Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol which is also referred to as glucitol and is naturally found in several fruits and berries. Synthetically prepared sorbitol is used as a sugar substitute and is added as an artificial sweetener to host of food products. It is found in diet foods like ice creams, cola, sugar free pastries, etc.
It is most commonly used by individuals suffering from diabetes or individuals on a weight loss diet. It is also found in certain cough syrups, medications and gum. Though sorbitol is approved by the FDA for use as an artificial sweetener, its overdose is associated with several side effects and poise danger to health.
What Are The Dangers Of Sorbitol Overdose?
It is always important to regulate the intake of sorbitol, since overdose of sorbitol is linked with the following danger to health,
- Sorbitol may result in increased bowel movement due to its laxative effect. Consumption of more than 10 grams of sorbitol tends to affect the osmotic process and results in absorption of water in the reverse direction. This results in watery stools and increased bowel movement. Diarrhea in turn results in dehydration.
- Overdose of sorbitol is also liked with other gastro-intestinal complaints like nausea, vomiting along with abdominal pain and stomach cramps. Abdominal distention and bloating is also observed due to fermentation of undigested sorbitol by bacteria in the intestine.
- Though relatively rare, individuals sensitive to sorbitol may complain of allergic skin reactions like rash with itching and blisters on the skin.
- In cases of severe dehydration, symptoms like dryness in the mouth, increased thirst and reduced urination have also been recorded.
- Some individuals have also reported of rectal and anal itching due to overdose of sorbitol.
Side Effects Of Sorbitol
Some of the common side effects and dangers associated with sorbitol consumption include,
- Unintended weight loss has been recorded in individual who consume higher than normal amounts of sorbitol over an extended period of time.
- Dizziness and Seizures may also be experienced with prolonged use of the substitute.
- Sorbitol is also harmful for diabetic individuals in high doses. Sorbitol can result in damage to nerves and blood vessels.
- Further excessive sorbitol can also result in damage of other organs like the eyes resulting in increased risk of cataract and kidneys. Intake of sorbitol should be limited in individuals with diabetes.
Sorbitol Overdose Side Effects In Children
The primary reason why sorbitol is used is because it is less caloric than sugar and hence is used as a substitute for sugar. Many processed foods and gums contain sorbitol. Though in small amounts, sorbitol is safe for children but in larger amounts it is associated with a host of health problems.
- Though sorbitol is labeled as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) food, its overdose in children can be associated with a host of gastro-intestinal problems including diarrhea, bloating, gaseous distention, etc.
- Further in children with diabetics, excessive intake of sorbitol can accelerate nerve damage, though recommended intake of sorbitol is considered to be highly beneficial in regulation blood sugar levels.
- In general, sorbitol is safe when consumed in a limit of 50 mg per day. Side effects and dangers of Sorbitol are associated with prolonged use of the sweetener or an overdose.