10 Mar Food additives may contribute to IBD, obesity and leaky gut syndrome
A consortium of researchers have just published that emulsifiers, a class of additives used in many processed foods to improve texture and extend shelf life, may alter the composition of microbes found throughout the digestive tract. The study showed that emulsifiers altered good bacteria in the gut which in turn initiated intestinal inflammation. Inflammation is the root cause of inflammatory bowel disease and leaky gut syndrome. Inflammation is also associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The study found that low concentrations of two commonly used emulsifiers – carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80 – induced inflammation in mice. This altered micobiota decreased the capacity to digest foods and made it possible for toxins to infiltrate the mucus layer that lines the intestine. At this time the researchers are conducting additional studies in humans to see if the results in animal models hold up in humans.
Ref: Nature. 2015 Mar 5;519(7541):92-6. doi: 10.1038/nature14232. Epub 2015 Feb 25.