Chemical Used in Artificial Sweetener Splenda Damages DNA: Study

A key ingredient in Splenda could increase the risk of cancer, and intestinal inflammation, and multiplies during digestion, researchers warn.

An ingredient of the artificial sweetener Splenda may cause DNA damage, which could increase the risk of cancer and other health complications, according to the findings of new research.

In a study published this week in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, researchers warn that sucralose-6-acetate can lead to DNA damage and impair the intestinal wall. Damage to DNA from the Splenda ingredient may cause serious side effects, including the onset of cancer and other diseases, researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina warn.

Researchers from conducted in vitro research on mice focusing on the effects of , an ingredient of sucralose.

Splenda DNA Damage Risks

Sucralose-6-acetate makes up about 1% of Splenda, but it is also formed in the gut when humans digest the artificial sweetener.

In this new study, researchers conducted an in vitro study on mice, finding that sucralose-6-acetate is found in fecal samples with levels up to 10% compared to Splenda consumption, which means sucralose-6-acetate multiplies in the intestines when it is consumed.

Genotoxic testing and micronucleus testing both indicated sucralose damages the genes in the body. The research also concluded it is clastogenic, which means it leads to breaks in the DNA strand.

During the study, researchers exposed human intestinal epithelium to sucralose-6-acetate and Splenda. The intestinal epithelium is the thin tissue that lines the wall of the intestines.

Testing indicated sucralose-6-acetate impairs the integrity of the epithelium and the intestinal wall. Damage to the intestinal wall can allow substances in the gut to move into the bloodstream instead of being processed into waste and expelled.

Researchers warn the findings indicate sucralose-6-acetate damages DNA, increases inflammation in the body and leads to oxidative stress. This can lead to the creation of cancer and other diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Health risks of artificial sweeteners

A study published in the journal PLOS Medicine in 2022 also concluded consuming artificial sweeteners like Splenda, Equal, and Sweet One increases a person’s risk of cancer by 13 to 22%, particularly breast cancer, prostate cancer, and obesity-related cancers.

Intestinal permeability can also heighten inflammation and lead to bloating, cramps, Crohn’s disease, and other gastrointestinal conditions.

The World Health Organization issued a warning this month, calling for consumers to limit their consumption of artificial sweeteners due to the potential health side effects. Additionally, it is not an effective product to help people trying to lose weight. It is considered a health or weight loss product, but research indicates artificial sweeteners can lead to weight gain along with other conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease.

The threshold for toxic concern is 0.15 mg per person per day. This is the safety standard set by the European Food Safety Authority for genotoxic substances.

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Trace amounts in one Splenda-sweetened drink exceed that threshold, not including the amount of Splenda which converts into sucralose-6-acetate in the gut during digestion.

Consuming artificial sweeteners like Splenda and NutraSweet can also raise a person’s risk of suffering from other health effects as well. A study published last year in the BMJ linked artificial sweetener consumption to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Another study published earlier this year concluded other artificial sweeteners like erythritol can increase the risk of stroke, blood clots, heart attack, and even death.

Researchers of the new study warn artificial sweeteners like Splenda, Equal, and Sweet n’ Low carry risks to human health, and safety regulations should be revisited to establish thresholds for safe human consumption in the United States.


  • JonathanJune 5, 2023 at 11:36 am

    Probably from taking the stuff and force feeding it to a rat? Besides, it seems as though there's a warning label on everything nowadays? Heck, breathe the air and it can kill you, literally!

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