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Silica in food, dietary supplements damages the liver

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By David Liu, PHD

Thursday Feb 14, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study published in  Advanced Materials Research suggests that food consumers may be better off avoiding dietary supplements and processed foods that contain silica and other nanoparticles as the study found that silica which is also known as silicone dioxide can damage the liver.
In the study led by Qingqing Chen and colleagues, rat hepatic cells were exposed to silica nanoparticles (SiO2) at different concentrations and the cytotoxicity of the nanoparticles were assessed by measuring the cell viability, cell apoptosis, reactive oxygen species, glutathione, superoxide dismutase, and lipid peroxidation.

It was found that treated with silica nanoparticles for 24 hours, many rat hepatic cells lost their viability.  Additionally, silica nanoparticles induced cell apoptosis and oxidative stress, which either killed normal cells or damaged cells.
The researchers concluded "exposure to SiO2 NPs resulted in a dose-dependent cytotoxicity in BRL (rat hepatic cells) cells that was associated with increased oxidative stress."

Nanoparticles like silicone dioxide, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which are commonly used in processed foods and dietary supplements are known carcinogens when they are inhaled. But the current study suggests that ingested nanoparticles can also cause damages to normal cells.

Previous studies have shown that the common nanoparticles used in processed foods, dietary supplements and cosmetics can disrupt DNA causing mutations which can eventually lead to the development of cancer among other things.

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