Researchers uncover how sugar substitutes disrupt liver detoxification

Non-alcoholic fatty acids (NNS) consumed in food enter the liver from the bloodstream. Researchers have found that in liver cells, the carrier P-glycoprotein (PGP) releases NNS that is more sensitive to certain well-known compounds. In the physiological context, this may leave other PGP receptors such as other drugs trapped in the cells, potentially causing liver toxicity. Credit: Laura Danner, Wisconsin Medical College. Created by BioRender

Results from a new study show that two sugar replacements disrupt the protein function that plays an important role in liver function and the balance of certain nutrients. These sugar substitutes, also known as dietary sweeteners, provide a pleasant taste with little or no calories.

“With about 40% of Americans regularly eating low-fat desserts, it’s important to understand how they affect the body,” said Laura Danner, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin School of Public Health. “In fact, many people do not realize that these sweeteners are found in light or zero-sugar forms of yogurts and snacks even in non-food products such as liquids and other cosmetics. “

Danner will present a new study at the American Institute of Biological Sciences annual conference during the Biology Test (EB) 2022, which will be held April 2-5 in Philadelphia.

In their new work, the researchers studied the nutrients acesulfame potassium and sucralose using liver cells and free radicals, which allow for the study of cellular mechanisms such as transport.

They found that acesulfame potassium and sucralose inhibited the activity of P-glycoprotein (PGP), also known as multidrug resistance 1 (MDR1). PGP is part of a group of carriers that work together to cleanse the body of toxins, chemicals and germs.

“We have noticed that sweeteners influence PGP activities internally liver cells in a number of expectations by consuming regular food and beverages, far beyond the FDA recommended limit, “said Stephanie Olivier Van Stichelen, Ph.D., who leads the research team.” To our knowledge, we are the first group to be able to understand the events. Non-sweeteners are effective for detoxification in the liver. “

Experiments have also shown that sweeteners improve transport performance and may include PGP, thus competing with and inhibiting the transport of other intoxicants such as xenobiotics, drugs and their metabolites, lipids of short chain and bile acid.

Although researchers warn that this is a preliminary study and needs to be confirmed in both pre- and post-clinical studies, the study suggests that malnutrition can be a problem for people taking the drug. using PGP as the primary carrier. These include other stress medications, antibiotics and anti-hypertensive drugs.

“If future research confirms that nutrients are detrimental to the body’s detoxification system, it will be important to study the potential interactions and determine the safety measures of benefit for vulnerable groups,” Danner said. “It may also be important to include a specific number of nutritious snacks included on food labels so that people can keep track of their diets.”

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that non-alcoholic beverages be less than the recommended daily intake – the amount included in nearly 35 dietary sodas for acesulfame potassium or eight food sodas for sucralose every day – only the food industry is required to list them in it. ingredients. They do not have to indicate the amount of nutrient sweeteners used in the product.

Afterwards, the researchers planned to use more complex pharmaceutical formulations to determine the maximum amount of acesulfame potassium and sucralose may interfere with detoxification and drug metabolism. They are also studying the combination of these desserts, which would be the most representative of their availability in food.

Researchers have suggested that because PGP is expressed in mutations in the body and plays an important role in maintaining a system such as the blood-brain barrier, it would also be important to investigate how PGP inhibition can interfere with normal functioning. stem cells in other organs. .

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