Food additive emulsifiers and their impact on gut microbiome, permeability and inflammation: mechanistic insights in inflammatory bowel disease

Aaron Bancil, Alicia Sandall, Megan Rossi, Benoit Chassaing, James O. Lindsay, Kevin Whelan

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Abstract

The global burden of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has increased over the 21st century. Despite multiple studies investigating the pathogenesis of IBD, the causative mechanisms pertaining to the increased prevalence remain unclear. There is growing evidence that aspects of a ‘Western diet’ increase the risk of developing IBD. More recently, evidence implicating dietary emulsifiers has accumulated, with ecological studies showing a positive correlation with inflammatory bowel disease and emulsifier consumption. Further to these, cell and animal studies have demonstrated plausible mechanisms by which dietary emulsifiers may contribute to IBD pathogenesis through mechanisms including: promotion of pro-inflammatory intestinal microbiota; disruption of mucus architecture; increased intestinal permeability; activation of inflammatory pathways and disruption of the cell cycle. This review critically analyses the current evidence for these mechanisms that may be of pathological relevance to IBD, evaluates recent dietary trials, acknowledges the challenges of dietary intervention studies and gives an overview of ongoing and future clinical trials in this important area.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Crohn's and Colitis
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Dec 2020

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