Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC), may be initiated by saccharin and sucralose, found in Splenda. Splenda reduces good bacteria in the gut, and alters drug metabolism.
Dr. Xiofa Qin, of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School, has just published a paper that shows that some artificial sweeteners can be one of the causes of IBD. He explains that CD and UC are really symptoms of one disease, and are caused by saccharin’s and sucralose’s toxic effects on the gut barrier. Both saccharin and sucralose decrease intestinal bacteria, and weaken and destroy the gut barrier.
His article, published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, outlines how IBD cases are closely correlated to the use of saccharin. As saccharin use declined during the late 1970’s as a result of animal cancer cases associated with it, the incidence of IBD also declined. But Canada had stricter regulations on saccharin after this, and yet Canada has the highest incidence of IBD. Dr. Qin explains that this is likely due to sucralose.
Canada was the first country to allow use of sucralose (approved for human use in 1991), and the incidence of paediatric IBD in Southern Alberta started to increase form 1988 to 1992, and had a huge increase from 1993 to 1998 and increased again from 1999 to 2005. IBD then began to increase in other countries that approved sucralose.
Splenda has been shown to cause reductions in beneficial bacteria in a recent 12-wk study in rats. The study, published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, showed that after 12 weeks of Splenda ingestion, rats had lower levels of the good bacteria in their gut, including bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. These two bacteria are used to treat UC, and hence their reduction would be harmful to IBD patients. Splenda also caused increased levels of intestinal P-glycoprotein, which could increase resistance to antibiotics, thus possibly enhancing bacterial infiltration that can occur in IBD. It also increased cytochrome P450 enzymes CYP3A4, and CYP2D1, which are involved in drug metabolism, and could thus cause serious issues with drug bioavailability. The Acceptable Daily Intake for sucralose is 5 mg/kg, and these toxic effects occurred at doses of sucralose from 1.1–11 mg/kg, and some persisted even after another 12 weeks had lapsed without sucralose use.
Thus, these findings show that saccharin and sucralose reduce beneficial bacteria, damage the intestine, and cause bacterial, antigen, and particle infiltration. These effects are then compounded by an immune reaction, which further damages the gut, causing and worsening IBD.
I asked Dr. Qin if he will conduct research or clinical trials with saccharin or sucralose and compare them to placebo, and he stated that he must receive funding for this. He also stated that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has thus far declined to fund his proposed research on the toxic effects of these artificial sweeteners.