Emulsifiers added to food may be causing cancer, new study finds
11/30/2018 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Emulsifiers, food additives that are used to extend shelf life and create a better food texture, may be causing colon cancer and colorectal cancer, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Research.

For the study, researchers in at the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University fed mice with polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose -- the two most common additives that were linked to low-grade bowel inflammation and metabolic disease. The doses were replicated in the proportions these emulsifiers — the to human processed food. (Related: Common food additive linked to colon cancer and intestinal inflammation.)

The intestine is protected from a variety of harmful bacteria with the aid of the mucous structures that cover the intestines. This keeps the harmful bacteria away from the epithelial cells that line the intestine. However, emulsifiers appear to help transport bacteria across epithelial cells.

Based on the results of the study, emulsifiers severely change the composition of the gut microbiota in a way that increases inflammation, which in turn creates an ideal environment for the development and proliferation of colon cancer and colorectal cancer. Because of the alterations caused by emulsifiers, the bacteria in the gut displayed more flagellin and lipopolysaccharide -- substances that activate pro-inflammatory gene expression in the immune system. The emulsifiers also changed the balance between cell proliferation and cell death, which promotes tumor development.

When the researchers transplanted microbiota from mice that consumed emulsifiers to germ-free mice, it changed the balance in the intestine's epithelial cells. This finding further supports the central role that the microbiota plays in tumor induction and development.


The findings of the study support the notion that changing the composition of gut microbiota causes low-grade inflammation in a way that encourages the development of cancer.

Furthermore, the findings highlight the health hazards of eating too many processed foods instead of natural, organic ones. These also emphasize the importance of gut health and gut bacteria balance.

Keeping the gut healthy

Research has shown that gut health influences the wellness of both the body and the brain. Your gut health depends on what you eat and drink. The food you eat sets which bacteria thrive in the gut. Studies revealed that vegetables, grains, and beans feed a positive gut environment, while meat, junk food, dairy, and eggs feed a negative gut environment.

There are two gut-healthy compounds: probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are good gut bacteria, while prebiotics are food for these bacteria. These compounds can be obtained by eating the right foods. Probiotics are found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso, and kefir. On the other hand, prebiotics are found in certain fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The best prebiotic of all is fiber. The microbes extract energy, nutrients, and vitamins from fiber. These can boost immune function, reduce inflammation, and protect against obesity.

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps lower blood sugar levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. It can be found in oatmeal, legumes, and some fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, insoluble provides a cleansing effect on the digestive system. It can be found in whole grains, kidney beans, and in some fruits and vegetables too.

Fiber also helps prevent digestive problems. One of these is diverticulitis, an inflammation of the intestine. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that eating insoluble fiber-rich foods can help reduce the risk of diverticulitis by as much as 40 percent.

Read more news stories and studies on things that cause cancer by going to CancerCauses.news.

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