Researchers involved in a recent study have discovered that a chemical produced during the digestion of a commonly used artificial sweetener is able to damage DNA. The chemical in question is known as sucralose-6-acetate, as News Medical informs. The chemical is not only formed during digestion but also present in the sweetener itself in small amounts.
The research team discovered that even before consumption and metabolism, trace amounts of sucralose-6-acetate can be detected in sucralose products that exist in commercial areas. It turned out that human blood cells exposed to sucralose-6-acetate showed signs of DNA damage, indicating the genotoxic properties.
“Leaky gut” could occur
Furthermore, the study revealed that both sucralose and sucralose-6-acetate are able to cause “leaky gut” when exposed to the tissue lining the gut wall. This means that the chemicals weaken the connections between cells in the gut, allowing substances to leak into the bloodstream instead of being eliminated through the person’s feces.
Susan Schiffman, who is a corresponding author of the new research, explained as News-Medical quotes:
To put this in context, the European Food Safety Authority has a threshold of toxicological concern for all genotoxic substances of 0.15 micrograms per person per day,
Our work suggests that the trace amounts of sucralose-6-acetate in a single, daily sucralose-sweetened drink exceed that threshold. And that’s not even accounting for the amount of sucralose-6-acetate produced as metabolites after people consume sucralose.
The implications of the new findings are significant, as the levels of sucralose-6-acetate present in a single daily drink sweetened with sucralose may exceed established safety thresholds. Additionally, previous studies have already suggested that sucralose can have adverse effects on gut health.
Overall, the new study sheds light on the potential risks associated with the consumption of sucralose and highlights the need for further investigation into the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners on human health.