Widely used additive is much more dangerous than previously thought!
Food additives are used for a variety of purposes, such as to improve durability, a particular consistency or the coloring of food. According to a recent study, however, the additive E171 (titanium dioxide), which has been used in many foods for decades, has unforeseen risks. In particular, the development of intestinal inflammation and colon cancer can be promoted by this food additive.
Researchers at the University of Sydney recently showed in a study that the widely used additive E171 has a negative effect on the intestinal flora. The Australian scientific team has been able to demonstrate that titanium dioxide interacts and influences the functioning of bacteria in the gut. This can, according to the study, promote inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer. The results of the study were recently presented in the renowned journal "Frontiers in Nutrition".
E171: A longtime companion in the food industry
More than 900 different foods and medicines contain the E171 additive. It is versatile and is used, for example, as plasticizer, colorant and preservative. It also gives the food a better structure and avoids agglomeration. For more than 50 years, the food industry has relied on titanium dioxide, which has long been classified as harmless to health. Recent findings, however, show a different picture.
How E171 affects the microbiome in the gut
The study examined the effects of titanium dioxide on intestinal health in mice. The researchers found that E171 affects the microbiome in the gut. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles interact with the intestinal bacteria to promote the formation of an undesired microbial biofilm. "Biofilm refers to bacteria that adhere to each other," explains immunologist Professor Laurence Macia. The harmful effects of such biofilms have already been confirmed by other studies. They are involved, for example, in the development of colorectal cancer.
Unknown long-term effects
Although nanoparticles such as E171 have been widely used in drugs and foods for many years, the potential long-term effects of these additives are largely unknown, according to the researchers. "The aim of this research is to stimulate discussions on new standards and regulations to ensure the safe use of additives in Australia and around the world," said co-author Wojciech Chrzanowski in a press release on the findings of the study.
Consumption of E171 increased dramatically
"The consumption of titanium dioxide has increased significantly in the last decade," the researchers report. Although approved in food, there is insufficient evidence of its safety. Other diseases, such as dementia, autoimmune diseases, cancer, eczema, asthma and autism, have been linked to strong exposure to nanoparticles, according to the study team.
The guardian of our health at risk
"The intestinal microbiome is increasingly recognized as the guardian of our health. Any changes in its function have an impact on overall health," concludes Chrzanowski. There is now sufficient evidence that continuous exposure to nanoparticles has an effect on the composition of the intestinal flora. This could lead to inflammation in the gut and promote colon cancer, the specialist said.
France reacts – Germany awaits
The University of Zurich has already indicated in a 2017 study that E171 may increase inflammation of the gut. "Based on our findings, patients with an intestinal barrier disorder, such as those found in intestinal inflammation, should abstain from titanium dioxide in the diet," advises Professor Dean Professor Gerhard Rogler. France has already responded to the potential threat of E171 and intends to ban the feed additive from 1 January 2020. In Germany, titanium dioxide is still considered harmless.
For more information, read: Building intestinal flora: this is how it works. (Vb)