Common Additives in Processed Foods Seen to Promote Gut Inflammation, Raise Cancer Risk

Common Additives in Processed Foods Seen to Promote Gut Inflammation, Raise Cancer Risk
Emulsifiers, a common food additive, can alter intestinal bacteria to cause low-grade gut inflammation and promote colorectal cancer, new research shows. The study, “Dietary emulsifier-induced low-grade inflammation promotes colon carcinogenesis,” was published in the journal Cancer Research. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) carries an increased risk of colorectal cancer (CRC), a fact that gave rise to the concept of "colitis-associated cancer" and the notion that inflammation promotes colon tumor formation. A condition more common than IBD is low-grade inflammation, which correlates with altered gut microbiota — the vast population of microorganisms that inhabits the human intestine — and metabolic syndrome, both also present in many cases of CRC. Researchers at Georgia State University's Institute for Biomedical Sciences, working with mice, found that consumption of dietary emulsifiers (common additives to processed foods) may explain this association. "The incidence of colorectal cancer has been markedly increasing since the mid-20th century," Emilie Viennois, an assistant professor at the Institute and the study's lead author, said in a news release. "A key feature of this disease is the presence of an altered intestinal microbiota that creates
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