- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) namely ulcerative colitis and
Crohn's disease is on the rise worldwide and several factors are believed
to play a role, especially a Western lifestyle and diet.
- Current study suggests titanium dioxide, a food grade additive in
several foods could increase intestinal inflammation associated with IBD
and exacerbate the condition.
dioxide, a food grade additive in the form of nanoparticles is added to several
foods and may be actually doing more harm than we realize, including increasing
intestinal inflammation and worsening existing IBD according to a recent study
done at the University of Zurich.
Titanium dioxide Nanoparticles And Inflammatory Bowel
Disease - Reason For Study
As mentioned earlier, IBD incidence is on
the increase and in addition to genetic factors, a Western diet is thought to
play a major role in its pathogenesis.
‘Check food labels for presence of food grade titanium dioxide referred to as E171 before buying white colored foods, chocolates, candies, chewing gum and toothpaste.’
the use of titanium dioxide
one of the most widely used food additive
(referred to as E171) to foods to increase their glossiness, give a smooth
texture and to enhance whiteness and brightness
has been going on for
several years without any restrictions on the food industry until recently.
much is known about the effects of TiO2
in the intestine and
existing research is mostly about its effects on the respiratory tract
following inhalation where it is known to cause airway inflammation and asthma.
However, earlier studies have shown TiO2
can cause production of reactive oxygen species and trigger inflammation and
tissue damage both in culture cells
vitro) as well as inside the body
research team of Gerhard Rogler, professor of gastroenterology
and hepatology at the
University of Zurich proceeded to
investigate the effects of TiO2
on the intestinal tract and its possible role in the pathogenesis of
inflammatory bowel disease.
Titanium dioxide Effects On Intestinal Cells -
Findings Of The Study
- To study the effects of TiO2 the team initially analyzed
its effect in cell cultures. It
was observed that titanium dioxide nanoparticles could penetrate human
intestinal epithelial cells and macrophages and accumulate within them.
- The nanoparticles triggered an inflammatory reaction in the
intestinal cells by activating the NLRP3 (nod like receptor P3)
inflammasome, a part of the non-specific immune response that perceived
the inorganic nanoparticles as danger signals.
- Additionally, in mice models
of inflammatory bowel disease, it was observed that oral
administration of TiO2 worsened the intestinal inflammation and destruction
of the epithelial cells by activating the NLRP3 pathway.
- The TiO2 particles
were shown to accumulate in the spleen of mice indicating that the
particles were absorbed from the
intestine into the blood circulation and reached the spleen.
- When the blood of patients
with ulcerative colitis was tested, they were noted to have an increased of TiO2,
again strongly suggesting that these particles were absorbed into the
blood stream through the diseased intestinal cells in ulcerative colitis
where the normal protective barrier of the intestinal epithelium is lost.
"This shows that these particles can
be absorbed from food under certain disease conditions," Rogler says.
The findings of the study suggest that
in foods may be seen as foreign and trigger an inflammatory reaction in the
intestinal cells with worsening of disease symptoms in IBD. Also, these
particles could be absorbed into the circulation via the defective intestinal
barrier in IBD and reach the blood and be carried to all parts of the body.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease
colitis and Crohn's disease and is characterized by attacks and remissions of
abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. The exact etiology is not known but a
complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a
the environmental factors, a predominantly Western lifestyle and diet have been
shown to be associated with an increased risk of developing IBD.
alterations in the Nlrp3 gene have been identified in Crohn's
patients lending credence to the observation that TiO2
particles mediated damage to the intestinal mucosa in mice models of IBD was
through activation of this pathway.
Takeaway From The Study
- Based on the observations of the study team, the Nlrp3 pathway could be studied as a
target for possible therapeutic interventions in inflammatory bowel
disease in future research.
- Importantly, the findings of the study suggest that persons diagnosed with inflammatory
bowel disease should avoid consuming foods containing titanium dioxide and
pay careful attention to food labels before purchasing. Instead, they
should switch to a diet low in inorganic components including inorganic
nanoparticles to keep their disease under check.
conclusion, further research and studies are necessary to confirm the effects
of titanium dioxide particles on the intestinal epithelium and other tissues as
well as focusing on how different nanoparticle sizes might impact or change
their effect in causing inflammation and tissue damage or absorption into the
studies would help in gaining more insight into the biological effects of these
particles and help in formulating and
fine tuning guidelines for use of inorganic nanoparticles by the food industry
with strict regulations
- Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles in Food and Personal Care Products - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3288463/)
- What You Should Know about Titanium Dioxide - (https://www.bestfoodfacts.org/titanium-dioxide-maynard/)