2023 5 B1

Eryhtritol artificial sweetener induces cardiovascular problems and death in chicken embryos.

By: Prabh Kaur, Rui Tan, Sergio Gonzalez, Jr., Shahryar Ahmed

Department: Biology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Wilfred Denetclaw

Heart disease and stroke cause 874,613 deaths each year and a common causation factor for these diseases is blood clot formation. Until recently, artificial sweetener was not a suggested causation factor in cardiovascular disease. An artificial sweetener that contains erythritol, a sugar-alcohol, was recently correlated with blood clotting and cardiovascular disease leading to stroke and heart attack. Evidence of this correlation is lacking but may be advanced by research using the 3-day-old chicken embryo and its newly formed cardiovascular system. We used commercially available single-use packages of Truvia(TM) containing stevia and erythritol (2g) to prepare 20% erythritol in PBS saline solution and lower concentrations at 2%, 1%, and 0.2% erythritol. Embryo treatments consisted of 1.0 mL erythritol in PBS additions directly to the dorsal surface of the chicken embryo in ovo and incubation for 24 hours. The control was only PBS added. We found that the embryo treated in the sugar-alcohol did develop well into a 4-day-old embryo, characterized by a mature cardiovascular system resembling control embryos, embryo limb bud elongation with the formation of an allantois sac, with an overall embryo size increase. At 0.2% erythritol, the embryos looked like control embryos and 2/3 survived treatment after 24 hours. However, the heartbeat rate/minute in these treated embryos was noticeably lower heartbeat rate than in the control embryos. These results demonstrate the toxicity of erythritol in chicken embryos with increased concentrations and comply with the idea that erythritol use and build-up in the human body may reach levels of toxicity to promote cardiovascular disease. We cannot yet show blood clotting, although the reduced heartbeat rate suggests blood pooling, and clotting is possible. We suggest careful use of artificial sweeteners with sugar alcohols and avoidance of the ones with erythritol until research is done to show its safety. NSF-STCDBI-1548297