Side Effects of Microplastics: Microplastics In Food May Travel From Gut To Brain, Liver And Other Organs; Finds Study | Health News

Microplastics In Food May Travel From Gut To Brain, Liver And Other Organs

Microplastics In Food May Travel From Gut To Brain, Liver And Other Organs

Microplastics are present in almost everything. From air, water to food and other substances, microplastics can be found everywhere. They are also known to have adverse impacts on human health. A recent study found that microplastics that are ingested spread from the gut to the brain, kidneys, liver and other organs. The study published in Environmental Health Perspectives looked at how consuming microplastics affected mice.

Study author Marcus Garcia, PharmD, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy, said to Medical News Today, “Our findings suggest that microplastic exposure can lead to metabolic changes in these tissues, indicating potential systemic effects.

“The implications of our findings for human health are substantial.”

The study defines microplastics as plastic particles that are smaller than 5mm. The mice were exposed to different amounts of polystyrene or mixed polymer microspheres through oral gastric feeding. After this, the researchers studied their serum, brain, liver, kidney, and colon tissues to find the presence of microplastics in them.

They found microplastics in multiple organs of the mice which include the brain, liver and kidneys. The study sheds light on how microplastics can spread to different parts of the body. Along with the exposure to microplastics, the researchers also found certain metabolic changes in the colon, liver and brain.

How does exposure to microplastics impact health?

These metabolic changes also depend on how much microplastic exposure the mice received and what type were they exposed to.

Garcia said, “By exposing mice to levels of microplastics similar to human ingestion, we discovered that these particles can indeed migrate from the gut into organs such as the liver, kidney, and brain.”

“Previous research from our group has demonstrated that microplastics can disrupt immune function. This could be a problem when dealing with infections or could possibly worsen conditions like inflammatory bowel diseases. Additionally, our study was performed over a 4-week period, showing significant alterations in metabolism. This brings insight into the long-term accumulation of microplastics in the body, raising concerns about chronic exposure. Furthermore, our study revealed substantial metabolic alterations linked to various metabolic and immune disorders, including changes in amino acid, lipid, and hormone metabolism.”

Limitations of the study

The study had certain limitations. First is, the researchers used mice for this study. So, further research is needed to see if these results apply to humans.

Secondly, the researchers used microplastics that didn’t have chemical additives in them which are common in microplastics and make their consumption worse for one’s health.

The scientists also say that the analysis of microplastics was limited. There needs to be further research that focuses on ways to find and measure microplastics in tissues.

Garcia added, “Further research is critical to answer many questions on how microplastic accumulation plays a role in human health,” noted.

“We need to understand their overall impact better and the factors influencing their uptake. Currently, we are exploring how microplastics make their way into the brain. Additionally, we are utilizing newly established techniques to investigate the accumulation of microplastics in the human brain, liver, and kidney tissues.”


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