Update: February 2019
Emulsifiers are used to mix “immiscible”, to
For example, oil, water, air in the production process
food industry products:
- ice cream
- chocolate, etc.
But how do they affect health? Mouse Studies
found that emulsifiers lead to metabolic disorders,
inflammatory bowel disease in experimental animals, because
violate the balance between intestinal microflora and intestines.
What are emulsifiers so necessary in food
The oil, when mixed with water, forms a film on the water and no
stirring does not lead to the formation of a homogeneous mass, but with
adding emulsifier oil breaks up into small particles,
uniformly distributed throughout the volume of water – this mixture is accepted
call emulsion. Milk is an example of an emulsion that
formed naturally. But to get complex in composition
продукт — мороженое или mayonnaise, просто необходимо добавить
emulsifier to make the mass uniform.
How negative is the effect of emulsifiers on health?
Research on the effect of emulsifiers on health for a long time
was made. Однако ученые из Корнельского университета и
University of Georgia found that such emulsifier as
carboxymethylcellulose, promotes the development of intestinal inflammation
in animals with a predisposition. To clarify this
fact, the researchers conducted an experiment – divided mice into 2
- with normal genetic modifications
- with a genetic propensity for metabolic syndrome and
And they were fed 2 of the most popular emulsifiers – Polysorbate 80
and carboxymethylcellulose, adding them to food and water. As a result
what in 12 weeks:
- Mutant mice – 2 times increased the likelihood of intestinal
colitis, that is, the disease in such mice with normal nutrition
no additives occurred in 40% of cases, with the use of emulsifiers
- Normal mice – full-fledged colitis did not occur, however these
emulsifiers provoked the development of metabolic disorders
Metabolic syndrome in humans is characterized by the following:
- excess weight, increasing the proportion of adipose tissue in the total mass
- increased blood glucose
- similar violation of carbohydrate and fat metabolism is usually
ends with type 2 diabetes
- increases the risk of developing various cardiovascular
- онкологических diseases
- senile dementia
- polycystic ovary syndrome
- fatty hepatosis
The trigger mechanism of inflammatory processes in the intestine are
changes in the intestinal microflora (see intestinal dysbiosis). Not
rarely does the metabolic syndrome itself occur against the background of chronic
intestinal inflammation that may manifests itself in the form of a disease
Crohn’s or intestinal colitis.
Why do emulsifiers cause intestinal inflammation?
So what happens in the intestines when using emulsifiers?
Bacteria in the intestine perform essential functions –
they help the absorption of nutrients, promote the synthesis
vitamins, protect against allergies, cooperate with the immune system
fight against pathogenic microbes. But to be in direct contact with
intestinal walls they can not, because when they contact with cells
intestinal immunity will perceive it as a pathogenic attack. And considering
the fact that there are a lot of bacteria – the inflammatory immune response will be
chronic. To prevent this from happening, the intestinal wall is protected
a layer of mucus. However, under the action of emulsifiers this protective mucus
Emulsifiers provoke intestinal inflammation in 2 ways:
- Notпосредственно обеспечивается доступ бактерий к эпителию.
Emulsifiers destroy (or greatly reduce) the amount of protective
layer of intestinal walls. In experimental mice, these nutritional supplements
reduced the distance between epithelial cells and bacteria in 2
- Changing the composition of the intestinal microflora – the appearance
mucous and inflammatory varieties of bacteria. I.e
bacteria appear in the microflora, splitting the protective mucus, and
also the proportion of “pro-inflammatory” species, significantly
irritating intestinal immunity.
But it is worth noting that the intestinal microflora is very sensitive.
and to other provocative factors (ecological, genetic) and
not only emulsifiers trigger inflammatory processes. But if
a person has a predisposition to inflammation (diseases of the gastrointestinal tract,
problems with immunity, dysbiosis) – he really needs
exclude food additives with emulsifying action.
If you look at this study more optimistically, then
here it was only about 2 food additives and the test was
performed on mice. Who knows, maybe human microflora
able to adapt to all types of emulsifiers used in
modern food industry.