Artificial Sweeteners Use May Turn 'Healthy' Gut Bacteria To
Researchers have found in a new study that use of Artificial sweeteners has potential danger of turning healthy bacteria in the gut microbiome into harmful microbes leading to serious health issues such as blood poisoning and could cause them to invade the intestine. This is the first study to show the pathogenic effects of some of the most widely used artificial sweeteners - saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame - on two types of gut bacteria, E. coli (Escherichia coli) and E. faecalis (Enterococcus faecalis).

This new study discovered that at a concentration equivalent to two cans of diet soft drink, all three artificial sweeteners significantly increased the adhesion of both E. coli and E. faecalis to intestinal Caco-2 cells, and differentially increased the formation of biofilms. Bacteria growing in biofilms are less sensitive to antimicrobial resistance treatment and are more likely to secrete toxins and express virulence factors, which are molecules that can cause disease.

Additionally, all three sweeteners caused the pathogenic gut bacteria to invade Caco-2 cells found in the wall of the intestine, with the exception of saccharin which had no significant effect on E. coli invasion. The senior author of the paper said: "There is a lot of concern about the consumption of artificial sweeteners, with some studies showing that sweeteners can affect the layer of bacteria which support the gut, known as the gut microbiota.

"Our study is the first to show that some of the sweeteners most commonly found in food and drink - saccharin, sucralose and aspartame - can make normal and 'healthy' gut bacteria become pathogenic. These pathogenic changes include greater formation of biofilms and increased adhesion and invasion of bacteria into human gut cells.

"These changes could lead to our own gut bacteria invading and causing damage to our intestine, which can be linked to infection, sepsis and multiple-organ failure. "We know that overconsumption of sugar is a major factor in the development of conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Therefore, it is important that we increase our knowledge of sweeteners versus sugars in the diet to better understand the impact on our health."

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