Study Links Erythritol to Increased Cardiovascular Risk
Erythritol, a sugar alcohol that is found in small amounts in fruits and vegetables and is often added to processed foods in 1,000 times higher quantities, has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular risk including heart attack, stroke, and death. This link was uncovered in a study published in Nature Medicine on Monday, which was led by Dr. Stanley Hazen, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Prevention at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute.
The study found that erythritol consumption was associated with an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke, thrombosis (blood clotting), and death related to a cardiovascular event. The study also found that erythritol enhanced the reaction of platelets (the part of your blood associated with clotting) in test tube studies and a very small pilot study that was part of this research had healthy volunteers drink a single beverage containing artificial sweeteners.
In laboratory experiments, erythritol was found to accelerate platelet activity, which are blood cells that cause clots to form, leading to a quicker clotting rate. The team observed that mice injected with erythritol developed clots more quickly after injury than those injected with saline. The authors noted that, after humans consumed an erythritol-sweetened beverage, their blood samples showed peaks of the sweetener within hours and these levels stayed high for two days, which could potentially impact their blood clotting.
To confirm their findings, Hazen's team tested another batch of blood samples from over 2,100 people in the United States and an additional 833 samples gathered by colleagues in Europe through 2018. About three-quarters of the participants in all three populations had coronary disease or high blood pressure, and about a fifth had diabetes. In a final part of the study, eight healthy volunteers drank a beverage that contained 30 grams of erythritol, the amount many people in the US consume.
Hazen stated that “We need to make sure the foods we eat aren’t hidden contributors,” and that more research is needed to understand the impact of erythritol. It has been observed that there is a trend regarding erythritol, however, further research is necessary to comprehend the effect it has.
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