulsifiers alter gut microbiota, causing more serious illnesses in a variety of chronic inflammatory conditions such as colitis, metabolic syndrome, and colon cancer. However, the extent to which such results are applicable to humans has not been investigated so far.

The team conducted a randomized controlled trial of healthy volunteers. Participants admitted to the study site ate an additive-free diet or the same diet supplemented with carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC).

Researchers say that the disease that CMC promotes in mice takes years to develop in humans. Gut bacteria And metabolites. They found that consumption of CMC altered the composition of bacteria inhabiting the colon and reduced the number of selected species. In addition, fecal samples from participants treated with CMC showed complete depletion of beneficial metabolites normally thought to maintain a healthy colon.

Finally, researchers previously performed colonoscopy on subjects at the beginning and end of the study, and previously stated that a subset of subjects consuming CMC were characteristic of inflammatory bowel disease and type 2 diabetes. I noticed that I showed intestinal bacteria that invaded the observed mucus. ..

Therefore, in this two-week study, CMC intake itself did not cause illness, but the results summarize the conclusions of animal studies that long-term intake of this additive may promote chronic inflammatory diseases. It is backed up. Therefore, further research on this additive is needed.

“It certainly disproves the argument that’it just passes’, which is used to justify the lack of clinical research on additives,” says Andrew Gewarts, senior author at Georgia State University.

In addition to supporting the need for further research on carboxymethyl cellulose, the study “provides a general blueprint for carefully testing individual human food additives in a well-controlled manner.” , Said James Lewis, co-author of the University of Pennsylvania. It has been registered.

Benoit Chassaing, lead author and research director at INSERM at the University of Paris, states that such studies need to be large enough to explain the high degree of subject inhomogeneity. “Sure, our results suggest that the response to CMC and perhaps other food additives is highly personalized, and which individuals are currently sensitive to certain additives. We are designing a predictive approach. “

Additional authors are from Pennsylvania State University and the Max Planck Society. The National Institutes of Health, the European Research Council, the Max Planck Society, INSERM, and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation have funded this work.

sauce: Georgia State University

Common food additives confuse gut bacteria Common food additives confuse gut bacteria

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