A new report in the journal Nature Nanotechnology has found that ultra-fine grains, nanoparticles commonly used in our drugs and processed foods could change the surface structure of our intestinal lining.
Nanoparticles like titanium dioxide or aluminium silicate are increasingly used in pills or food, and consumed by their trillions each day by folks in the global North. Ultimately, these nanoparticles may be changing the way we digest food and absorb nutrients….and most likely for the worse.
Nature Nanotechnology announcement:
“Chronic and acute oral exposure to polystyrene nanoparticles can affect iron uptake and transport in a model of human intestinal lining cells cultured in the laboratory and in a live chicken intestinal model reports a paper this week in Nature Nanotechnology. The models created in this study may provide a low-cost and high-throughput screening tool for future nanoparticle toxicity research. Because of their unique physical and chemical properties, engineered nanoparticles are used in a variety of applications, including the food industry and for drug delivery. In addition, it has been estimated that the average person in a developed country consumes over a trillion man-made fine to ultrafine particles every day. Some features of nanoparticles may, however, lead to harmful interactions with cellular material, but no studies have yet addressed the chronic effects of nanoparticle exposure on the normal function of the intestinal lining, known as the epithelium.”
Mahler, G.J. et al. (2012) Oral exposure to polystyrene nanoparticles affects iron absorption, Nature Nanotechnology, 7:264–271