Food Additive Titanium Dioxide Can Exacerbate Bowel Disease, Study in Mice Suggests

Food Additive Titanium Dioxide Can Exacerbate Bowel Disease, Study in Mice Suggests
The food additive titanium dioxide, found in chewing gum and marshmallows, can exacerbate inflammatory bowel disease, a study of mice with colitis indicates. People with Crohn’s diseaseulcerative colitis and other bowel disorders should avoid food that may contain the compound, the Swiss research team said. The study, “Titanium dioxide nanoparticles exacerbate DSS-induced colitis: role of the NLRP3 inflammasome,” was published in the journal Gut. Pharmaceutical companies use titanium dioxide nanoparticles to give tablets their bright white color. But the compound is also used in cosmetics, toothpaste, and as a food additive. Checking labels for the identification code E171 will tell you whether a product has it. Labels also indicate that it has been tested in healthy people and that is safe for the general public. The compound has never been tested in diseased people, however. A University of Zurich team discovered that it can harm mice with inflammatory intestinal diseases. They first discovered that titanium dioxide accumulated in the intestinal cells of mice who consumed it. They also found an accumulation in immune cells known as macrophages. Another finding was that the accumulation was higher in mice with ulcerative colitis. Together, the findings indicated that "these particles can be absorbed from food under certain disease conditions," Gerhard Rogler, a professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Zurich,  said in a
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