Gum and candy additive damages digestive cells

Gum and candy additive damages digestive cells

A gum and candy additive damages digestive cells, according to research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

The researchers exposed an intestinal culture to the equivalent of a meal’s worth of titanium oxide, an additive often used in many things from chewing gum to bread.

Although smaller exposures did not have much effect, but chronic exposure affected the ability of absorbent cells called microvilli. With less microvilli, the intestinal barrier was weakened, metabolism slowed down, and nutrients like zinc, iron and fatty acids were not absorbed. Enzyme functions suffered, and inflammation increased.

Titanium oxide is a common food additive and people have been eating a lot of it for a long time — don’t worry, it won’t kill you! — but we were interested in some of the subtle effects, and we think people should know about them,” said Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor Gretchen Mahler, one of the study authors.

There has been previous work on how titanium oxide nanoparticles affects microvilli, but we are looking at much lower concentrations,” Mahler said. “We also extended previous work to show that these nanoparticles alter intestinal function.”

Titanium dioxide is recognized as a safe additive by the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration, and it is close to impossible to avoid exposure to it.

The compound is often used in paints, paper, and plastic as a white pigmentation. It is also used in sunscreens.

It is also used in toothpastes, milk, chocolate, and more.

To avoid foods rich in titanium oxide nanoparticles you should avoid processed foods, and especially candy. That is where you see a lot of nanoparticles,” Mahler said.

The study showing that a gum and candy additive damages digestive cells was published in the journal NanoImpact.

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1. “Food Additive Found in Candy, Chewing Gum Could Alter Digestive Cell Structure and Function.” Binghamton University. Binghamton University, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.
2. “Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticle Ingestion Alters Nutrient Absorption in an in Vitro Model of the Small Intestine.” ScienceDirect. NanoImpact, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.

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