Most Food items have emulsifiers. A survey conducted recently using mice indicates that emulsifiers can yield behavioral and physiological changes.
Usually, additives in food create attention and this is not uncalled for because it affects our health. Manufacturers depend on these additives to prolong the life of their products. Emulsifiers are key ingredients in processed meats, margarine, chocolate, and various bread just to mention a few.
In research studies that have been done earlier than this, it is evident that emulsifiers may change the microbiome of mice and this may be the reason for inflammation at a low-grade level. This may result in metabolic disarrays and increased obesity risk.
In another study, this time the sample used was human beings. Among the key findings was that; food chemicals might directly influence the gut bacteria. Consequentially, this causes inflammation of the intestines to occur.
Georgia State University in Atlanta is also an excellent institution that has not been left behind in this significant research about Food additives. In recent times, some scientists decided to study specifically on if Polysorbate-80(P80) and Carboxymethylcellulose(CMC) may affect someone’s mental wellbeing. One of the reasons that make this study of importance is the fact that both emulsifiers are too common to affect many consumers of the products with these emulsifiers.
Psychological health, Gut health
Though it is not easy to draw a line between psychological health and gut health, it is time. Additionally, researchers have gone a step forward to explain a two-way communication between the brain and the gut.
Research work has proved that our gut bacteria’s health, as well as that of our gut health, may seriously affect our mental health. For example, in 2011, it was discovered during one of the works about treating mice by a researcher that, when you use, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, that is a good bacteria species, resulted to brain alterations and it lessened anxiety-like behavior.
Another survey evidenced that mice lacking gut bacteria exhibit more anxiety than those with gut bacteria especially when the scientists used controls to compare them. In another case, during the early life of mice, the use of antibiotics can seriously change the social behavior, anxiety levels, and the microbiome in the long-term.
The latest study reviewed if CMC and P80 may change a mice’s mental set up. The discoveries were documented as published reports, in scientific journals. These researchers put P80 and CMC in the water for mice to drink for three months. They then took note of their, physiological parameters, alterations in their microbiome, and their behavior.
A Professor, Geert de Vries who was the Co-lead scientist, in this study gave an explanation about their work. “We asked the question: Can emulsifiers’ effects on general systemic inflammation also be extended to the brain and to behavior? The answer was yes.”
The Impact of Emulsifiers
Researchers, from these different studies, were able to prove that emulsifiers indeed influence gut bacteria but in varying ways in female and male mice. They also revealed that alterations in the behavior were dissimilar for the different genders.
Precisely, they recorded a rise in anxious comportment, especially in male mice. On the other hand, the social behavior in the female mice had noticeably dropped. It is unidentified how emulsifiers might affect behavior but there are a few theories that exist that would try to explain such an occurrence.
“We know that inflammation triggers local immune cells to produce signaling molecules that can affect tissues in other places, including the brain. The gut also contains branches of the vagus nerve, which forms a direct information pathway to the brain.” The Co-lead scientist continued.
It gets more complicated to explain why there is a variance with the different genders. Nevertheless, researchers are aware that the female and male immune system works a little differently. These dissimilarities in their systems may contribute to the variances in the findings.
This group of scientist intends to proceed with this venture as they change from the models that are using mice to those with sample species like larger animals. The authors in their work agree that it will be a crucial move. In actual sense, defining these studies about mice and how they are related humans is fundamentally difficult. This is mostly concerning behavioral disorders. But then again, someone somewhere must do it so there are research write-ups to build after by other upcoming scholars.
Co-lead scientist Benoit Chassaing adds, “We are currently investigating the mechanisms by which dietary emulsifiers are impacting the intestinal microbiota as well as the human relevance of those findings.”
Notably, the male mice that fed on emulsifiers only displayed significant variances in one out of a possible four anxiety tests done. The survey that was done was an open field. Writers suggested that the study exhibited that it was predominantly aimed at evaluating standard anxiety disparate to anxiety disorders.
In recent times, most participants have discovered an increase in anxiety in Western civilization. Running concurrently with these findings is that, there is a rise in inflammatory bowel ailment. Writers in the journal article ponder over if food additives might have a contribution to these findings.
At the moment, the scientists, endorse that human beings should analyze food additives for the effect it will have on their gut bacteria. Factually, science has verified that the microbiome plays a substantial role in health. Supposedly, the safety laws about food should be sensitized as well.