Friday, February 3, 2023

Irritable bowel disease may be related to microplastic consumption: Study

A new study has found that the stools of individuals affected by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) contain more microplastics than those of healthy controls.

According to the study published in Environmental Science and Technology, recent estimates indicate that people consume thousands of microplastics – those less than 5 mm in length – from a variety of sources, from bottled water to food to air.

While the health consequences of such consumption have long been unknown, researchers at Nanjing University in China have found that the development of IBD may be related to the ingestion of these fragments, said a statement accompanying the study.

IBD, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is characterized by chronic inflammation of the digestive tract and can be caused or exacerbated by dietary choices and environmental factors, according to studies. Meanwhile, the incidence of IBD continues to rise around the world.

“For the first time, this study shows that there is a significant difference in concentration [microplastics] in the feces of IBD patients and healthy people,” the authors said.

Researchers obtained stool samples from 50 healthy people — 30 men and 20 women — and 52 people — 31 men and 21 women — with IBD from different geographic regions of China, ultimately finding that the samples from IBD patients had about 1.5 times the There were more microplastic pieces. per gram compared to healthy subjects. According to the study, individuals with more severe IBD symptoms also have higher levels of fecal microplastics.

While the microplastics in IBD patient and health participant samples were similar in size — described in the study as “sheets” and “fibers” — IBD stool contained more tiny particles, the scientists found.

Through an accompanying questionnaire, the researchers confirmed that people in both groups who consumed bottled water, ate takeout food and were exposed to dust had higher levels of microplastics in their fecal samples. However, he acknowledged that it is unclear whether this exposure triggers IBD or whether individuals with IBD tend to accumulate more fecal microplastics because of their disease.

“Although we have identified positive correlations between fecal [microplastic] concentrations and IBD status, the underlying mechanisms require further study,” the authors said.


Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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