Emulsifiers Found to Be the Reason for Colon Cancer in Mice


Colon cancer takes its victims each year, but it seems like the number is growing each year. This year approximately 93,090 people in the world have been diagnosed with colon cancer. But as this number is growing, so is the number of researchers interested in finding different risk factors for colon cancer and colorectal cancer and doing everything that they can to eliminate them. And they do not seem to stop surprising us with their findings. In a most recent study, it has been revealed that emulsifiers – which are common additives found in many different processed foods, seem to have a role in increasing the risk for colon cancer and colorectal cancer. Find out more about this topic in the following article, bit first let’s review what colon cancer and colorectal cancer are!

What Are Colon Cancer And Colorectal Cancer?

You probably noticed that these are two different types of cancer which affect different parts of the digestive system. The colon cancer affects only the colon, whereas colorectal cancer affects the whole colon and rectum as well. The colon and rectum are the final parts of the large intestine and are commonly affected by cancer, which is why it is essential to be prevented as much as it can.

About the Study

This study was conducted by researchers from the Georgia State University’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences and it was then published in the Journal Cancer Research. There were no human beings involved as a test subject, instead of mice were used for the purpose of the study. The researchers wanted to investigate how emulsifiers affected the human body if taken in large amounts. For that purpose, the mice were fed large amounts of two most commonly used emulsifiers – polysorbate 80 and carboxymethyl cellulose. Before we proceed, let’s review what emulsifiers are for those of you who have not heard this term before.

What Are Emulsifiers?

Emulsifiers are commonly used additives to process some of our favorite food products. There are so commonly used because of their ability to mix two ingredients, for example, water, and oil, to get the final product. Emulsifiers can be commonly found in different food products such as mayonnaise, ice cream, margarine, baked goods and etc. A recent study published in the Journal Nature, suggests that emulsifiers increase the risk for obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease by causing inflammation and problems when it comes to the function of the normal gut flora. And now we have a study which shows that they also increase the risk for colorectal cancer!
Emulsifiers Info

What Are The Findings?

The researchers separated the mice into three groups – two groups of mice received either polysorbate 80 or carboxymethyl cellulose and the third group received water. They were also given toxins to cause inflammation and colorectal cancer. What they found was alarming. The two groups of mice that were given some emulsifiers had a higher increase of colorectal cancer which was explained by the changes in the gut flora. It is known that emulsifiers mess with the function of the normal gut flora, which protects our digestive system. However, this study has shown that the emulsifiers mess with the function of the normal gut flora to a level where they start causing colorectal cancer. The emulsifiers actually cause inflammation of the gut which then leads to colorectal cancer. However, although these findings may be alarming it cannot be said that the same would apply to human beings as well. Mostly because, although we do tend to eat a lot of unhealthy food, the number of people that receive the same dose of emulsifiers as the mice were given is small. More research on the topic is needed. But, this is probably enough to make us change our diets and start doing something to help our bodies stay healthy for as long as possible!
See Also: Top Factors That Contributes To A Higher Risk Of Colon Cancer


A most recent study has made a lot of people rethink their life choices, especially their diets and their habit of regular exercise. We are talking about the study published in the Journal Cancer Research which showed that emulsifiers – commonly used additives in some of our favorite foods, for example, ice cream, veggie burgers, baked goods and etc. caused colorectal cancer to occur within mice. Colorectal cancer takes more and more victims by the year and it is always a good thing to hear that someone is working to put a stop to it. It is more and more obvious that it is time to make a change in our lives if we do not want to go through any unwanted experience involving some disease or other. Remember that our body can only do so much on its own but it does require your attention to watch over little things to help.


  • http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-11-common-food-additive-colon-cancer.html
  • http://www.faia.org.uk/emulsifiers-in-food/