Artificial sweetener found to be immunosuppressant in mice- study

Sucralose, a sweetener about 600 times sweeter than sugar, can be detected in humans following its consumption in food or drinks.

Mice [Illustrative] (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Mice [Illustrative]
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Sucralose, a popular artificial sweetener has become a household staple, allowing people to sweeten their food and drinks without additional calories or sugar

In response to concerns raised about the long-term effects of regular sweetener consumption, researchers at London's Francis Crick Institute, a biomedical research center, looked into the effects that sucralose can have on the immune system. 

In a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, scientists explained that sucralose is about 600 times sweeter than sugar and can be detected in humans following its consumption in food or drinks.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), according to the study, established the maximum acceptable daily amount of sucralose ingested to be 15mg per kilogram of body weight. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set it at 5mg per kilogram. With these parameters in mind, researchers conducted their experiments on mice using allometric dose conversion, which is based on body surface area. 

 Sugar (credit: INGIMAGE) Sugar (credit: INGIMAGE)

Previous Sucralose research

According to the report, previous research into sucralose has revealed that a high dose can have either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effects on the body. 

To test the effects of sucralose on the immune system, researchers at the Crick Institute examined various immune responses in mice when given various doses of sucralose and compared them to a chemically unrelated sweetener- sodium saccharin. They introduced red blood cells from sheep into the mice's systems in order to elicit an immune response. 

Scientists found that all groups which received sucralose doses had notably lower T-cell proliferation rates. T-cells are an important type of white blood cell and play a central role in adaptive immune response. This T-cell reduction was not seen in mice given non-sucralose sweeteners. 

Although the test was done on mice, the study authors implied that this could have serious implications for human health.