Obesity and a high-cholesterol, high-fat diet are both well-established risk factors for atherosclerosis. In fact, obese individuals are two and a half times more likely to develop heart disease. However, the mechanistic link between obesity and atherosclerosis eludes scientists. The researchers behind this new study believe the link may be in how specific derivatives of natural emulsifiers in a Western diet alter the way that cells that line the intestines interact with gut-resident bacteria. “We study natural emulsifiers in the diet called phospholipids. For example, if you look at salad dressing and shake it up, it is the phospholipids, or emulsifiers, that keeps the oil in globules. Those emulsifiers can get modified by specific enzymes in the intestinal cells into very potent pro-inflammatory molecules in the body.”
Using a mouse model, researchers found that on a high-fat high-cholesterol diet, the cells that line the small intestine churn out reactive phospholipids that makes the intestinal lining more susceptible to invasion by the bacteria that live in the gut. “The normal defenses for intestinal lining cells to keep bacteria in the lumen of the intestine are reduced when they take up large amounts of cholesterol and fat. This also results in bacteria being able to come in direct contact with the cells lining your intestines called enterocytes. Without those defenses, this results in more bacterial products, like bacterial cell membranes that contain a toxin called endotoxin, getting into the bloodstream to cause inflammation.”
“People who are obese and people eating high-fat, high-cholesterol diets have higher levels of endotoxin in their blood. It’s not at the level of causing sepsis, but it causes a low level of inflammation. When the cholesterol and fat come into the mix, the endotoxin kind of turns up the thermostat on inflammation and that accelerates atherosclerosis and leads to increased heart attacks and strokes.”
Thanks for this. I eat 3 egg yolks every morning, and only now I see that they are emulsifiers. I quit heavy cream because they have to add emulsifiers. Half and half works without.
Actually right now I’m using raw milk from the goats, but that’s another story.
Yes, I think this is a big deal.
I’m struggling to make sense of this as there are contradictions in what is being stated.
Obesity is not a direct risk factor for heart disease. Eating eggs is not a risk factor. Sepsis requires infection. Too many contractions to take this seriously.
I don’t know, maybe I’m worried about something that is not real, but in Lustgarten’s book about (the microbial burden and what you can do about it) microbes he cites papers where they give healthy 26 year old humans LPS (endotoxin) and they get T2D. The microbial burden can come through your gut wall if it is not managed carefully. Emulsifiers get the mucous layer out of the way and let bacteria through.
What Alex is quoting up there makes sense and follows what I read.
Thanks @AlexKChen , what is the source / underlying paper?
I think it is this study:
It seems an interesting and potentially relevant argument, but we need to see the underlying paper to consider whether it is a valid thesis or not.
There is an interesting question as to why T2D is becoming more common.
I wonder about gellan gum. It’s in my alt milk. It’s a stabilizer, not an emulsifier.