08 Mar Do Emulsifiers in Food Additives Play A Role In Inflammatory Bowel Diseases?
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Benoit Chassaing, Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr. Gewirtz’s lab.
Institute for Biomedical Sciences
Center for Inflammation, Immunity, & Infection
Georgia State University Atlanta GA 30303
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Chassaing: A key feature of inflammatory bowel diseases and metabolic syndrome is alteration of the gut microbiota in a manner that promotes inflammation. Importantly, incidence of IBD and metabolic syndrome has been markedly increasing since about the mid-20th century, and this dramatic increase has occurred amidst constant human genetics, suggesting a pivotal role for an environmental factor. We considered that any modern additions to the food supply might play an important role, and addition of emulsifiers to food seems to fit the time frame of increased incidence in these diseases. We found that emulsifiers, which are added to most processed foods to aid texture and extend shelf life, can alter the gut microbiota composition and localization to induce intestinal inflammation that promotes development of inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic syndrome.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Chassaing: More work is definitively required to be able to translate these important findings to humans.
We personally have changed our habits, trying to avoid processed food, generally loaded with emulsifiers. Food products can be found without emulsifiers, with of course a shelf life much shorten compare to emulsifiers containing foods. However, in order to more strictly regulate such emulsifiers, human trials will be needed in order to confirm that similar deleterious affects are observed on human as well.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Chassaing: We both think that more research is needed before altering regulation of such additives. Almost all food additives are tested on animals that are relatively resistant to most disease, and those test are analyzing acute toxicity or cancer promotion. However, in order to more strictly regulate such emulsifiers, human trials will be needed in order to confirm that similar deleterious affects are observed on human as well. We are working on setting up such trial in a near future with our collaborators. Nonetheless, and as stated above, we personally already have changed our habits.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:, & Benoit Chassaing, Ph.D. (2015). Do Emulsifiers in Food Additives Play A Role In Inflammatory Bowel Diseases? MedicalResearch.com