Sweeteners ‘can turn healthy gut bacteria into harmful microbes’

Authors say the changes caused to healthy gut bacteria by sweeteners could lead to ‘infection, sepsis and multiple-organ failure’

<p>A new study from Anglia Ruskin University found that sugar substitutes could cause helpful gut bacteria to become pathogenic</p>

A new study from Anglia Ruskin University found that sugar substitutes could cause helpful gut bacteria to become pathogenic

Common artificial sweeteners have the ability to transform healthy gut bacteria into dangerous microbes that could cause serious health issues, including sepsis and multiple-organ failure, scientists have found.

Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University found that sugar substitutes saccharin, sucralose and aspartame — found in gum, diet soda, ice cream, baked goods, and even some vitamins and medicines — can cause helpful gut bacteria like E.coli and E.faecalis to become hazardous.

Dr Havovi Chichger, study author and senior lecturer in biomedical science at Anglia Ruskin University, said: “Our study is the first to show that some of the sweeteners most commonly found in food and drink — saccharin, sucralose and aspartame — can make normal and ‘healthy’ gut bacteria become pathogenic.

Consuming artificial sweeteners, in the amount of two cans of diet soda a day, could significantly increase the ability of these bacteria to invade and kill epithelial cells in the intestine, the study found.

“These pathogenic changes include greater formation of biofilms and increased adhesion and invasion of bacteria into human gut cells,” Dr Chichger said.

“These changes could lead to our own gut bacteria invading and causing damage to our intestine, which can be liked to infection, sepsis and multiple-organ failure,” she added.

Past studies have shown that this kind of biofilm formation is closely linked with antibiotic resistant bacteria, an increased risk of disease, and can cause infections associated with medical devices.

The researchers also found that the E.coli and E.faecalis bacteria could also accumulate in the liver, lymph nodes, and spleen, leading to a number of infections.

As artificial sweeteners have grown in popularity and make up a greater share of the human died than ever before, authors say “understanding how this food additive affects gut microbiota and how these damaging effects can be ameliorated is vital”.

The study was published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in