Present in certain cheeses, this preservative is no friend to your microbiota

Present in certain cheeses, this preservative is no friend to your microbiota

Did you know ? Nisin, a food additive known as “E234” and present in certain cheeses, is said to be bad for your microbiota. Explanations.

Camembert, cheddar, parmesan, Comté, Gruyère… The French love cheese. But be careful, a preservative commonly used for preserving cheeses would be problematic for our intestinal health.

E 234, a poison for our intestines?

“Nisin” is a type of lantibiotic, “a family of proteins synthesized naturally by certain bacteria to prevent the growth of other bacteria“, specifies the magazine Que Choisir. But it is also a food additive (E 234) frequently found in unripened cheeses and cooked meats.

Nisin-type lantibiotics are naturally produced by the intestines and have been authorized in the European Union for many years. But researchers from the University of Chicago recently questioned the impact of this additive on the health of consumers and more particularly the consequences of their increased presence in foods on the intestinal flora.

And the conclusions of this research, published in the journal ACS Chemical Biology, are not trivial. Of six nisin-like lantibiotics tested against good and bad gut bacteria, one of the most common classes of lantibiotics showed strong effects.both against pathogens and against the commensal gut bacteria that keep us healthy,” further reveals the press release.

This study is one of the first to show that commensal bacteria are sensitive to lantibiotics and are sometimes more sensitive than pathogens. Given the levels of lantibiotics currently found in foods, it is very likely that they can also impact our gut health“, said postdoctoral researcher Professor Zhenrun (Jerry) Zhang in a press release.

More or less beneficial effects

Researchers also studied the structure of peptides present in lantibiotics to better understand their activity, and thus better control their impact on health, beneficial or not.

For example, in another study, the Pamer lab showed that a consortium of four microbes, including one that produces lantibiotics, helps protect mice against antibiotic-resistant enterococcal infections. They also studied the prevalence of antibiotic resistance genes in different populations to better understand how these bacteria can colonize the gut under different conditions and with different diets.

“It appears that lantibiotics and lantibiotic-producing bacteria are not always good for health, so we are looking for ways to counter the potential bad influence while still taking advantage of their more beneficial antimicrobial properties”they added.

NO to diets, YES to WW!

Which cheeses to be wary of?

According to the magazine UFC Que Choisir, industrial nisin is frequently found in the following products:

  • The mascarpones,
  • Industrial cheese (sliced ​​cheese, processed cheese, etc.),
  • But also semolina and tapioca cakes.

So be careful not to overdo it and, in general, to avoid industrial products from your diet.

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