New science discoveries find out the way common everyday food additives affect the gut and colon. You can find them in various types of food from pickles to ice-cream.
The improvement of the texture, as well as the shelf life of the product, are due to the emulsifiers added in most processed foods.
According to the new studies, this causes the healthy levels of intestinal bacteria to be thrown out of the body, triggering chronic and low-level inflammation which can be the main cause of colorectal cancer.
Although these are animal studies, scientists were able to spot the potential cancer-promoting effects it has. But, we wouldn’t throw the dice on this one, since many other studies show the exact same unhealthy impact it has on the gut.
Another research reveals that fungus may cause Crohn’s disease, and show that the microbiome has a significant influence when it comes to risks of diseases. This is why many researchers say we should put our focus on gut health before everything else.
Let’s have a look at the new studies and the ways of avoiding the harmful additives of processed foods.
The Connection Between Colon Cancer and Food Additives
“Food is medicine” – the popular Hippocrates quote came much before the invention of processed foods and lab-derived ingredients. Ingredients we often don’t pay much attention to, can cause pure chaos for our health.
In their recent food additives and colon cancer studies, researchers at the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University reveal that mice that consume dietary emulsifiers on an everyday basis are prone to developing exacerbated tumor. They published these results in the “Cancer Research” journal.
Polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose are the 2 most commonly used emulsifiers, so scientists focused on them.
They fed mice with doses of similar amounts of additives to what people would regularly ingest in processed foods.
Although the studies are yet to be performed on humans, it’s best if we stay away from them, for now.
Results of the Research
Researchers stated that by consuming emulsifiers, we drastically change the composition of the gut microbiota. This will, in fact, make it more prone to inflammation, creating space for cancer to settle in and develop.
Modifications in bacterial species resulted in bacteria creating more lipopolysaccharide and flagellin. This, in turn, activates pro-inflammatory gene expression by our immune system.
It seems that we are indulging chronic, low-level inflammations every day by eating processed foods that contain emulsifiers. This is a huge finding since the root of most diseases is inflammation.
Colorectal cancer ranks as high as 4th place on the leading cause of cancer-related deaths across the planet list. We need more research to learn how to restore the microorganism balance in our body in order to prevent cancer and other diseases.
Modified gut microbiota composition and metabolic disease were both related to low-level inflammation. This condition is more frequent than inflammatory bowel disease and can cause symptoms of Crohn’s disease. But also, scientists link it to metabolic disease and modified composition of gut microbiota. Researchers find these symptoms in many colorectal cancer cases.
These recent studies propose that dietary emulsifiers could be relatively responsible for this affiliation.
Study co-author, Emilie Viennois (Ph.D.) said that this occurrence is significantly increased in the past one and a half century. The existence of modified intestinal microbiota which creates the space for tumorigenesis plays a huge role in the actual disease.
Scientists point out the food as the main environmental factor for the increase of digestive diseases.
They also say that emulsifiers, or more exactly their detergent-like molecules, disrupt the normal gut flora. What’s more, they distort the function of the intestinal epithelial cells, thus promoting the development of colon tumors.
Food Additives, Colon Cancer Wrongdoers and Where to Find Them
You can find emulsifiers in baked and frozen foods, desserts like ice-cream, non-diary creamers, and even dill pickles. They keep the baked foods from going musty, and the dill oil from dissolving in bottled pickles. Also, they improve the dissolution of coffee whiteners and avert oil separation from the artificial whipped cream, as the Center for Science in the Public Interest explains.
And it’s not even the first time that carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate 80 made bad publicity headlines. They were linked to unhealthy changes in the gut, inflammation and modified bacteria back in 2015. Another study in mice linked them to obesity and metabolic problems as well.
There is a chance that they act like chemical detergents in our body to disturb the mucous membrane that lines to the gut.
Final Summation on the Topic
1. Cut short on buying processed foods known for the additives in them
2. Avoid foods that contain harmful additives for the gut such as polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose
3. Take the first steps towards healing the leaky gut, help restore the previous healthy state of the gut and try to lessen the pain already inflicted before.
4. Be careful about other emulsifiers such as carrageenan, and soy lecithin (unclear if it similarly affects the gut).