Food Additives Affect Gut Microbiota, reports New Study

Titanium dioxide found on additives influenced the expression of specific genes that affected the activity of the intestinal mucus layer. 

A new study by Australian researchers report has raised concerns over food additives, claiming that they affect human health. A study conducted at the University of Sydney reports that common food additives were found with titanium oxide which induces gut microbiome resulting in several diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. The study investigated the impacts of food additive E171 (titanium dioxide nanoparticles), which is commonly found in food additives and whitening agents.

There is a high consumption of E171 among the common population as it is found in over 900 products such as mayonnaise, chewing gum and more. A mouse study was conducted for this, which revealed titanium dioxide did not directly affect gut bacteria populations, but it influenced the expression of specific genes that affect the activity of the intestinal mucus layer. Moreover, it was found that titanium dioxide promoted the production of bacterial biofilms in the intestine, whose combination has been associated with the beginning of inflammatory bowel disease.

Co-lead author and associate professor Wojciech Chrzanowski addressed this research saying, “The aim of this research is to stimulate discussions on new standards and regulations to ensure the safe use of nanoparticles in Australia and globally.” The consumption of titanium dioxide through various food products has increased exponentially in the last decade and has been linked to several medical conditions. However, it has been approved in food as there is insufficient proof about its safety. “This study presents pivotal evidence that consumption of food containing food additive E171 (titanium dioxide) affects gut microbiota as well as inflammation in the gut, which could lead to diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases and colorectal cancer,” said Chrzanowski.

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