Our old friend Triclosan is making the news again with the findings of new research. As we have reported numerous times over the years, Triclosan*, pesticide and popular endocrine disrupting chemical additive in toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrushes, antimicrobial cleaners and plenty of other personal care and home care products has been linked in previous scientific studies to serious health conditions including increased risk for broken bones in women, weight gain/obesity, early puberty in girls, lowered antibiotic resistance, lower IQ of offspring when pregnant women are exposed, tumor formation, and urinary tract infections (UTI), among other adverse health consequences. Now, new research has uncovered a link with Triclosan and fatty liver disease. More specifically, scientists testing mice** exposed to Triclosan found that the chemical accelerated the development of fatty liver and fibrosis. Mice exposed to Triclosan also had less diversity in their gut microbiomes (less gut microbiome diversity as science has now shown, is generally associated with poorer health). That means Triclosan-exposed subjects had fewer types of bacteria living in the intestines, and their microbiome makeup was similar to that seen in human patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)***.
Conclusion: According to the findings of the recent scientific study, antimicrobial additive Triclosan disrupts metabolism and the gut microbiome, while also stripping away liver cells’ natural protections.
*The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled in 2016 that over-the-counter hand soaps can no longer contain triclosan, given that it has not been proven to be safe or more effective than washing with plain soap and water. However, the antimicrobial Triclosan is still found in personal care products, cosmetics, some household products, as well as medical-grade products used in hospitals and clinics (not to mention aquatic ecosystems, including sources of drinking water).
**Some of the mice were fed triclosan, resulting in blood concentrations comparable to those found in human studies. Mice have the same molecular systems that operate in humans.
***An estimated 100 million adults and children in the U.S. may have NAFLD.
Journal Reference: Mei-Fei Yueh, Feng He, Chen Chen, Catherine Vu, Anupriya Tripathi, Rob Knight, Michael Karin, Shujuan Chen, Robert H. Tukey. Triclosan leads to dysregulation of the metabolic regulator FGF21 exacerbating high fat diet-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2020; 202017129 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2017129117