Inorganic Food Additives to Increase Allergy Vulnerability for Babies

A study suggests inorganic nanoparticles in our food, which get transferred into the mother's breast milk through the placenta, can interfere with intestinal regulation, leading to an increase in babies' chance of food allergies.

Our society today is heavily focused on clean eating, or healthy eating with the advancement of organic restaurants, various types of diets, and more. We still, however, find excessive amounts of food additives and processors in our food. From jar foods to sauces, to even fast food menus, food additives are everywhere in our lives.

Understanding nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is a popular concept in food science that positively influenced our food culture, from food processing, packaging, and most importantly, the safety of our food. In-depth, nanotechnology can help with a myriad of elements from detecting bacteria, increasing food life, and discharging preservatives to helping with food packaging. With such accelerated advancement, however, inorganic nanoparticles have come into the picture.

“Nanotechnology introduces new chances for innovation in the food industry at immense speed, but uncertainty and health concerns are also emerging. EU/WE/global legislation for the regulation of nanotechnology in food is meager. Moreover, current legislation appears unsuitable to nanotechnology specificity,” said Dr. Bhupinder Singh Sekhon in his research.

A recent study by the University of Paris-Saclay shared that these inorganic nanoparticles found in our everyday food could have much more serious health benefits than we think. The Université Paris-Saclay colleagues said nanoparticles not only affect ourselves but also the placenta, eventually reaching fetuses.

With such common exposure to food additives and nanoparticles, we have to be considerate about food allergy and the effect it has on fetuses. Such immunotoxic biocidal particles can impede the host-intestinal microbiota's favorable transfer, leading to a hindered immune system development.

Growth of food allergy

Food allergy, or FA, refers to an unfavorable response resulting from an immoderate response to dietary proteins which results from a damaged introduction of oral tolerance.

FA can severely affect one's life, resulting in multiple mechanisms from nausea, hives, swelling, and even asthma. FA can also lead to a serious allergic reaction called anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal. FA affects around 6 to 8 percent of children, and the most common allergies include peanuts and cow's milk.

Research showed that FA has dramatically escalated over the past two decades, exhibiting the importance of environmental factors in the particular disease. Studies showed that about 32 million people in America are suffering from at least one food allergy, and approximately 6 million children possess at least one as well.

“The impact of such exposure on the development of food allergy has not been assessed to date,” stated corresponding study author Dr. Karine Adel-Patient.

“Due to the immunotoxic and biocidal properties of nanoparticles, exposure may disrupt the host-intestinal microbiota's beneficial exchanges and may interfere with intestinal barrier and gut-associated immune system development in fetus and neonate.”

"This may be linked to the epidemic of immune-related disorders in children, such as food allergies - a major public health concern,” continued Dr. Adel-Patient.

How does it get transferred to babies?

When the mother gets exposed to foodborne nanoparticles, they transfer through the placenta, directly affecting the fetus. It also paves its way through breast milk, which is then fed to babies. Even healthy babies who get exposed to their mother's exposed breast milk can get immune-related disorders.

“Due to the immunotoxic and biocidal properties of nanoparticles, exposure may disrupt the host-intestinal microbiota’s beneficial exchanges and may interfere with intestinal barrier and gut-associated immune system development in fetus and neonate,” continued Dr. Karine Adel-Patient.

Nanoparticles are not engrossed but rather processed in the gut, impacting the epithelium intestinal barrier that is crucial to building a healthy reaction to dietary proteins.

“This may be linked to the epidemic of immune-related disorders in children, such as food allergies – a major public health concern.”

The perinatal term is crucial for babies to receive sufficient nutrients and pave the way to create a healthy susceptible metabolism.

Dr. Adel-Patient also shared that the “review highlights the urgent need for researchers to assess the risk related to exposure to foodborne inorganic nanoparticles during a critical window of susceptibility and its impact on children's health.”

Aside from other environmental components, certain inorganic nanoparticles can severely impact a baby's dietary health, including intestinal homeostasis, which can lead to FA. More study is needed to thoroughly examine the impact of fetal and neonatal subjectivity on nanoparticles.

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