The popular condiment that could be affecting your health

Scientists have discovered an additive in mayonnaise could lead to cancer. Source: Getty

It is considered a common condiment in most people’s fridges but new research has claimed that eating mayonnaise could lead to some significant health issues.

A study conducted by the University of Sydney has found the food additive E171, present in hundreds of products including chewing gum and mayonnaise, may cause damage to a person’s gut health and in some instances cause cancer.

According to researchers the additive, also known as titanium dioxide nanoparticles, affects bacteria in the gut in a way that could potentially trigger inflammatory bowel diseases and bowel cancer.

As part of the study, published in Frontiers in Nutrition, researchers investigated the link between the additive and bacteria in the gut of mice. They found E171 impacted some of the bacteria’s functions, meaning there is potential that disease could develop.

“This study investigated effects of titanium dioxide on gut health in mice and found that titanium dioxide did not change the composition of gut microbiota, but instead it affected bacteria activity and promoted their growth in a form of undesired biofilm,” co-lead author Associate Professor Laurence Macia explained.

“Biofilms are bacteria that stick together and the formation of biofilm has been reported in diseases such as colorectal cancer.”

Although it has been used in medicines, foods and clothing for many years, scientists claim the consumption of the additives in foods has increased recently and has been linked to several medical conditions. This includes dementia, auto-immune diseases, eczema, asthma and autism.

While E17 is still allowed in food products, according to the co-author Associate Professor Wojciech Chrzanowski further discussion over regulations of it need to occur to ensure the public’s safety.

“It is well established that dietary composition has an impact on physiology and health, yet the role of food additives is poorly understood,” he explained.

“There is increasing evidence that continuous exposure to nanoparticles has an impact on gut microbiota composition, and since gut microbiota is a gate keeper of our health, any changes to its functions have an influence on overall health.

“This study presents pivotal evidence that consumption of food containing food additive E171 affects gut microbiota as well as inflammation in the gut, which could lead to diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases and colorectal cancer.”

Do you eat mayonnaise? Do you think it could have have an affect on your health?

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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