NIH Grants $1.35 Million for Research on Food Emulsifiers Impact in Chronic Inflammatory Diseases

NIH Grants $1.35 Million for Research on Food Emulsifiers Impact in Chronic Inflammatory Diseases
A Georgia State University professor has been recently granted $1.35 million by The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct research on how food emulsifiers impact the gut microbiome and how they play a role in the development of gut chronic inflammatory conditions. Emulsifiers are added to the majority of the processed foods to extend their shelf life as well as to aid on texture. In his new research, grant recipient Andrew Gewirtz, PhD will study how the commonly used food additives disturb the relationship between gut microbiota and the gastrointestinal tract, and the different bacteria population in the intestinal tract that drive inflammation. The researcher will also examine the underlying mechanisms by which altered gut microbiota influence the development of metabolic syndrome, a group of diseases including insulin resistance, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood sugar levels, excess body fat around the waist and increased blood pressure. In the intestinal tract, bacteria are typically beneficial when kept at stable levels. In previous studies, Dr. Gewirtz has found that a disruption in the relationship between the gut and microbiota can lead to chronic inflammation in the gut and cause metabolic syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). According to Dr. Gewirtz, notwithstanding genetic factors, gut diseases are increasing in incidence showing that it is important to comprehend how non-genetic factors play a role in gut inflammation. “There has been a dramatic increase over the last 60 years in the incidence of 
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