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Business News/ News / World/  After Aspartame, another artificial sweetner comes under scanner, may cause DNA damage, leaky gut. All you need to know
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After Aspartame, another artificial sweetner comes under scanner, may cause DNA damage, leaky gut. All you need to know

A recent study conducted by researchers at North Carolina State University has found that the artificial sweetener sucralose can produce a chemical that damages DNA and causes leaky gut. The study suggests that the safety and regulatory status of sucralose should be reconsidered.

After Aspartame, another artificial sweetner comes under scannerPremium
After Aspartame, another artificial sweetner comes under scanner

After World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Aspartame as ‘potentially cancer-causing for human’, now another artificial sweetner is under scanner as it can cause damage to DNA and the gut..

A recent study has discovered that a commonly consumed sweetener, sucralose, can produce a chemical during digestion that is genotoxic, meaning it can damage DNA. The chemical, known as sucralose-6-acetate, is present in small amounts in the sweetener itself. The study has been conducted by a team in North Carolina State University.

“We found that sucralose-6-acetate is genotoxic, and that it effectively broke up DNA in cells that were exposed to the chemical"," Susan Schiffman, corresponding author of the study, says, as quoted by News Medical Life Science.

Previous research by the same team had already identified several fat-soluble compounds produced in the gut after sucralose consumption.

“When we exposed sucralose and sucralose-6-acetate to gut epithelial tissues – the tissue that lines your gut wall – we found that both chemicals cause 'leaky gut.' Basically, they make the wall of the gut more permeable."

"Leaky gut" refers to increased intestinal permeability, potentially allowing substances to enter the bloodstream instead of being properly eliminated.

How much consumption of sucralose is safe?

Schiffman cites that the European Food Safety Authority has a threshold of toxicological concern for all genotoxic substances of 0.15 micrograms per person per day

"However, 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."

It's time to revisit the safety and regulatory status of sucralose, because the evidence is mounting that it carries significant risks. If nothing else, I encourage people to avoid products containing sucralose, Schiffman concludes.

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Sanchari Ghosh
Sanchari Ghosh is a Chief Content Producer with LiveMint. She covers news, human interest, epidemiology and personal finance stories
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Published: 30 Jun 2023, 10:39 AM IST
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