Effective Production of Sorbitol and Mannitol f... - Thyroid UK

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Effective Production of Sorbitol and Mannitol from Sugars Catalyzed by Ni Nanoparticles Supported on Aluminium Hydroxide - Merck & Teva


The recent issues with levothyroxine products that contain mannitol (that from Merck and also at least the UK-version of Teva's levothyroxine) is interesting and deeply concerning.

I noticed mention in the French thyroid websites of the presence of nanoparticles of nickel and of aluminium - which is still in question.

Made me do a little bit of searching and I found the paper below.

Seems that one process for making mannitol relies on precisely those substances - nickel nanoparticles and aluminium (as hydroxide). Which leads me to suggest these substances could be found as impurities in the mannitol itself.

We rarely have any insight into the suppliers of excipients (ingredients other than the active pharmaceutical ingredient(s)). Not knowing where is was made, whether the supplies are always from the same sources, or anything else. So it is very difficult for us to get any further.

Effective Production of Sorbitol and Mannitol from Sugars Catalyzed by Ni Nanoparticles Supported on Aluminium Hydroxide

R. Rodiansono 1*, Shogo Shimazu21 Department of Chemistry, Lambung Mangkurat University, Jl. A. Yani Km 36.0 Banjarbaru, South Kalimantan, Indonesia2 Graduate School of Engineering, Chiba University, 1-33 Yayoi, Inage, Chiba 263-8522, Japan

Received: 21st December 2012; Revised: 7th February 2013; Accepted: 10th February 2013

Abstract Effective production of hexitols (sorbitol and mannitol) was achieved from sugars by means of nickel nano-particles supported on aluminium hydroxide (NiNPs/AlOH) catalyst. NiNPs/AlOH catalyst was prepared by a simple and benign environmentally procedure using less amount of sodium hydroxide. ICP-AES and XRD analyses confirmed that the NiNPs/AlOH catalysts comprised a large amount of remained aluminium hy-droxide (i.e. bayerite and gibbsite). The presence of aluminium hydroxide caused a high dispersion Ni metal species. The average Ni crystallite sizes that derived from the Scherrer`s equation for former R-Ni and NiNPs/AlOH were 8.6 nm and 4.1 nm, respectively. The catalyst exhibited high activity and selectivity both hydrogenolysis of disaccharides (sucrose and cellobiose) and monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, and xylose) at 403 K for 24 h. The NiNPs/AlOH catalyst was found to be reusable for at least five consecutive runs without any significant loss of activity and selectivity. © 2013 BCREC UNDIP. All rights reserved

Keywords: supported-nickel nanoparticles; hydrogenation; sugar; sorbitol; mannitol

How to Cite: Rodiansono, R., Shimazu, S. (2013). Effective Production of Sorbitol and Mannitol from Sugars Catalyzed by Ni Nanoparticles Supported on Aluminium Hydroxide. Bulletin of Chemical Reaction Engineering & Catalysis, 8 (1): 40-46. (doi:10.9767/bcrec.8.1.4290.40-46)

Permalink/DOI: dx.doi.org/10.9767/bcrec.8....


7 Replies

Thanks for this. I thought sorbitol (often used as an artificial sweetener) can have laxative and carcinogenic effects. I realise this might only be in large quantities, but I would prefer it not to be in any medication of mine or my fellow thyroidians thanks Merck! 🤸🏿‍♀️🥛

helvellaAdministrator in reply to MissGrace

Is sorbitol carcinogenic? This paper expressly says not:


That paper says:

Sorbitol produced from sorghum starch hydrolysis by chemical hydrogenation in the presence of nickel catalyst was used as sweetener.

Which tends to confirm the possibility of nickel in sorbitol as well as mannitol.

However, my post was initially directed solely towards the manufacture of mannitol as used in Merck and Teva levothyroxine tablets. Some other medicines do contain sorbitol.

MissGrace in reply to helvella

Could be I’m wrong, I didn’t check - I’m sure I’d read warnings somewhere to avoid it. Still can’t see why it is okay to put it in meds though. 🥛🤸🏿‍♀️

A good find helvella, thanks for posting. MissGrace,Sorbitol should not be taken by Diabetics,but not sure whether this is because it does not mix with other medication or another reason. I know it can cause bad diarhoea for them.

helvellaAdministrator in reply to MissGrace

Maybe it is a bad thing to put into medicines - but there are at least 465 medicines which contain sorbitol!


And 955 which contain mannitol:


(I said "contain" - technically, just medicines which mention sorbitol or mannitol in their Patient Information Leaflets. I have assumed that is as an ingredient but the odd one could say "do not consume sorbitol" or something similar.)

Rod! We need more on this! Get thee to the excipientfest 2019 in Gaylord, Maryland (this is not a windup) x

helvellaAdministrator in reply to Rapunzel

Time was a spoonful of sugar was all that was needed... :-)

The information seems to be getting more and more difficult to access. Not that it isn't somewhere but the combination of paywalls, languages, volume, difficulty of assessing quality/accuracy, becomes almost insurmountable for average Joes like me.

Keep seeing things and wonder if it could be even worse than we currently suspect...


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