Chew­ing gum may ad­versely af­fect the di­ges­tive sys­tem

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle -

If you love chew­ing gum, we’ve got some bad news for you. Chronic ex­po­sure to a com­mon food ad­di­tive found in ev­ery­thing from chew­ing gum to bread, can de­crease the abil­ity of small in­tes­tine cells to ab­sorb nu­tri­ents, warns a study.

Inges­tion of the com­pound, known as ti­ta­nium diox­ide, is nearly un­avoid­able. It can en­ter the di­ges­tive sys­tem through tooth­pastes, as ti­ta­nium diox­ide is used to cre­ate abra­sion needed for clean­ing. The ox­ide is also used in some choco­lates to give it a smooth tex­ture.

“Ti­ta­nium ox­ide is a com­mon food ad­di­tive, and peo­ple have been eat­ing it for a long time. Don’t worry, it won’t kill you. How­ever, we were in­ter­ested in some of the sub­tle ef­fects, and we think peo­ple should know about them,” said one of the authors of the study, Gretchen Mahler, As­sis­tant Pro­fes­sor at Bing­ham­ton Univer­sity, State Univer­sity of New York.

For the study, the re­searchers ex­posed a small in­testi­nal cell cul­ture model to the phys­i­o­log­i­cal equiv­a­lent of a meal's worth of ti­ta­nium ox­ide nanopar­ti­cles, 30 nanome­ters across over four hours (acute ex­po­sure), for three meal's worth over five days. Acute ex­po­sures did not have much ef­fect, but chronic ex­po­sure di­min­ished the ab­sorp­tive pro­jec­tions on the sur­face of in­testi­nal cells called mi­crovill.

With fewer mi­crovilli, the in­testi­nal bar­rier was weak­ened, me­tab­o­lism slowed and some nu­tri­ents -iron, zinc, and fatty acids, specif­i­cally were more dif­fi­cult to ab­sorb.

En­zyme func­tions were neg­a­tively af­fected, while in­flam­ma­tion sig­nals in­creased, the study said. “You should avoid pro­cessed foods, and es­pe­cially candy. Mahler ad­vises.

PHOTO: IS­TOCK

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