Research published in the journal Molecules, found six common artificial sweeteners approved by the Food and Drug Administration and 10 sport supplements which contained them to be toxic to the digestive gut microbes of mice.
The study was carried out by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
The artificial sweeteners researchers from the universities focused on were aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, neotame, advantame and acesulfame potassium-k.
They found when one milligram per millilitre of the artificial sweeteners was exposed to the mice, the bacteria found in the digestive system became toxic.
“This is further evidence that consumption of artificial sweeteners adversely affects gut microbial activity which can cause a wide range of health issues,” said Ariel Kushmaro, a professor in BGU’s department of biotechnology engineering.
The findings discuss how the gut microbial system “plays a key role in human metabolism” and artificial sweeteners can “affect host health, such as inducing glucose intolerance”.
But the study did also find that mice given neotame had different metabolic patterns than those without it, and several important genes found in the human gut had decreased.
Concentrations of several fatty acids, lips and cholesterol were also found to be higher in mice given neotame.
The bacteria in your gut has a big impact on your well-being, affecting everything from metabolism, immune system and your mood.
Probiotic yoghurt and supplements have been promoted as having various health benefits in the past.
They’re thought to help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut when it’s been disrupted by an illness or treatment.
In the latest research published in the journal Cell, a healthy group of volunteers had their gut colonisation measured.
They were fed probiotic strains and in half the cases the good bacteria went in the mouth and came straight out the other end.
In the other half of cases, they lingered briefly before being crowded out by existing microbes.
Professor Eran Elina, an immunologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and the study’s senior author, said: “Surprisingly, we saw that many healthy volunteers were actually resistant, in that the probiotics couldn’t colonise their gastrointestinal tracts.
“Instead, they could be tailored to the needs of each individual.”
Professor Eran Segal, a computational biologist, added: “This opens the door to diagnostics that would take us from an empiric universal consumption of probiotics, which appears useless in many cases, to one that is tailored to the individual.”
The NHS advises if you’re considering trying probiotics to be be aware of a few issues.
It states: “Probiotics are generally classed as food rather than medicine, which means they don’t undergo the rigorous testing medicine do.
“Because of the way probiotics are regulated, we can’t always be sure that the product actually contains the bacteria stated on the food label, the product contains enough bacteria to have an effect, or the bacteria are able to survive long enough to reach your gut.
“There are many different types of probiotics that may have different effects on the body, and little is known about which types are best.
“Don’t assume the beneficial effects seen with one type are the same as other similar types or will be repeated if used for another purpose.
“And there’s likely to be a huge difference between the pharmaceutical-grade probiotics that show promise in clinical trials and the yoghurts and supplements sold in shops.”