Canned foods packaged in plastic containers are not just bad for the environment, they can also increase risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), says a new study done by Texas A&M University in the US. IBD is an intestinal disorder that causes prolonged inflammation of the digestive tract.
The reason why plastic containers are so bad for you is Bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine-disrupting chemical used in products such as water bottles and containers to store food and beverages. Exposure to BPA may also worsen the symptoms of the disease and elevate mortality risk compared to untreated groups, the findings showed.
“This is the first study to show that BPA can negatively impact gut microbial amino acid metabolism in a way that has been associated with IBD,” said co-author Jennifer DeLuca from the nutrition and food science department. The study is published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine.
A study done by Binghamton University and published earlier this year showed that food packaging could negatively affect nutrient absorption in the body by changing the way in which your digestive tract operates. And the presence of microplastic, found even in the facewash you use, is proven to be harmful for health. Similarly, researchers from the Milken Institute School of Public Health, USA, found that food packaging in restaurants is linked with higher levels of plastic-based chemicals in the body.
Previous research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers made with it and may have possible health effects on the behaviour, the brain and prostate glands of foetuses, infants and children. “While the causes of IBD have not yet been determined, environmental exposures such as diet, smoking, infections, altered gut microbiome and toxins or pollutants are risk-factors for development and relapse,” said co-author Clint Allred.
The hormone oestrogen has also been linked with an increased risk of IBD and BPA can act as an oestrogen. “Furthermore, BPA has been previously shown to alter gut microbes like the gut microbiota is altered in IBD patients,” Allred said. Because humans are frequently exposed to BPA through consumption of canned foods and the use of plastic containers, it is important to find out just what effect BPA exposure may have on IBD, he noted.
(With inputs from IANS)
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