Diet and Nutrition

This Popular Food Additive Might Worsen Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symptoms

Bowel Disease Symptoms

This Popular Food Additive Might Worsen Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symptoms

Anyone with IBD knows that certain foods simply don't agree with the body. For each individual, the triggers may be different. But there are some foods that are more irritating than others, such as gluten, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol. Often, people are advised to avoid processed foods as much as possible because they might contain unknown chemical ingredients that trigger inflammation.

Titanium dioxide is a popular food additive used in the food industry that might cause harm for people with inflammatory bowel disease. It's actually a white food coloring and may appear as E171 in ingredient lists. This substance can be found in many different products, not just food! It's used in things like icing, gum, candies, marshmallows, and even cosmetics. Personal products like toothpaste and sunscreen can contain this compound.

The chemical substance is an inactive material that gives things a whiter appearance.

Not only can titanium dioxide provide a nice, white color to foods, but it sometimes can prevent clumping of certain products. Its anti-caking ability makes it popular to add in pastries like donuts to make a consistently fluffy texture in the dough. This anti-caking ability also translates to making toothpaste, where it can offer a level of abrasion to help with cleaning off debris on your teeth.

Why are we using this chemical substance in our food products and personal care items?

Though we don't know too much about the compound, the research so far suggests that it's relatively safe. The United States Food and Drug Administrations has given this chemical the okay to be used in products for human consumption. This stems from research done at the Arizona State University showing that there was a minimal risk with products made with titanium dioxide. However, most of these studies focused on inhalation effects rather than consumption.

From the research conducted at Arizona State University, a concept known as nanoparticles was discovered. These are extremely tiny particles, and we don't know much about how they affect the human body. People are most suspicious of nanoparticles, and how these molecules might be triggers of the immune system. Many of the studies done on titanium dioxide do show potential for harm, but there is still not enough evidence because we don't know what conditions are needed and how much material is required to produce this effect.

Even without knowing the full risks of ingesting this compound, did you know that kids are the ones with the highest exposure to it?

Unfortunately, though we don't know that much about titanium dioxide, it turns out that our younger generations are the most exposed to it. Because it's so often found in gums, sweets, and candies, our children are more likely to eat these products than adults. Though we know it's not toxic and that it's generally safe, we don't know for sure that eating titanium dioxide won't produce some adverse, long-term harm to these kids.

A study has been completed recently revealing a negative link between this compound and inflammatory bowel disease. Read on to learn more.