Common ice cream additive may cause colon cancer

Common ice cream additive may cause colon cancer

New research from Georgia State University shows that a common ice cream additive may cause colon cancer.

Colorectal (colon) cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. The lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is about 1 in 21 for men and 1 in 23 for women. In 2016, there is an expected 95,270 new cases of colon cancer to be diagnosed.

Recent scientific studies and literature have shown that changes in gut bacteria is increasingly associated with colon cancer.

This is why Dr. Emilie Viennois, assistant professor at the Georgia State University Institute for Biomedical Sciences, believes that there is a likely link between a common food additive and colon cancer.

The incidence of colorectal cancer has been markedly increasing since the mid-20th century. A key feature of this disease is the presence of an altered intestinal microbiota that creates a favorable niche for tumorigenesis,” Viennois said.

Previous studies have shown that emulsifiers are linked to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is a group of intestinal disorders that cause prolonged inflammation of the digestive tract.

Two emulsifiers in particular – carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80 – have been associated with IBD.

Researchers tested these emulsifiers to see how they would change gut bacteria and therefore increase risk of colon cancer.

The study press release reported the following:

Researchers observed that consuming emulsifiers drastically changed the species composition of the gut microbiota in a manner that made it more pro-inflammatory, creating a niche favoring cancer induction and development. Alterations in bacterial species resulted in bacteria expressing more flagellin and lipopolysaccharide, which activate pro-inflammatory gene expression by the immune system.

In other words, the emulsifiers changed gut bacteria in a way that promoted inflammation, and also increased the chance of tumor development.

The study showing that a common ice cream additive may cause colon cancer was published in the journal Nature.

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1. “Key Statistics for Colorectal Cancer.” American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.
2. “Food Additive Alters Gut Bacteria to Cause Colorectal Cancer.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.
3. “Common Food Additive Promotes Colon Cancer In Mice.” Newswise. Georgia State University, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.
4. “Dietary Emulsifiers Impact the Mouse Gut Microbiota Promoting Colitis and Metabolic Syndrome.” Nature Publishing Group, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.
5. “Gut Microbiota Imbalance and Colorectal Cancer.” World Journal of Gastroenterology. Baishideng Publishing Group Inc, 14 Jan. 2016. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.

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