Is Your Sugar Substitute Causing Your Fibromyalgia Pain?
Fibromyalgia is a curious medical condition that medical professionals still do not fully understand. Although there are many possible causes for fibromyalgia, such as viruses, physical abuse, and genetics; some fibromyalgia cases may be caused by the use of aspartame and artificial sugars in the diet. Find out more below.
Do you have fibromyalgia? Do you eat artificial sugar?
New studies have emerged that link high consumption of artificial sugars with an increase in chronic pain and fibromyalgia-like symptoms. If you have fibromyalgia and consume artificial sugar, the cure could be as simple as quitting the consumption of these chemicals. Find out more about the link between fibromyalgia and chemical sugar sweeteners below.
According to The Sugar Association, two artificial sweeteners are derived from amino acids. These are aspartame and neotame. Aspartame and neotame are sold under the brand names of NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, SugarTwin, and several others depending on the country.
Under normal circumstances, the ingredients used in aspartame (aspartic acid and phenylalanine) are amino acids used in many of the body’s normal and natural functions. However, the concentrations of the amino acids are much higher in artificial sweeteners than in any person’s body or natural food sources. The reason that amino acid-based sweeteners are so bad for individuals with fibromyalgia is due to the type of amino acid that they are made of. Aspartic acid and phenylalanine are known as excitatory amino acids, which act as either neurotransmitters or neurotoxins (in excessive amounts) and are responsible for transmitting pain.
According to some studies, individuals with fibromyalgia are more sensitive to excitatory amino acids, which can trigger pain receptors. By consuming amino acid-based sweeteners, it is over-stimulating the brain and triggering more intense fibromyalgia symptoms.
Clinical trials from the FDA on aspartame from 1994 and 1995 report a host of health problems associated with the consumption of the sugar substitute. The researchers identify this connection as “aspartame toxicity” and state that the condition is often misdiagnosed as other chronic diseases. Fibromyalgia is one of the chronic conditions on this list. According to the researchers, fibromyalgia is a condition that is “caused or worsened by the chronic, long-term ingestion of aspartame.”
A study from 2000 conducted by the University of Minnesota examined the role of excitatory amino acids (EAAs) in fibromyalgia patients. The researchers evaluated the levels of various amino acids in participants with various symptoms and severity levels of fibromyalgia pain. The researchers found that although there seemed to be no difference in amino acid levels when participants experienced primary pain from fibromyalgia, they did have higher levels of EAAs when experiencing secondary fibromyalgia symptoms. Reported higher pain levels correlated to higher levels of aspartate and glutamate in the body.
In 2001, doctors from Malcolm Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center had 4 patients with fibromyalgia that were resistant to common treatment methods for the condition. The patients were asked to remove aspartame and MSG from their diets. Within months, all patients saw complete or near-complete reversal of all fibromyalgia symptoms. The researchers suggested that fibromyalgia is “induced or exacerbated by excitotoxins.”
Two case studies reported by Burgundy University in 2010 found a unique association between fibromyalgia and aspartame. One woman had suffered from fibromyalgia for 10 years. She traveled on a vacation and was symptom-free. The only difference between the vacation and her everyday life was that she did not consume any artificial sweeteners during her vacation. From then on, she stopped consuming artificial sweeteners and saw a full reversal of symptoms.
In the second case study, a man had suffered from fibromyalgia-like symptoms for 3 years. The doctors found that he had also consumed aspartame during these years. Doctors recommended he stop eating aspartame and he saw a complete reversal of symptoms. The researchers concluded that all medical professionals recommend that fibromyalgia sufferers quit their consumption of aspartame.
If artificial sugars act like a trigger for fibromyalgia pain, eliminating them from the diet is one of the easiest steps you can take to improve your symptoms and see less pain, less often. Although fibromyalgia can be caused by a variety of factors, it is easy to eliminate artificial sugar to determine if your symptoms improve. This solution is free, simple, and may be able to cure symptoms in just a few weeks. If you could cure your fibromyalgia or chronic pain just by removing one ingredient from your diet- why not try it?
Even if it doesn’t completely cure your fibromyalgia, it will probably help in some way, as artificial sweeteners seem to make chronic pain worse. And if your fibromyalgia isn’t completely cured by just removing artificial sugar, try taking the additional steps outlined below.
Removing aspartame from the diet can only help individuals with fibromyalgia- however; it may not cure all symptoms. Web MD states that possible causes of fibromyalgia include: hormonal or chemical imbalances, trauma or abuse, high levels of substance P (a pain receptor), low serotonin levels, and latent viruses in the lymphatic system. Any one or more than one of these triggers could be contributing to fibromyalgia symptoms.
Taking the following steps in addition to removing aspartame from the diet will improve your chances of saying goodbye to your fibromyalgia symptoms for good.
Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are not the only cause of fibromyalgia pain. Some fibromyalgia patients never consume artificial sweeteners of any kind and still experience pain. The next step to curing fibromyalgia is to remove all sources of MSG from the diet as well, which can also make fibromyalgia symptoms worse. Glutamate- while found in many foods (usually protein) and necessary for about 90 percent of the body’s functions- is also an important EAA in fibromyalgia. Since individuals with fibromyalgia are likely more sensitive to EAAs, cutting back on all artificial sources of the acids are a necessity, but lowering your consumption of high-glutamate foods may also help reduce fibromyalgia symptoms.
However, the average person only consumes about 11 grams of glutamate from foods, while making about 50 grams per day in the body, so reducing sources of natural glutamate may not be all that helpful.
The following foods all have anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, and other beneficial ingredients that could help keep fibromyalgia symptoms under control. Fruits and Vegetables: Eating more vegetables and fruit is usually a good place to start for controlling any chronic illness.
Fruits and vegetables contain high levels of beneficial minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins that work to keep the body operating like a well-oiled machine. Natural foods also do not contain preservatives or chemical additives which could make fibromyalgia symptoms worse.
Omega 3 Fats: Omega 3 fats are one of the biggest anti-inflammatory agents in food. Consuming more omega 3 fats can help reduce inflammation, autoimmune disorders, and pain levels.
Garlic and Onions: These two foods work to boost the immune system and fight inflammation. Some studies have linked fibromyalgia with autoimmune problems, which means that adding anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting foods to your diet should help reduce fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms.
Some foods contribute heavily to inflammation and a sluggish immune system. These foods could make your fibromyalgia symptoms worse. Try eliminating these foods for a few weeks and see if you feel better.
Sugars: Some medical professionals believe that individuals with fibromyalgia are not only more sensitive to amino acids, but are also more sensitive to other changes in the body- such as hormone levels and blood sugar levels. By avoiding added sugars, you could help make your days and nights less painful.
Chemical Additives and Preservatives: According to some health researchers, individuals with fibromyalgia are sensitive to all chemicals- not just chemical amino acids. This means that all processed foods, preservatives, and any ingredients not straight from nature could make your symptoms a whole lot worse. Work hard to eliminate all artificial flavors, additives, preservatives, and dyes from your diet.
Simple Carbohydrates: Simple carbs cause a blood sugar high then crash. This could contribute to fatigue and other unwanted fibromyalgia symptoms. When eating carbs, stick to complex carbs for regulated blood sugars.
Inflammation could make all symptoms of fibromyalgia worse. The following supplements can help reduce total inflammation and make your body less sensitive to chemicals, food additives, and even amino acids.
Ginger and Curcumin: Ginger is one of the oldest anti-inflammatory agents in the world. Curcimun is derived from turmeric, which is a relative of ginger root. Both of these root-based herbs are highly effective at reducing inflammation. Supplementing with these herbs may help reduce pain and other side effects of fibromyalgia.
Magnesium and Vitamins: Some research has linked low vitamin and mineral levels with a reduction in pain tolerance. Magnesium, specifically, seems to play a large role in fibromyalgia pain. A mixture of vitamins and minerals known as the “Meyer’s Cocktail” (magnesium, vitamin C, and B vitamins) has been shown to reduce pain significantly in fibromyalgia sufferers when injected intravenously. A 2002 review published in “Alternative Medicine Review” found that this therapy treatment was effective for a variety of conditions in addition to fibromyalgia.
5-HTP: Some researchers believe that low serotonin levels lead to fibromyalgia pain. 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin that is converted into serotonin in the brain. A 1990 study on fibromyalgia patients supplementing with 5-HTP found that all patients taking the supplement showed reduced fibromyalgia symptoms.
Although researchers are not quite sure if fibromyalgia is triggered by artificial sweeteners and other chemicals or if this condition is simply a fibromyalgia-related condition, the link between the symptoms and the sugar is clear. If you have fibromyalgia, the best thing you can do for your health is to remove artificial sweeteners, food additives, and other sources of chemicals and preservatives from your diet.
With one simple step, you may be able to permanently cure your fibromyalgia- or at least help keep your symptoms under control. Combine the removal of chemicals from your diet with the addition of inflammation-fighting supplements and foods and you will find yourself healthier and happier than ever.
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