New Study Reveals Link between Toothpaste Ingredient and Colon Cancer

Recent study reported that common compound found in soaps and toothpaste called triclosan can potentially increase risk for developing colon inflammation and cancer

Study highlighted effect of triclosan, an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in hand soaps and toothpastes among other consumer products, which can develop colon inflammation and cancer. The study was published in Science Translational Medicine in May 2018. It was found that short-time treatment with low-dose triclosan caused low-grade colonic inflammation, and exaggerated disease development of colitis and colitis-associated colon cancer in mice.

Previous studies suggested that triclosan can be toxic effect at high doses, though health effects of lower concentrations are unknown. As a part of the study, the team fed mice with food containing various concentrations of triclosan for three weeks. It was found that mice treated with a concentration of triclosan that reflects the concentrations reported in human blood samples displayed more systemic and colonic inflammation compared to control animals. Also, it was observed that prolong exposure to triclosan increased the severity of colon inflammation in mouse models of inflammatory bowel disease — an effect that persisted even when low doses of the chemical were administered. Triclosan treatment increased tumor size and reduced survival in a separate group of rodents with colon cancer.

However, study also reported that triclosan inhibited diversity of commensal bacteria in the gut of mice, and germ-free mice were protected from the harmful effects, suggesting its pro-inflammatory actions may arise due to alteration of the gut microbiome. Furthermore, team will work on examining the impact of triclosan on human gut health, and determine whether individuals with IBD or colon cancer could be more vulnerable to any adverse effects.

 

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