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J Agric Food Chem. 2018 Feb 14;66(6):1401-1407. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b05033. Epub 2018 Feb 5.

Erythritol Attenuates Postprandial Blood Glucose by Inhibiting α-Glucosidase.

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Key Laboratory of Tibetan Medicine Research, Northwest Plateau Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences , 23 Xinning Road, Xining, Qinghai 810001, People's Republic of China.
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Xiamen University , Xiamen, Fujian 361005, People's Republic of China.
School of Medicine, University of St Andrews , St Andrews KY16 9TF, United Kingdom.
Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Bioresources and Biology, Shaanxi University of Technology , Hanzhong, Shaanxi 723001, People's Republic of China.


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 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 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 modeling experiments. In the latter experiments, it was possible to successfully dock erythritol into the catalytic pocket of α-glucosidase, with the resultant interaction likely driven by electrostatic interactions involving Asp215, Asp69, and Arg446 residues. This study suggests that erythritol may not only serve as a glucose substitute but also be a useful agent in the treatment of DM to help manage postprandial blood glucose levels.


competitive inhibition; diabetes mellitus; erythritol; postprandial blood glucose; α-glucosidase

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