Nanoparticles In Food and Water Found to Alter Gut Microbiome
By Heather Callaghan
Nanotechnology – that is, metal oxide particles* such as titanium dioxide – are increasingly used in the commercial food supply, consumer goods, body care and in water treatment.
The gut microbiome is today’s most appealing topic of science because it was previously unacknowledged by the medical community just how important gut health is to the human brain, hormones, immunity, mental health and more. Maintaining a healthy gut has everything to do with optimum well being.
Unfortunately, so many substances are ushered into the food supply without testing, inspection, regulation or even the courtesy of a clear label. Consumers have no idea of what they are assimilating or how it will affect their health in the long term.
Yet, a paper hot off the presses in Environmental Engineering Science shows one reason why this practice should be promptly checked.
You may wish to copy and paste “Metal Oxide Nanoparticles Induce Minimal Phenotypic Changes in a Model Colon Gut Microbiota” into a Word document while it is available to read for free until June 1st.
Researchers found that nanoparticles led to multiple, measurable differences in the normal microbial community that inhabits the human gut, and they write:
Understanding the interactions between NPs and bacteria in an engineered model colon can indicate potential impacts of NP exposure on the gut, and therefore overall human health. Human microbiome health has important implications to overall individual health.
Overall, the NPs caused nonlethal, significant changes to the microbial community’s phenotype, which may be related to overall health effects.
The article authors individually introduced three different nanoparticles—zinc oxide, cerium dioxide, and titanium dioxide–commonly used in products such as toothpastes, cosmetics, sunscreens, coatings, and paints, into a model of the human colon. The model colon mimics the normal gut environment and contains the microorganisms typically present in the human microbiome. Although they stopped short of blaming nanoparticles for serious damage (but they hinted), they demonstrate that exposure to nanoparticles created a visible, significant difference in how the microbiome functions.
They described changes in both specific characteristics of the microbial community and of the gut microenvironment after exposure to the nanoparticles. For instance, they point out past and current research of membrane damage in eukaryotic cells, negative effects in Escherichia coli, crossing the epithelial lining, strain specific antimicrobial effects and more. Their paper is also a great compilation of previous nanotech research.
It goes to show how such studies should have been explored before these substances were allowed anywhere near people’s intestinal tracts and skin.
Previous research has also demonstrated the cancer-causing effects of nanoparticles in the intestinal tract. Definitely try to avoid packaged junk food, candy and body care products that contain whitening agents (like gum, Mentos and commercial sunscreen). However, there are other types of nanoparticles in consumer goods that go largely unnoticed, so reducing your reliance on commercial products could be one way to better the gut microbiota.
*Particles the size of nanometers – approximately 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. – See more at: https://www.naturalblaze.com/2014/12/injectable-3d-vaccines-with.html#sthash.uaYixADa.dpuf