In new research presented in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Bisphenol-A (BPA) has been shown for the first time to affect the functioning of the intestines – the first organ that comes in contact with the chemical after ingestion.
Researchers from the National Institute of Agronomic Research in Toulouse, France found that even low doses of the chemical agent can cause a lowering of the permeability of the intestines in lab rats. The researchers orally administered doses of BPA that was equivalent to about 10 times less the daily amount that is currently considered safe for humans.
The research was also conducted on newborn rats, and scientists found that they were exposed to BPA in the uterus and during feeding early in life, which leads to a higher risk of developing severe intestinal inflammation in adulthood.
Poor intestinal permeability is also known as leaky gut syndrome. Normally, the mucoal lining of the intestines is a barrier that only allows appropriately digested substances to pass through and enter the blood stream. When the lining becomes damaged and inflamed, inappropriate and sometimes harmful substances are allowed to enter, such as disease-causing bacteria and toxins. When the gut lining is inflamed, its protective coating of immunoglobulin A (IgA) can be negatively affected, leading to immune system dysfunction.
Causes of intestinal permeability include chronic stress, intestinal infections, environmental contaminants (such as BPA), small intestine bacterial overgrowth, and some medications.
Symptoms of leaky gut syndrome include abdominal pain, chronic muscle pain, indigestion, poor immunity, skin rashes, and digestive concerns such as gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea. Poor nutrient absorption can occur, leading to nutrient deficiencies, particularly of minerals such as magnesium, copper, and zinc.
This week, several legislators announced proposed bills to ban BPA from children’s products, such as baby bottles and can liners.