London-A new U.S. study shows that emulsifiers, which are added to many processed foods, can cause bowel and mainly colon cancer.
The Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University, which carried out the new research, found out that emulsifiers changed the good bacteria living in the guts of mice.
These changes promoted metabolic syndrome, which is a risk factor for certain chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease, and inflammation; those in turn have been connected to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Some cases of IBD can trigger tumors to grow.
During the study the researchers fed mice with two commonly used emulsifiers—polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose—at doses seeking to model the broad consumption of the numerous emulsifiers that are incorporated in processed food.
This resulted in the composition of the gut microbiota in the mice in a manner that made it more pro-inflammatory, creating a niche favoring cancer induction and development.
But while these findings may be alarming, it’s too early to say if they apply to humans.
Findings of animal studies aren’t directly transferable to humans. The mice were also given far greater doses of emulsifiers than a human would consume, in addition to toxins that cause inflammation and cancer.