Food and Behaviour Research

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Gut: An underestimated target organ for Aluminum

Vignal C, Desreumaux P, Body-Malapel M (2016)  Morphologie. pii: S1286-0115(16)00026-6. doi: 10.1016/j.morpho.2016.01.003 

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Since World War II, several factors such as an impressive industrial growth, an enhanced environmental bioavailability and intensified food consumption have contributed to a significant amplification of human exposure to aluminum. Aluminum is particularly present in food, beverages, some drugs and airbone dust.

In our food, aluminum is superimposed via additives and cooking utensils. Therefore, the tolerable intake of aluminum is exceeded for a significant part of the world population, especially in children who are more vulnerable to toxic effects of pollutants than adults.

Faced with this oral aluminum influx, intestinal tract is an essential barrier, especially as 38% of ingested aluminum accumulates at the intestinal mucosa. Although still poorly documented to date, the impact of oral exposure to aluminum in conditions relevant to real human exposure appears to be deleterious for gut homeostasis. Aluminum ingestion affects the regulation of the permeability, the microflora and the immune function of intestine. Nowadays, several arguments are consistent with an involvement of aluminum as an environmental risk factor for inflammatory bowel diseases.

Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.