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Erythritol attenuates postprandial blood glucose by inhibiting α-glucosidase

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle



Huaixiu Wen, Bowen Tang, Alan J. Stewart, Yanduo Tao, Yun Shao, Yulei Cui, Huilan Yue, Jinjin Pei, Zenggen Liu, Lijuan Mei, Ruitao Yu, Lei Jiang

School/Research organisations


Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a serious metabolic disorder where impaired postprandial blood glucose regulation often leads to severe health complications. The natural chemical, erythritol is a C4 polyol approved by FDA for use as a sweetener. Here we examined a potential role for erythritol in the control of postprandial blood glucose levels in DM. An anti-postprandial hyperglycemia effect upon erythritol administration (500 mg kg-1) was demonstrated in alloxan-induced DM model mice by monitoring changes in blood glucose after intragastric administration of drugs and starch. We also found that erythritol most likely exerts its anti-postprandial hyperglycemic activities by inhibiting α-glucosidase in a competitive manner. This was supported by enzyme activity assays and molecular modelling experiments. In the latter experiments it was possible to successful dock erythritol into the catalytic pocket of α-glucosidase, with the resultant interaction likely to be driven by electrostatic interactions involving Asp 215, Asp69 and Arg446 residues. This study suggests that erythritol may not only serve as a glucose substitute but may also be a useful agent in the treatment of diabetes mellitus to help manage postprandial blood glucose levels.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
VolumeJust Accepted Manuscript
Early online date23 Jan 2018
StateE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jan 2018

    Research areas

  • Diabetes mellitus, Postprandial blood glucose, Erythritol, α-glucosidase

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