Household Chemicals And Gut Microbiome

Household Chemicals And Gut Microbiome – Scientists Discovers Correlation Between Them 

A correlation between the levels of bacteria and fungi in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of children and the levels of common chemicals present in their home environment has been found by a group of scientists for the very first time.

The results of the research are released in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters. This study might result in a better insight into how these semi-volatile organic substances might impact human health. The paper’s lead author is Courtney Gardner, assistant prof, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Washington State University.

She finished this study as a postdoctoral researcher in partnership with Duke University. The gut microbiome, the population of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract, has been of rising interest to scientists over the last few years. The microorganisms in our digestive tract are believed to influence several processes, from nutrient absorption to immunity, and a harmful microbiome involved in diseases like dementia, asthma, and obesity.

In the research, the scientists estimated the levels of ubiquitous semi-organic compounds in 69 toddlers and preschoolers using their blood and urine samples. Later they studied the children’s digestive tract microbiome

utilizing fecal samples. The semi-volatile organic compounds include phthalates used in detergents, plastic clothing like shower curtains, raincoats, and personal-care products, like shampoo, soap, and hair spray, along with PFASs utilized in stain and water-repellent fabrics, paints, nonstick cooking products, coatings for rugs and furniture, cleaning items, as well as polishes. In day to day life, people are exposed to such chemicals in the air and dust in their houses, specifically young children who could ingest them by crawling on rugs or often putting objects in their mouths.

When the scientists determined the gut microbiome levels, they observed that kids who had higher levels of the chemicals in their blood showed variations in their GI microbiome.

Kids with increased levels of PFASs in their bloodstream had a decrease in the amount and diversity of bacteria, while the raised amount of phthalates were linked with a decrease in fungi communities.

Gardner stated that the correlation between the chemicals and less abundant microbiome was particularly noticeable and most worrying.

She added that these microbes are perhaps not the main drivers and might have many more subtle functions in our biology. However, it could be the case that one of these microbes does have a distinct feature, and also lowering its levels might have substantial health effects.

Additionally, the team noticed that the kids who had increased levels of chemical compounds in their blood also had various types of bacteria in their digestive tract that have been utilized to clear toxic chemicals. Dehalogenating bacteria have been utilized for bioremediation to break down persistent halogenated chemicals like dry-cleaning agents. These bacteria are not commonly present in the human GI tract.

Gardner stated that the higher levels of these types of bacteria in the gut suggest that, possibly, the microbiome present in the digestive tract is attempting to fix itself. Gardner wishes to utilize the data collected from this research to develop a diagnostic tool for people and maybe future probiotic interventions to boost health outcomes.

She stated that while these data does not signify causation, they provide a sign of the types of organisms that may be affected by exposure to these chemicals and offer a springboard for future research. Getting more comprehensive knowledge of the interactions between human-made chemicals, the digestive tract microbes, and human health is crucial in improving public health.

The NIEHS and the US EPA supported the study.


Household Chemicals And Gut Microbiome – Scientists Discovers Correlation Between Them


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