Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Europe’s safety watchdog says laxatives may increase cancer risk


LONDON: European food safety officials issued a warning on Tuesday about potential health problems, including an increased risk of some cancers, linked to long-term use of laxatives such as senna and rhubarb extract.

Laxatives often contain hydroxyanthracenes, a class of substances found in roots, outer leaves, seed and bark of plants such as aloe, rhubarb or senna.

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Evidence from animal studies suggests some of these substances can cause cancer of the intestine, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) said in a statement.

It said it was not able to set a safe daily intake limit, but repeated its earlier advice against long-term use and consumption at high doses.

In 2013, EFSA found that hydroxyanthracene derivatives in food can improve bowel function, but warned against overuse.

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