Do sugar-free candy and gum give you gas? Researchers think they know why

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Researchers astatine UC Davis person identified changes successful nan gut microbiome that tin consequence successful an inability to digest sorbitol.

Sorbitol, a sweetener alcohol, is utilized successful sugar-free gum, mints, candy and different products. It is besides recovered people successful apricots, apples, pears, avocadoes and different foods. At precocious levels, sorbitol tin origin bloating, cramps and diarrhea. For immoderate people, moreover a mini magnitude causes digestive upset, a information known arsenic sorbitol intolerance.

A caller study pinch mice recovered that taking antibiotics, mixed pinch a high-fat diet, reduced nan number of Clostridia gut microbes, which tin break down sorbitol. The findings were published successful nan diary Cell.

"Our investigation suggests that microbial sorbitol degradation usually protects nan big against sorbitol intolerance. However, an impairment successful nan microbial expertise to break down sorbitol causes sorbitol intolerance," said Jee-Yon Lee, first writer of nan study. Lee is an adjunct task intelligence successful nan UC Davis Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology.

How oxygen levels successful nan gut impact microbes

The researchers utilized metagenomic study to place which gut germs person genes that make nan enzyme that breaks down sorbitol. They besides identified which of those gut germs were plentiful earlier -- but not aft -- antibiotic treatment.

This study allowed them to zero successful connected gut microbes belonging to nan people Clostridium. Clostridium are anaerobic, meaning they don't for illustration environments pinch oxygen.

The researchers recovered that aft nan mice were fixed antibiotics and fed a fare precocious successful saturated fat, nan cells lining nan gut utilized little oxygen. This created a higher level of oxygen successful nan gut, decreasing Clostridia. Without capable Clostridia, sorbitol was not surgery down successful nan gut.

The researchers performed respective experiments to effort to reconstruct nan gut germs truthful it could break down sorbitol again.

In one, they fed nan mice Anaerostipes caccae, a gut bacterium that produces butyrate. Butyrate is simply a short-chain fatty acerb produced arsenic portion of nan normal fermentation process successful nan gut. It enhances oxygen usage by nan cells that statement nan gut, nan epithelial lining, which reduces oxygen levels successful nan ample intestine.

Regulating nan oxygen level pinch Anaerostipes caccae restored nan normal levels of Clostridia, which protected nan mice from sorbitol-induced diarrhea, moreover aft nan butyrate-producing germs had been cleared from nan mouse's digestive system.

The researchers propose that a supplier utilized to dainty ulcerative colitis, Crohn's illness and different inflammatory bowel diseases, mesalazine (5-aminosalicylate), whitethorn beryllium a curen for sorbitol intolerance successful humans. Mesalazine, besides known arsenic mesalamine, functions likewise to nan butyrate-producing bacteria, restoring nan debased oxygen levels successful nan intestine preferred by Clostridia.

"This find is crucial, fixed nan prevalent usage of sorbitol and akin sweetener alcohols successful nan accumulation of keto-friendly fare foods that are precocious successful fat content," Lee said. "It besides highlights nan value of oxygen depletion by nan epithelial lining successful nan intestines successful maintaining a patient equilibrium of gut bacteria, particularly Clostridia, for due digestion of definite sugars."

An important limitation of nan study is that mice tin tolerate overmuch higher sorbitol levels than humans. Mice person a cecum -- a pouch successful their digestive strategy that slows nan travel of intestinal contents and helps digest carbohydrates, which whitethorn lend to being capable to amended tolerate sorbitol. Clinical studies will beryllium needed to trial nan presumption that mesalazine could dainty sorbitol intolerance successful humans.

"Our study provides a wholly caller starting constituent for approaches to diagnose, forestall and dainty sorbitol intolerance," said Andreas Bäumler, elder writer of nan study. Bäumler is simply a distinguished professor and vice chair of investigation successful nan UC Davis Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology.

Co-authors see Connor Tiffany, Scott Mahan, Andrew Rogers, Henry Nguyen and Hugo Masson of nan UC Davis School of Medicine; Eric Stevensand Maria Marco of UC Davis; Matthew Kellomand Emiley A. Eloe-Fadrosh of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Kohei Yamazak of Kitasato University successful Japan; and Peter Turnbaugh of UC San Francisco (UCSF) and Chan Zuckerberg Biohub.