Intestine

E171: Food additive destroys the intestine and promotes colon cancer - Still no ban in sight!

E171: Food additive destroys the intestine and promotes colon cancer - Still no ban in sight!



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Widely used additive is much more dangerous than previously thought!

The additive E171 (titanium dioxide) is often found in processed foods. Food additives are used, for example, to create a special consistency, to change the color or to extend the minimum shelf life. In Germany, the additive in question has been used for decades and is also used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. A new study has now shown that E171 promotes intestinal inflammation and can cause colon cancer. A ban in Germany is still not in sight.

Researchers from the University of Sydney recently showed in a study that the widely used additive E171 has a negative effect on our intestinal flora. The Australian science team was able to prove that titanium dioxide interacts with the intestinal bacteria and influences their functioning. According to the study, this can promote inflammatory bowel diseases and colon cancer. The study results were recently presented in the renowned journal "Frontiers in Nutrition".

E171: A long-time companion in the food industry

Over 900 different foods and medicines contain the additive E171. It is versatile and is used, for example, as a plasticizer, dye and preservative. It also gives food a better structure and prevents clumping. The food industry has been using titanium dioxide for over 50 years, which has long been classified as harmless to health. However, the latest findings 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 and thus promote the formation of an undesirable microbial biofilm. "Bacteria are known as biofilms that stick together," explains immunologist Professor Laurence Macia. The harmful effects of such biofilms have already been confirmed by other studies. For example, they are involved in the development of colon cancer.

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Long-term effects unknown

While nanoparticles such as E171 have been used extensively in medicines 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 about new standards and regulations to ensure the safe use of additives in Australia and worldwide," said co-study author Professor Wojciech Chrzanowski in a press release on the study results.

E171 consumption has increased significantly

"The consumption of titanium dioxide has increased significantly in the past ten years," the researchers report. Although it is approved for use in food, there is insufficient evidence to prove its safety. According to the study team, other diseases such as dementia, autoimmune diseases, cancer, eczema, asthma and autism have already been associated with a strong exposure to nanoparticles.

The keeper of our health in danger

“The gut microbiome is increasingly recognized as the guardian of our health. Any changes in his function have an impact on general health, ”Chrzanowski sums up. There is now sufficient evidence that continuous exposure to nanoparticles has an impact on the composition of the intestinal flora. According to the expert, this could lead to inflammation in the intestine and promote colon cancer.

France reacts - Germany waits

The University of Zurich has already pointed out in a study from 2017 that E171 can increase intestinal inflammation. "Based on our results, patients with an intestinal barrier disorder, such as those that occur in intestinal inflammation, should avoid foods containing titanium dioxide," advises study director Professor Gerhard Rogler. France has already reacted to the potential danger of E171 and wants to ban the additive for food production from January 1st 2020. In Germany, titanium dioxide is still considered harmless.
For more information read: Building intestinal flora: How it works and oversaturated intestinal bacteria bring our intestinal flora out of balance. (vb)

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