How nanoplastics alter gut microbiome and threaten health

When plastic degrades, it breaks down into smaller microparticles and nanoparticles. Penetrating the body through water or even air, they harm human health. New research has shown that nano plastics affect the composition and diversity of the gut microbiome and harm human health.

The health effects of nano plastics have traditionally been evaluated on marine life such as mollusks, crustaceans, and fish. Recent in vitro studies using fish and mammalian cell cultures have allowed scientists to analyze the changes in gene expression associated with the presence of nanoplastics from a toxicological point of view. Most of the neurological, endocrine and immunological tracts in these vertebrates are very similar to humans. Scientists warn that some of the effects observed in, for example. Fish can be observed in humans.

Mariana Teles, a researcher at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and one of the authors of the study, emphasizes that “this article is not intended to raise the alarm, but seeks to warn that the plastic that is found in almost everything that a person touches is not disintegrating, and we are constantly exposed to it. At this point, we can only speculate about the long-term effects of this on human health. However, we already have evidence from several studies describing hormonal levels and immune changes in fish exposed to nano plastics that could be applied to humans. ”

After entering the intestine, up to 90% of the plastic fragments that enter the intestine are excreted from the body. However, some rest are fragmented into nano plastics, which can penetrate cells due to their small size and molecular properties. The study described changes in food absorption and inflammatory reactions in the intestinal walls, changes in the composition and functioning of its microbiome, and effects on metabolism and immunity.

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