Erythritol is a sweet antioxidant

Nutrition. 2010 Apr;26(4):449-58. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2009.05.004. Epub 2009 Jul 24.


Objective: Hyperglycemia, oxidative stress, and the onset and progression of diabetic complications are strongly linked. Reduction of oxidative stress could be of utmost importance in the long-term treatment of diabetic patients. The chronic nature of the disease calls for a mode of antioxidant intake that can be sustained easily, e.g., by the diet. Erythritol, a simple polyol, could be such a compound. It is orally available, well tolerated, and its chemical structure resembles that of mannitol, a well-known hydroxyl radical (HO*) scavenger.

Methods: We studied the antioxidant properties of erythritol in vitro and subsequently determined its antioxidant activity and its vasoprotective effect in the streptozotocin diabetic rat.

Results: Erythritol was shown to be an excellent HO* radical scavenger and an inhibitor of 2,2'-azobis-2-amidinopropane dihydrochloride-induced hemolysis but inert toward superoxide radicals. High-performance liquid chromatographic and electron spin resonance spectroscopy studies showed that the reaction of erythritol with hydroxyl radicals resulted in the formation of erythrose and erythrulose by abstraction of a carbon-bound hydrogen atom. In the streptozotocin diabetic rat, erythritol displayed an endothelium-protective effect and, in accordance with the in vitro experiments, erythrose was found in the urine of erythritol-consuming rats.

Conclusion: Erythritol acts as an antioxidant in vivo and may help protect against hyperglycemia-induced vascular damage.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Blood Glucose
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / urine
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Erythritol / blood
  • Erythritol / therapeutic use*
  • Erythritol / urine
  • Female
  • Free Radical Scavengers / blood
  • Free Radical Scavengers / urine
  • Hydroxyl Radical / blood
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tetroses / urine


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Tetroses
  • Hydroxyl Radical
  • Erythritol
  • erythrose