The role of titanium dioxide in the gut

Cassiana Ganem Achtschin (Department of Gastroenterology, Laboratory of Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil)
Aytan Miranda Sipahi (Department of Gastroenterology, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Publication date: 8 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Titanium is a naturally occurring mineral in the form of titanium dioxide (TiO2) and is one of the most widely used food additives. The purpose of this review article is to show the importance of the accumulation of this mineral in the gut and its relation with inflammatory processes.

Methodology

This is a literature review study from 2002 to 2016, focusing on studies with TiO2 and its relation with inflammatory bowel diseases.

Findings

Articles describe that TiO2 is resistant to gastrointestinal degradation, as it has high stability, and that its particles, ingested daily, may bind to biomolecules in the lumen or be absorbed by the intestinal mucosa, accumulating in the macrophages of lymphoid tissue in the gut, thus causing or aggravating the inflammatory response in the inflamed bowel.

Limitations/implications

There is a limited number of studies on the long-term impact of dietary microparticles in animal models, in healthy subjects and in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases.

Practical implications

It is necessary to regulate the amount of TiO2 used in industrialized products.

Social implications

The high consumption of processed foods, as opposed to a healthy diet based on the balanced consumption of nutrients, is relevant, as it may lead to or exacerbate intestinal inflammation.

Originality/value

This review indicates that titanium particles may mediate toxicological processes leading to an abnormal increase in intestinal permeability, which may be particularly aggravating in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases.

Keywords

Citation

Achtschin, C. and Sipahi, A. (2017), "The role of titanium dioxide in the gut", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 47 No. 3, pp. 432-442. https://doi.org/10.1108/NFS-07-2016-0110

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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