Recent literature suggest sugar-sweetened beverages increase the likelihood of incident obesity and diabetes. However, data from a case report presented here suggest that patients who consume a large amount of artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, are also more likely to develop Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
“We know that in the 20th and 21st century there is an increasing consumption of sugar substitutes. If you look at the literature in animal studies, it suggests it may cause obesity and some tumors. I found that this sugar substitute increases insulin levels in consumers and high insulin levels may be associated with obesity,” Issac Sachmechi, MD, FACE, FACP, clinical associate professor of medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and chief of endocrinology at Queens Hospital Center, said during a press conference.
According to abstract data, Sachmechi treated a woman aged 52 years with a history of high intake of artificial sweeteners and a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism in 2008. The patient’s TSH measured 12.2 mIU/L, free T4was 0.5 ng/dL and antithyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) were 196 IU/mL.
Sachmechi treated the patient with levothyroxine 0.75 mg per day and normalized her TSH (between 1.23 mIU/L and 2.16 mIU/L) over 3 years of treatment. Subsequently, the patient stopped ingesting the sweeteners in February 2012 due to weight gain.
This resulted in a TSH level of 0.005 mIU/L, where it remained low despite a decrease of levothyroxine dose to 0.05 mg per day. Furthermore, a complete discontinuation of the drug was followed with normal TSH and anti-TPOAb <20 IU/mL, TSI of 113% and TBII <6%.
Sachmechi reported that the patient continued to be clinically euthyroid without further treatment during subsequent follow-up visits.
“We know there is an increased prevalence of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and differentiated thyroid cancer without currently known etiologies. “It is possible that the artificial sweetness may have a roll in this,” Sachmechi said.
“We plan to do a study looking at the use of artificial sweetness in large number patients with diagnosis of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and patients with well differentiated thyroid cancer to see if we find any coloration consumption of artificial sweetness and those thyroid diseases.”
These data indicate eliminating artificial sweeteners from the diet can benefit patients with thyroid disease. Sachmechi told Endocrine Today that a study is underway to confirm these findings in a larger cohort. – by Samantha Costa
Source: Endocrine Today