Home Body Building Supplements Sucralose and DNA Damage: The Truth – Supplements and Nutrition – COMMUNITY

Sucralose and DNA Damage: The Truth – Supplements and Nutrition – COMMUNITY

Sucralose and DNA Damage: The Truth – Supplements and Nutrition – COMMUNITY

Serious data or more headlines?

A new study reports that sucralose can cause DNA damage, but it looks like they’re playing a fun numbers game.

Nearly twenty years ago, I wrote an article This dispels some ridiculous myths about the artificial sweetener sucralose (Splenda).

Looks like it’s time for a second round, as I’ve been inundated with news reports based on a recently published study(1) by a longtime sucralose reviewer that claims ” A common sweetener may damage DNA.”

Sure, headlines will scare you off by suggesting that sweeteners cause DNA damage and subsequently cancer, but that’s not actually what the research found.

Genotoxicity, mutagenicity and cancer

The authors of the study claim that while sucralose itself has been previously studied (it has been approved by nearly every major health regulatory agency in the world) (2,3), its metabolites (sucralose 6-β acid esters or S6A) may form after ingestion or may be present in small amounts in the product itself and appear to have genotoxic effects.

A “genotoxic effect” is another term for possible damage to DNA. However, just because something is genotoxic (damages DNA) doesn’t mean it’s also mutagenic (damages DNA and causes irreversible mutations that can lead to cancer cells).

For example, mushy people like me tend to worry about UV radiation from the sun, since sunlight is known to be genotoxic and mutagenic. See the difference? Mutagens are genotoxic, but genotoxic agents are not necessarily mutagenic.

Is sucralose 6-acetate (S6A) mutagenic?

According to the data in the supposedly damning study, sucralose itself (which was established before these authors published this study) and S6A were not mutagenic. The author also clearly states this. Nonetheless, being genotoxic without being mutagenic is not necessarily a good thing, as mutagenic effects may occur in some cases.

But don’t worry. This is where their research started to fall apart.

Is S6A really genotoxic?only at ridiculous in vitro concentrations

The authors do show evidence that S6A is genotoxic in vitro. However, these data are based on results from cultured cells, not actual living organisms. Perhaps, more importantly, the ridiculously high concentrations needed to achieve the potential genotoxic effects. The authors note that they had to use concentrations of at least 353 μg/mL or higher to begin to generate evidence of genotoxic effects.

Now compare this to the peak plasma concentration of 108 nanograms per milliliter (micrograms are 1,000 times nanograms) following a 68 mg dose of sucralose in adults (4). The difference is more than 3000 times! Now consider that S6A is only present at a fraction (< 1%) of the levels of sucralose, and the difference would be even greater!

As far as fitness goes, that’s as ridiculous as going around telling people you bench press “200” and you mean grams instead of pounds!

Unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve seen researchers using outrageous and completely irrelevant concentrations in vitro arguing for potential harm (5). Unfortunately, headlines sometimes take precedence over unnecessary hysteria.

Haven’t I seen this before?

This isn’t the first time the team has shown that a molecule is genotoxic, but only at ridiculously high concentrations. The same thing happens with caffeine (6,7); did you know that the world’s most widely consumed psychostimulant compound has been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years?

Thankfully, people are finally realizing that coffee is not a carcinogen, but I’m sure the media would have produced similar suggestive and cautionary headlines had the internet been around when the original research was done.

Big Maruko

I’d say someone has some big balls to cite the same establishment, effectively disproving their own arguments. For example, the authors of the sucralose study attempted to further misrepresent their findings by citing the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Union’s equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration.

Specifically, the authors noted that a single serving of a sucralose-flavored drink would exceed the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) recommended threshold of concern for genotoxic substances of 0.15 micrograms per person per day, several times over. The problem, as we’ve discussed, is that S6A is not genotoxic except in concentrations that would be unattainable for humans to drink hundreds or even thousands of liters of flavored beverages and die first of all from water intoxication.

I found it also interesting that the author cites EFSA when it is the same EFSA that approved sucralose as safe artificial sweetener The intake was three times the US FDA Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI).

Furthermore, this is an EFSA that completely refutes another sucralose study that these authors repeatedly cite as additional evidence of potential harm (8). It takes audacity to cite an institution that contradicts their baseless claims.


You may continue to see ripples from this study as its preposterous findings spread among the masses. Unfortunately, in vitro studies can easily utilize high concentrations to achieve a given result.

That’s not unique to this study. In general, be skeptical of in vitro studies and always evaluate the concentrations used. In short, there is insufficient evidence that sucralose or S6A are genotoxic at any concentrations that might be relevant to human exposure.

You’ve got enough worries, but cancer-causing sucralose isn’t one of them.

refer to

refer to

  1. Schiffman SS, Scholl EH, Furey TS, Nagle HT. Toxicological and pharmacokinetic properties of sucralose 6-acetate and its parent sucralose: an in vitro screening assay. J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2023 May 29:1-35. Home Office: 10.1080/10937404.2023.2213903. Epub preceded printing. PMID: 37246822.

  2. Roberts A, Robbach AR. Response to S. Schiffman and H. Nagle’s letter to the editor: Revisiting the data and information jointly determining the safety of low-caloric/non-caloric sweeteners, including sucralose. Food Chemical Toxicology. 2019 Oct;132:110691. Department of the Interior: 10.1016/j.fct.2019.110691. Epub July 19, 2019. PMID: 31330167.

  3. Berry C, Brusick D, Cohen SM, Hardisty JF, Grotz VL, Williams GM. Non-carcinogenicity of sucralose: a review of the scientific and regulatory basis. Nutritional cancer. 2016 Nov-Dec;68(8):1247-1261. Ministry of the Interior: 10.1080/01635581.2016.1224366. Epub 21 September 2016. PMID: 27652616; PMCID: PMC5152540.

  4. Sylvetsky AC, Bauman V, Blau JE, Garraffo HM, Walter PJ, Rother KI. Plasma concentrations of sucralose in children and adults. Toxic Environmental Chemistry. 2017;99(3):535-542. Home Office: 10.1080/02772248.2016.1234754. Epub October 17, 2016. PMID: 28775393; PMCID: PMC5536901.

  5. Breaking News: Testosterone and Antidepressants – #6 by Cy_Willson).

  6. Brambilla G, Mattioli F, Robbiano L, Martelli A. Genotoxicity and carcinogenicity studies of bronchodilators and antiasthmatic drugs. Basic Clinical Pharmacology Toxicology. 2013 May;112(5):302-13. Department of the Interior: 10.1111/bcpt.12054. Epub March 21, 2013. PMID: 23374861.

  7. EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavors and Processing Aids (CEF); Silano V, Bolognesi C, Castle L, Cravedi JP, Engel KH, Fowler P, Franz R, Grob K, Gürtler R, Husøy T, Kärenlampi S , Milana MR, Penninks A, Tavares Poças MF, Smith A, Tlustos C, Wölfle D, Zorn H, Zugravu CA, Beckman Sundh U, Brimer L, Mosesso P, Mulder G, Anastassiadou M, Arcella D, Carfí M, Valtueña Martinez S, Mennes W. Scientific Opinion 49 on Flavor Group Evaluation, Rev. 1 (FGE. 49Rev1): Xanthine alkaloids in the priority list. EFSA J. 2017 Apr 25;15(4):e04729. Department of the Interior: 10.2903/j.efsa.2017.4729. PMID: 32625452; PMCID: PMC7009880.

  8. EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Sources of Nutrients Added to Food (ANS); Aguilar F, Crebelli R, Di Domenico A, Dusemund B, Frutos MJ, Galtier P, Gott D, Gundert-Remy U, Lambré C, Leblanc JC, Lindtner O, Moldeus P, Mosesso P, Parent-Massin D, Oskarsson A, Stankovic I, Waalkens-Berendsen I, Woutersen RA, Wright M, Younes M, Ciccolallo L, Colombo P, Lodi F, Mortensen A. About sucralose Statement of validity of conclusions of carcinogenicity studies in mice (E 955). Ramazzini Institute. EFSA J. 2017 May 8;15(5):e04784. Department of the Interior: 10.2903/j.efsa.2017.4784. PMID: 32625489; PMCID: PMC7010144.


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