People with IBD have more microplastics in their feces, study says

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Microplastics of various shapes, such as sheets (left) and fibers (right), were more common in the faeces of people with IBD than in healthy controls. Credits: Environmental Science & Technology 2021, adapted from DOI: 10.1021 / acs.est.1c03924

Microplastics (small pieces of plastic less than 5 mm in length) are everywhere, from bottled water to food and air. Recent estimates indicate that people consume tens of thousands of these particles each year, and their health effects are unknown.Researchers currently reporting on ACS Environmental science and technology People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have found more microplastics in their faeces than in healthy controls. This suggests that the fragments may be associated with the disease process.

The prevalence of IBD, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is increasing worldwide. IBD, which is characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, can be caused or exacerbated by dietary and environmental factors. Faming Zhang, Yan Zhang and colleagues suspected that microplastics could also contribute to IBD, as they can cause intestinal inflammation, impaired intestinal microbial flora, and other problems in animal models. As a first step towards discovery, researchers wanted to compare the levels of microplastics in the feces of healthy subjects and people of different severity of IBD.

Obtained team Fecal sample From 50 healthy people and 52 IBD people from different geographic regions of China.Analysis of the sample showed that it contained about 1.5 times more feces from IBD patients. Microplastic Particles per gram than from healthy subjects. Microplastics had similar shapes (mainly sheets and fibers) in the two groups, but IBD feces had smaller (less than 50 μm) particles.The two most common types of plastic in both groups are polyethylene terephthalate (PET; the one used in bottles). food Containers) and polyamides (PA; contained in food packaging and textiles). People with more severe IBD symptoms tended to have higher levels of microplastic in their faeces. Through a questionnaire, researchers found that both groups of people who drank bottled water, ate takeaway food, and were often exposed to dust had more microplastics in their feces.

These results suggest that people with IBD may be exposed to more microplastics in the gastrointestinal tract. However, it is still unclear whether this exposure can cause or contribute to IBD, or whether people with IBD accumulate more fecal microplastics as a result of their illness.


Studies show that babies have more microplastics in their faeces than adults.


For more information:
Analysis of microplastics in human feces reveals a correlation between fecal microplastics and the status of inflammatory bowel disease. Environmental science and technology (2021). DOI: 10.1021 / acs.est.1c03924

Quote: IBD people say that feces are high in microplastics (22 December 2021) https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-12-people-ibd-microplastics-feces.html Obtained from December 22, 2021

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