What is titanium dioxide, a genotoxic compound (still) used in medicines – time.news

What is titanium dioxide, a genotoxic compound (still) used in medicines – time.news
Of Christine Brown

The substance was banned from foods but still used in oral medicines. How really dangerous the additive and the node of the dosages. Here’s what it will be replaced with

For over six months the titanium dioxide (E171) no longer used as a food additive. Already in May 2021, in fact, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) had concluded, on the basis of the available studies, that the chemical compound genotoxiccio can damage DNA and consequently lead to carcinogenic effects. In 2016, a potential was also highlighted reproductive toxicity – points out Gianni Sava, former professor of Pharmacology at the University of Trieste and member of the Italian Society of Pharmacology – but it is not, however, possible to establish a minimum level of recruitment. For these reasons E171 was excluded from food. Titanium dioxide, on the other hand, is still used in medicines and cosmetics (for now). But dangerous? Who takes daily medicines in tablet form that contain titanium dioxide face health risks?

What is titanium dioxide

Titanium dioxide is a substance of mineral origin of color clear and opaque. been used for a long time in the food industry as additive in the production of sauces, candies and in other types of foods as a colorant. In industry it is used in the photocatalysis process and helps certain chemical reactions which would otherwise take place with a greater expenditure of energy, explains Gianni Sava. In foods – he adds – it acts as antibacterial and allows food to be stored for longer thanks to the stimulation of “reactive oxygen species” (ROS). Moreover protects from exposure to lightanother useful property for food preservation.

Because it is used in medicines

In medicines, as well as in cosmetics and sunscreens, titanium dioxide plays the role filter functioncio absorbs UV radiation and therefore protects the product from damage by sunlight. Furthermore, this chemical substance has the ability to make the surfaces of the tablets smoother, therefore easier to swallow, adds the pharmacologist. However, following the genotoxicity problems that have emerged, it is very probable that titanium dioxide will actually soon be replaced even in medicines. There are already studies that show how the calcium carbonate is able to replace titanium dioxide. The properties of the two compounds are similar, although not identical, comments Sava.

The knot of doses

Titanium dioxide comes very slowly eliminated from the body and this means that if it is taken continuously there will be a accumulation because the rate at which it is absorbed is faster than the rate at which it is eliminated. So whoever takes a drug with this substance can accumulate it and risk negative health consequences? In theory yes, but we also have to deal with the quantities that are actually minimal in medicines – specifies the pharmacologist – even compared to those detectable in foods, where the accumulation effect was clearly much more evident. But what risks can you really run? The toxicity of E171 is known in experimental animals. By administering titanium dioxide to a rat we will observe inflammation of the stomach and intestines, liver toxicity with liver necrosis, cardiovascular lesions, nephrotoxicity, central nervous system disorders with worsening anxiety. However these experiments were carried out with enormous doses compared to the real ones (5 grams per kilo of weight), a thousand times higher than what would be absorbed with food (which among other things have higher doses than drugs). By lowering the dose a thousand times, most of the toxic effects described are no longer visible. However, the genotoxic aspect remains: even a very low concentration of titanium dioxide, again in laboratory conditions, can damage the DNA of cells with a genotoxic effect which increases the risk of developing tumours. In medicines we are talking about micrograms – Sava reassures – and therefore really minimal quantities with very modest accumulation. There is no reason to be alarmed and the initiatives that will be taken are in any case to protect the health of the citizen: if there is the possibility of finding an alternative, it is a priority that is pursued.

January 30, 2023 (change January 30, 2023 | 12:11)


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent News

Editor's Pick