UCI News

Small intestine senses, reacts to food toxins

Toxins in food often have a bad, bitter taste that makes people want to spit them out. New UC Irvine…

October 9, 2008

Toxins in food often have a bad, bitter taste that makes people want to spit them out. New UC Irvine research in mice finds that bitterness also slows the digestive process, keeping bad food in the stomach longer and increasing the chances that it will be expelled. This discovery has the potential to help scientists develop better therapies for ailments ranging from cancer to diabetes, and it may explain why certain isolated populations around the world have adapted to eat and enjoy local foods that taste bad to outsiders and make them sick. The study, by Timothy Osborne (pictured), was published online Thursday, Oct. 9, in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.