More microplastics in stool found in people with IBD: study
A new small study has found that people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have more microplastics in their stools.
The China-based researchers wrote about their findings in a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Nature. Environmental Science & Technology on Wednesday. Stool samples were examined from 50 healthy people and 52 people with IBD, which refers to gastrointestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
The researchers found that the stools of people with IBD had 50 percent more microplastics per gram than the stools of healthy people.
Microplastics are small plastic particles less than 5 mm in length and are created through the decomposition of plastic-containing products. These particles have been observed to contaminate various natural ecosystems, but they can also enter the human body through air pollution as well as the use of takeout containers, bottles plastic water and certain clothing.
The health effects of microplastics exposure in humans are still unclear, but previous studies have found that microplastics can cause intestinal inflammation and gut microbiota disturbances in some animals. .
Research shows that microplastics in the stools of people with IBD are also smaller than those of healthy people. IBD participants had particles smaller than 50 micrometers or 0.05 millimeters.
In both groups, the two most common plastics are polyethylene terephthalate (found in water bottles and food containers) and polyamide (found in food and clothing packaging).
These results suggest that plastic packaging is an important source of human exposure (microplastics).
Research shows that people with more severe IBD symptoms also tend to have more microplastics in their stools.
In addition, participants from both groups were surveyed about their lifestyle. Participants who reported drinking more bottled water, eating more and being exposed to more dust were also found to have more microplastics in their stools.
While their study found a correlation between IBC and fecal microplastics, the researchers say it remains unclear whether greater exposure to microplastics increases the risk of IBD, or whether these people with IBD have more microplastics due to their disease.
“The relative mechanisms merit further investigation,” the authors write.