Nanoparticles In Food and Water Found to Alter Gut Microbiome

By Heather Callaghan

Nanotechnology – that is, metal oxide particles* such as titanium dioxide – are increasingly used in the commercial food supply, consumer goods, body care and in water treatment.

The gut microbiome is today’s most appealing topic of science because it was previously unacknowledged by the medical community just how important gut health is to the human brain, hormones, immunity, mental health and more. Maintaining a healthy gut has everything to do with optimum well being.

Unfortunately, so many substances are ushered into the food supply without testing, inspection, regulation or even the courtesy of a clear label. Consumers have no idea of what they are assimilating or how it will affect their health in the long term.

Yet, a paper hot off the presses in Environmental Engineering Science shows one reason why this practice should be promptly checked.

You may wish to copy and paste “Metal Oxide Nanoparticles Induce Minimal Phenotypic Changes in a Model Colon Gut Microbiota” into a Word document while it is available to read for free until June 1st.

Researchers found that nanoparticles led to multiple, measurable differences in the normal microbial community that inhabits the human gut, and they write:

Understanding the interactions between NPs and bacteria in an engineered model colon can indicate potential impacts of NP exposure on the gut, and therefore overall human health. Human microbiome health has important implications to overall individual health.


Overall, the NPs caused nonlethal, significant changes to the microbial community’s phenotype, which may be related to overall health effects.

The article authors individually introduced three different nanoparticles — zinc oxide, cerium dioxide, and titanium dioxide — commonly used in products such as toothpastes, cosmetics, sunscreens, coatings, and paints, into a model of the human colon. The model colon mimics the normal gut environment and contains the microorganisms typically present in the human microbiome. Although they stopped short of blaming nanoparticles for serious damage (but they hinted), they demonstrate that exposure to nanoparticles created a visible, significant difference in how the microbiome functions.

They described changes in both specific characteristics of the microbial community and of the gut microenvironment after exposure to the nanoparticles. For instance, they point out past and current research of membrane damage in eukaryotic cells, negative effects in Escherichia coli, crossing the epithelial lining, strain specific antimicrobial effects and more. Their paper is also a great compilation of previous nanotech research.

It goes to show how such studies should have been explored before these substances were allowed anywhere near people’s intestinal tracts and skin.

Previous research has also demonstrated the cancer-causing effects of nanoparticles in the intestinal tract. Definitely try to avoid packaged junk food, candy and body care products that contain whitening agents (like gum, Mentos and commercial sunscreen). However, there are other types of nanoparticles in consumer goods that go largely unnoticed, so reducing your reliance on commercial products could be one way to better the gut microbiota.

Other research papers are trying to influence the public into submitting to nanotech already placed in their food by using absurd shaming labels like “technology rejecters” for those who would rather pay more to avoid eating nanoparticles. They wish to see what it would take to get acquiescence even though no one ever asked for these materials to be flushed into the food and water supply.

Follow your gut instinct while you still can!

*Particles the size of nanometers – approximately 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. – See more at:

Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at and Like at Facebook.

Recent posts by Heather Callaghan:

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8 Comments on "Nanoparticles In Food and Water Found to Alter Gut Microbiome"

  1. FalconMoose | May 5, 2015 at 8:58 am | Reply

    Well, it’s off to the health food for some probiotics. Ran out last week. This has me going.
    Good article.

  2. timwebb1000 . | May 5, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Reply

    I’ve been using baking powder plus a few drops of mint oil as toothpaste for a few years now, much to my dentist’s disgust. Everything seems fine thus far, especially as this strategy removes one of the sources of these items, according to Heather.
    “He who laughs last, laughs longest.”

    • clarioncaller | May 5, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Reply

      My dentist keeps giving me sample bags which I respectfully return to him. I keep telling him that fluoride and triclosan are neurotoxins which no one should put in their mouth. He’s just passing along free garbage.

  3. Dr. RN Boyd, Ph.D | May 6, 2015 at 9:54 pm | Reply

    Titanium dioxide is a universal antibiotic. It kills all one-celled orgainsms on contact. It has ZERO toxicity and has been approved by OSHA, the FDA, and the EPA. TiO2 cures all pathological diseases. From the OSHA data sheet on toxicity of materials, “TiO2 maintains a permanently sterile surface.,” That means it kills all one-celled organisms on contact: mold mildew yeast fungus bacteria virus phage macrophage and so on, with no side effects and no toxicity! Is the writer of this article, Ms. Callaghan, being paid to discount the cheapest, most reliable, and least toxic of any antibiotic, TIO2? Her expressions are either based in ignorance, biases, and prejudices, or she is a paid disinfomation/misinformation agent. Either way, ignore what she says with regard to TiO2. It is a universal zero toxicity antibiotic with no side effect. I’ve studied it for 17 years. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, perhaps Ms Callaghan found a disreputable source of information and believed it without doing any research herself, on the topic. Her main objection seems to be the size. The function of the digestive system is to break down macroscopic food into nanoparticles so that the body can gain the nutirent values of the ingested food, by onverting it to a nanoscopic size so that the substance can be absorbed by the intestines. So by that logic, all food should be avoided because it will become nanoscopic in the gut. Nonsense!!! I have a PhD. She does not.

    • Anonyplatypus | May 7, 2015 at 11:24 am | Reply

      Colloidal / ionic copper is cheaper, as effective, with no risk.

      • Dr. RN Boyd, Ph.D | May 8, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Reply

        Colloidal silver is good too. However copper has toxicity associated with it, while TiO2 does not. You can make a colloidal suspension of TiO2 by stirring a teaspoon of TiO2 food grade powder into a glass of water. It is cheaper than either colloidal silver or colloidal copper and has zero toxicity.
        TiO2 works wonders in the body. The body likes TiO2 and accumulates it to a certain level, then excretes the excess into the urine. (Healthy kidney function is important in these kinds of approaches.)

      • Dr. RN Boyd, Ph.D | May 8, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Reply

        TiO2 food grade powder is literally cheaper than dirt, if you buy it bulk (by the dump-truck load).

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