Artificial sweeteners such as Splenda may intensify symptoms of Crohn's disease in those who have the condition, findings of a new research have revealed.
Splenda was first introduced in 1992 and is now one of the most popular sugar substitutes in the market. The high-intensity sweetener is 600 times sweeter than sugar but provides very few calories.
Findings of experiments on mice now reveal the potential side effects of Splenda in people with Crohn's disease.
Effects Of Sucralose On Mice With Crohn's-like Disease
In the six-week study, Alex Rodriguez-Palacios, from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, and colleagues found that sucralose, which goes by the brand name Splenda, worsened the gut inflammation in animals with Crohn's-like disease albeit it did not have an effect on the healthy mice.
The mice with a form of Crohn's disease who drank water with Splenda had greater numbers of Proteobacteria or microbes that include pathogens such as E.coli and salmonella, in their intestines.
Researchers also found that ingestion of the artificial sweetener led to increased activity of the enzyme myeloperoxidase in mice with the Crohn's-like disease but not in mice without the condition. Myeloperoxidase attacks disease-causing microorganisms.
"Our results indicate that although Splenda may promote parallel microbiome alterations in CD-prone and healthy hosts, this did not result in elevated MPO levels in healthy mice, only CD-prone mice," the researchers wrote in their study, which was published in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
"The consumption of sucralose/maltodextrin-containing foods might exacerbate MPO intestinal reactivity only in individuals with a pro-inflammatory predisposition, such as CD."
Crohn's Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease of the digestive tract characterized by severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloody stools, fatigue and weight loss. The disease is painful and debilitating and sometimes leads to life-threatening complications.
Figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that about 1.3 percent adults in the United States reported having inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease.
No cure is currently available for Crohn's disease but therapies may reduce symptoms and bring about long-term remission.
Researchers of the study said that the results of the study suggest that those with the condition should think twice about consuming Splenda and other products that contain sucralose and the digestible sweetener maltodextrin.
"The sweetener induces changes in gut bacteria and gut wall immune cell reactivity, which could result in inflammation or disease flare ups in susceptible people," Rodriguez-Palacios said.