A recent research has deduced that a triclosan, a common chemical in toothpaste, may cause colon cancer after preliminary studies. Triclosan contains antibacterial and antifungal properties which make it useful in household products like toothpastes, detergents, soaps, and mouthwashes. Triclosan has grown in popularity to become one of the most widely used ingredients since 1964.
Triclosan is now added to a range of items, such as toys, bedding, and socks to slow down the buildup of bacteria and fungi. Triclosan which is considered safe generally has become alarmingly prevalent. A study run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 75 percent of the urine samples they tested contained triclosan.
The compound has also been found in blood plasma and mother’s milk and is known to be widely distributed throughout the rivers, streams, oceans, and reservoirs.
Because of its latent role in antimicrobial resistance and endocrine disruption, and its theoretical effects on the immune system, it has been considered a contaminant by the United States Geological Survey.
A recent study in the journal Science Translational Medicine, tested whether triclosan might have any negative effects on gut health. The scientists, led by Guodong Zhang, used a mouse model for the research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The team tested the impact of small doses of triclosan on a range of mouse models. The scientists gave each mouse model a brief, low-level exposure to triclosan.
The team established that in all mouse models used, triclosan prompted inflammation of the colon, aggravated symptoms of colitis (inflammation of the lining of the colon), and promoted colitis-associated tumor growth.
Some models were particularly sensitive. Co-author Hang Xiao explains, We used a genetically engineered mouse model which develops spontaneous inflammatory bowel disease or IBD.”
“Treatment with triclosan significantly increased disease development of IBD in the mice, suggesting that IBD patients may need to reduce exposure to this compound, Xiao stated.”
The scientists also wanted to understand exactly why triclosan appeared to have this pro-tumor, pro-inflammation effect. They establish that triclosan changed the composition of the gut microbiome expressively. This effect has previously been established in humans, too.
They also proved that triclosan did not have adverse health effects in mice without a microbiome. To support this discovery further, they revealed that genetically modified mice who lacked toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) did not experience the hostile effects.
This is important because TLR4 is known to play an important role in communication between gut bacteria and their host.
Taken together, these findings deduce a role for gut bacteria in the destructive effect of triclosan on colon health.
According to the researchers, since this chemical in toothpaste that may cause colon cancer is so widely used, the study suggests that there is an crucial need to further estimate the impact of triclosan exposure on gut health in preparation for the potential establishment of further regulatory policies.
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