NEW YORK (AP) – New research suggests plastic adheresers can promote healthy skin by promoting a “healthy environment” in the gut.
The findings could help to improve the use of plastic bags and other household products in the United States.
The study by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and the University, Washington and Lee shows that the adhesive in the plastic particles has an affinity to the lining of the small intestine, making it ideal for the delivery of nutrients to the small intestines.
It’s an important finding, because plastic bags are widely used as a container for food, but not as a skin protector.
The researchers also found that these adsorbs promote a more stable environment for the intestinal microflora, and that these microfloras were able to respond to the adhesive by reducing their acid production, a key process for gut health.
“The findings are important because they suggest that the plastic adhereers could be beneficial in helping promote the health of the intestinal microbiome, and possibly in helping the gut function properly,” said study co-author and UC Berkeley professor of biomedical engineering, Mark Schulte, in a statement.
Researchers tested the adhesively-treated surfaces of several types of food products and found that a study of the products in humans showed a significant reduction in the number of bacteria present in the intestine after the adhesion was removed.
“A positive effect of adhesive surfaces is important, because it allows the host to reduce their own acid production and to make it easier for them to maintain a healthy intestinal microfiltration environment,” Schultee said.
“If the gut is less acidic, bacteria can live longer and they are able to use nutrients more efficiently.”
The researchers believe the plastic adsorption could be especially beneficial for those with weakened immune systems.
They’re currently working on creating synthetic adhesors that could help with this.
While many people are concerned about the health effects of plastic waste in our environment, these findings could have broader implications.
“It’s really important to understand what’s happening in the human gut and to understand how the microbiome can change, which could help us develop better products and better diets,” Schute said.