(HealthDay News) — Intake of food additive emulsifiers is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study published online in The BMJ.

Laury Sellem, PhD, from Université Sorbonne Paris Nord, and colleagues examined the associations between exposure to food additive emulsifiers (ie, total modified starches, lecithins, xanthan gum, pectins, monoglycerides and diglycerides of fatty acids, carrageenan, and guar gum) and the risk for CVD in a prospective cohort study involving 95,442 adults without prevalent CVD. Participants included a cohort from the French NutriNet-Santé study launched in 2009.

The researchers found that 1995 incident CVD, 1044 coronary heart disease, and 974 cerebrovascular disease events were diagnosed during a median follow-up of 7.4 years. Higher intake of celluloses (E460 and E468) was positively associated with elevated risks for CVD (hazard ratio, 1.05 per one standard deviation) and coronary heart disease (hazard ratio, 1.07). Higher risks for CVD and coronary heart disease were seen in association with higher cellulose E460 intake (hazard ratios, 1.05 and 1.07, respectively) and with higher intake of carboxymethylcellulose (E466; (azard ratios, 1.03 and 1.04, respectively). Higher risks for all outcomes were seen in association with higher intakes of monoglycerides and diglycerides of fatty acids (E471 and E472). An increased risk for coronary heart disease was seen in association with high intake of trisodium phosphate (E339; hazard ratio, 1.06).

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“Results from this large prospective cohort suggest that additive emulsifiers may be associated with an increased risk of CVD,” the authors write. “Despite the moderate magnitude of the associations, these findings may have important public health implications given that these food additives are used ubiquitously in thousands of widely consumed ultra-processed food products.”

Abstract/Full Text