The possible cause for the rapid rise in incidence of Irish paediatric inflammatory bowel disease

Xiaofa Qin, Researcher,
May 16, 2012

I read with interest the article by Hope B et al recently published online in Arch Dis Child regarding the rapid rise in incidence of Irish paediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)[1]. I just published a paper on World Journal of Gastroenterology with a unified hypothesis regarding the etiology of IBD, including the possible cause and mechanism of IBD as well as the relationship between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease[2]. It was suspected that dietary chemical like saccharin and sucralose might be the main causative factors for IBD, through their inhibition on gut bacteria and the resultant impairment in inactivation of digestive proteases and the over digestion of the mucus layer and the underlying gut tissue[2]. In particular, sucralose was suspected as an important causative factor contributed to the recent worldwide increase of IBD[2] especially most pronounced seen in children[3]. Sucralose was first approved in Canada in 1991, followed by other countries such as in Australia in 1993, in the United States in 1998, and by the European Union in 2004, which was in accordance with the dramatic increases of IBD as observed in Alberta and Quebec of Canada since early 1990s, in Brisbane of Australia since middle 1990s, in north California of the United these since the end of 1990s[2], and in South-Eastern Norway since middle 2000s. Sucralose was approved in Ireland in 2003[4]. Again the remarkable increase in pediatric IBD in Ireland since middle 2000s as shown in this study[1] occurred shortly after the approval. Therefore, I recommend adding sucralose as the possible culprit in future studies.


1. Hope, B., et al., Rapid rise in incidence of Irish paediatric inflammatory bowel disease. Arch Dis Child, 2012 May 1. [Epub ahead of print]. 2. Qin, X., Etiology of inflammatory bowel disease: A unified hypothesis. World J Gastroenterol, 2012. 18(15): 1708-22. 3. Qin, X., Food additives: possible cause for recent remarkable increase of inflammatory bowel disease in children. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 2012. 54(4): 564. 4. Sucralose approved in Ireland. [cited 2012 May 15]; Available from:

Conflict of Interest:

None declared

Conflict of Interest

None declared