Effects of intraduodenal administration of the artificial sweetener sucralose on blood pressure and superior mesenteric artery blood flow in healthy older subjects

Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Jul 1;108(1):156-162. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy060.


Background: Postprandial hypotension (PPH) occurs frequently, particularly in older people and those with type 2 diabetes, and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The magnitude of the decrease in blood pressure (BP) induced by carbohydrate, fat, and protein appears to be comparable and results from the interaction of macronutrients with the small intestine, including an observed stimulation of mesenteric blood flow. It is not known whether artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, which are widely used, affect BP.

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of intraduodenal sucralose on BP and superior mesenteric artery (SMA) blood flow, compared with intraduodenal glucose and saline (control), in healthy older subjects.

Design: Twelve healthy subjects (6 men, 6 women; aged 66-79 y) were studied on 3 separate occasions in a randomized, double-blind, crossover design. After an overnight fast, subjects had concurrent measurements of BP and heart rate (HR; automated device), SMA blood flow (Doppler ultrasound), and blood glucose (glucometer) during intraduodenal infusion of 1) glucose (25% wt:vol, ∼1400 mOsmol/L), 2) sucralose (4 mmol/L, ∼300 mOsmol/L), or 3) saline (0.9% wt:vol, ∼300 mOsmol/L) at a rate of 3 mL/min for 60 min followed by intraduodenal saline for a further 60 min.

Results: There was a decrease in mean arterial BP (P < 0.001) during intraduodenal glucose [baseline (mean ± SEM): 91.7 ± 2.6 mm Hg compared with t = 60 min: 85.9 ± 2.8 mm Hg] but not during intraduodenal saline or intraduodenal sucralose. The HR (P < 0.0001) and SMA blood flow (P < 0.0001) also increased during intraduodenal glucose but not during intraduodenal saline or intraduodenal sucralose. As expected, blood glucose concentrations increased in response to glucose (P < 0.0001) but not saline or sucralose.

Conclusions: In healthy older subjects, intraduodenal administration of the artificial sweetener sucralose was not associated with changes in BP or SMA blood flow. Further studies are therefore warranted to determine the potential role for artificial sweeteners as a therapy for PPH. This trial was registered at http://www.ANZCTR.org.au as ACTRN12617001249347.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Flow Velocity / drug effects*
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesenteric Artery, Superior / drug effects*
  • Sucrose / analogs & derivatives*
  • Sucrose / pharmacology
  • Sweetening Agents / administration & dosage
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Sucrose
  • trichlorosucrose

Associated data

  • ANZCTR/ACTRN12617001249347