Famously known as glucitol, sorbital is a sugar alcohol which is slowly metabolized by the human body. Apples, pears and peaches are the rich source of sorbitol. Sorbitol is dietary energy and sweetener that is used as sugar substitute. Diet foods, mints, cough syrups and sugar free chewing gums often contain sorbitol as additive. Sorbitol also has its worth in the field of medicine and participates in the cure of human body from some irregularities. Along with mouth washes, tooth pastes, and some transparent gels, sorbitol is also used in some cosmetics as thickener.
However, besides so many uses of sorbitol, it is also coupled with some side effects. Sorbitol over dosed can cause severe abdominal pain. Diarrhea, mild to severe, can also be a side effect of sorbitol. Side effects may also include gas trouble, nausea and anal irritations. Despite the fact that some of the side effects are attached with excessive use of sorbitol, FDA has granted it a Generally Recognized as Safe status. First documented in 1872 by a French chemist, sorbitol naturally contains lesser calories then the sugar. For this very reason, it is used as substitute of sugar. Recommended daily intake of sorbitol is 10 gram per day, however, as it is used as additives in many food items, this suggested amount is border lined. Therefore the excessive amount of intake creates the above explained problems. Sorbitol, now a day, is reported to be used as amateur rocket fuel along with potassium nitrate. Sorbitol is identified as a potential key chemical intermediate from biomass resources. Complete reduction of sorbitol opens the way to alkenes, such as hexane, which can be used as bio-fuel. Sorbitol itself provides much of the hydrogen required for the transformation. Having molecular formula of C6H14O6, sorbitol has boiling point of 569K and melting point of 368K. Sorbitol has molar mass182.17 g mol−1 of and density 1.489 g/cm³.
As a laxative it is used to treat the occasional episodes of constipation. This medicine is usually taken by mouth and it not recommended using it more than a week or two. Along with some other problems prolonged use of it can create laxative dependence. However this can also be used rectally after proper mixing, but advice of a doctor or a pharmacist, bears the true weight age. Otherwise problems ranging from vomiting and dizziness to rectal bleeding and weakness can be observed. Along with persistent urge to empty the bowl, rashes, itching and swelling can also create problems for the person who intake this.