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Aspartame-Induced Fibromyalgia

Case reports of fibromyalgia chronic pain sufferers cured by removing the artificial sweetener aspartame (Nutrasweet) from their diets.

November 30, 2012 |
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Acknowledgements

Images thanks to: Bukowsky18 and Sarah Korf.

Transcript

Reported for the first time recently, case reports of  aspartame-induced fibromyalgia, an unusual but curable cause of chronic pain. “50-year-old woman had been suffering from widespread pain and fatigue for more than 10 years leading to the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Poor woman. During a vacation in a foreign country, she did not suffer from painful symptoms and made a connection with the fact that she had forgotten to take her aspartame. All of the symptoms reappeared in the days following her return when she reintroduced aspartame into her daily diet. Thus, aspartame was definitively excluded from her diet, resulting in a complete regression of the fibromyalgia symptoms. “A 43-year-old man consulted for a 3-year history of bilateral fore-arm, wrist, and hand and neck pain with various unsuccessful treatments. A detailed questioning followed to find out that he had been taking aspartame for three years. The removal of aspartame was followed by a complete regression of pain, without recurrence. “The benefit/ risk ratio of considering the diagnosis of aspartame-induced chronic pain is obvious: the potential benefit is to cure a disabling chronic disease, to spare numerous laboratory and imaging investigations, and to avoid potentially harmful therapies; the potential risk is to temporarily change the patient’s diet. Thus, practitioners should ask patients suffering from fibromyalgia about their intake of aspartame. In some cases, this simple question might lead to the resolution of a disabling chronic disease. And fibromyalgia is no small pain in the neck, affecting an estimated 5 million American, who I believe should all be asked that simple question.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ashley Rhinehart, RN.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Nontoxic treatments should always get precedence, and you can't get much more nontoxic than removing processed foods from people's diets! Alternately, many folks suffering with fibromyalgia symptoms may have been misdiagnosed and are actually suffering from an easily treated vitamin D deficiency. What's the best way to treat that? See Vitamin D Pills vs. Tanning Beds, one of my dozen videos on vitamin D. I've got a bunch of previous videos on sweeteners including Is Nutrasweet Bad For You? and Update on Aspartame. Erythritol is probably A Harmless Artificial Sweetener. Tomorrow's video-of-the-day Diet Soda and Preterm Birth addresses concerns about aspartame consumption during pregnancy.

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts:  Aspartame: Fibromyalgia & Preterm BirthIs There a Safe, Low-Calorie Sweetener?, and  Plant-Based Diets for Fibromyalgia

If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

  • pmax123

    I started having sever knee pain 3 years ago. Doc said I was ‘old and Artritus was to be expected. Take up to six 200mg Advil as needed for pain’. Seemingly unrelated 6 months later I was tired of all the diet soda I was drinking and finally quit. Then I started to notice that I forgot to take the Advil as it was no longer needed. I had to assume that I had gotten younger ! Now I know I’m still old . But at least my knee does’nt hurt.

    • WholeFoodChomper

      Arthritis is not to be expected; it seems that doc needs some re-education. The more I have been reading about PBD nutrition and wellness in general, the more I learn that many of the conditions that are associated with “old age” really are not related to aging at all, but to lifestyle factors. How wonderful that you were able to treat yourself in a non-invasive way!

  • Lisa

    I’ve suffered from migraines for 20+ yrs….always on Rx of one kind or another. After much research after a medical scare (took too much Rx out of desparation of a migraine that wasn’t going away)….I cut out ALL artificial sweeteners (Aspartame being the one I consumed the most of from Crystal Light). In the blink of an eye, I was MIGRAINE FREE! When I TOLD my neurologist about what I did, she said “Oh, Yeah! It’s a NEUROTOXIN”. I was floored! If this was such common knowledge, how is it remotely possible my own doctor never thought to ask about my diet? All those years on Rx, the cost factor, the sick days, the pain! Very upset, to say the least

    • WholeFoodChomper

      If I were in your shoes, I’d be very upset as well.

      Recently, on the PCRM web-site I read that several research findings suggest that ginger seems to prevent and treat migraines in some cases. I think that ginger is worth a try for a migraine sufferer.

      Here’s were I read the info: A Natural Approach to Migraines.

  • km

    “Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World” is a documentary avail on youtube & netflix covering the spectrum of problems aspartame has caused. Not the best production, but a lot of good information.

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    I thank you for that great video Dr. G.

    And we must all thank Donald Rumsfeld (yes the ex-Secretary of Defense) for getting his companies known, highly toxic substance approved for consumption. What a great country we live in.

    Check this interesting article by the Huffington Post:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robbie-gennet/donald-rumsfeld-and-the-s_b_805581.html

    • WholeFoodChomper

      Somehow I am not surprised, Monsanto is pure evil. Can’t wait to read the article. Thanks for sharing!

  • Regina

    I have fibro.., never used anything with aspartame. I stay away from the chemicals as much as possible. It helps to keep the monster at bay, but it is still there, especially when I get stressed.

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    Dr. G BTW the website is working much better and it’s loading faster.
    Thanks for fixing the problem!

  • thissal

    Aspartic acid is a metabolite of aspartame. Any excess acidic amino
    acids, including glutamic acid (MSG, natural flavors) may cause Fibromyalgia and general pain.

  • thissal

    Aspartic acid is a metabolite of aspartame. Any excess acidic amino
    acids, including glutamic acid (MSG, natural flavors) may cause Fibromyalgia and general pain.

  • http://blessedveganlife.blogspot.com BlessedMama

    So many dietary elements can affect our health! Thank you for this new info (to me, anyhow).

  • http://www.facebook.com/carrol.moore.739 Carrol Moore

    I have fbm and have never used artificial sweetners, Ive read so many bad things about them. i just think the closer we get to eating what God made for our bodies the more our bodies will respond well to the,

  • http://www.facebook.com/shirley.rose.9887 Shirley Rose

    I appreciate this video. The effects of Aspartame on the body is horrific. That said, I too have Fibromyalgia. I have had symptoms now for roughly 15 years, if not longer. I am also vegan and have chosen this lifestyle for the last 3 years. I have never drank anything with Aspartame in it because I never enjoyed the taste. I rarely drink alcohol, coffee, or soda beverages; I have never been a smoker; I do yoga when I can; and still I have pain daily. I would greatly appreciate some advice here. I have researched the topic and come up short. My blood tests say that I’m as healthy as an athlete… I certainly don’t feel like one. My Doctor is stumped as to where we need to go from here. I can’t just accept that this is what I have to live with for the rest of my life. More information and updated studies would be very much appreciated.
    Sincerely,
    Shirley Rose

    • Franz

      Dear Shirley, from what I understand, Fibro is caused by a yeast infection called Candida – it’s autoimmune. Google it…and say bye bye to carbs and sugars – greens and beans for a little while and see what happens. Best wishes!

      • Kelli Brian

        I believe it’s caused by the candida, crossing over into a fungal infection in your blood, witch can not be cured by diet. Check out Candidacleanser.com

    • Kelli Brian

      Shirley Rose, I’ve been doing some research and found this products advertisement very informative. You can find CandidaCleanser.com online. I don’t have any association with this product an can’t afford the cost to try it myself. I’m not suggesting you buy it, but think you should read it. Would love to know, what you think and if you try it. Thanks, Kelli Brian

  • Massimo

    I would like to know the mechanism behind this effect. Because AFAIK aspartame is just aspartic acid + phenylalanine, two amino acids which – a part the rare cases of phenylketonuria – are harmless. True, the metabolic route of aspartame produces some methanol, but less than what comes from many foods. So, what are the biochemical origins of the hazardous of aspartame?

    P.S. Why one can no longer log in with Yahoo to post comments?

    • erinvalynn

      Yes, phenylalanine and aspartic acid are amino acids, but in aspartame they are separated from their protein chain, and therefore become isolates. They are never this way in foods we eat. Furthermore, they are in much higher concentrations in aspartame. Aspartame is 50% phenylalanine and 40% aspartic acid. In food, phenylalanine is only about 4-6% of the amino acid chain. Likewise, methanol while in natural foods as well is always bonded in a compound with a natural anitdote, which wards off any potential harmful effects. Otherwise methanol, wood alcohol, is well-known poison. There is no antidote in aspartame. The methanol then also converts into formaldehyde, well-known carcinogen above 86 degrees F, and remember the body is about 98.6.
      (employed by Wisdom Natural Brands, the makers of SweetLeaf Stevia)

  • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.monticue Elizabeth Storch Monticue

    This information makes me wish I used aspartame so I could remove it from my diet and be cured of my fibromyalgia. Alas, it’s not so simple. I haven’t ingested aspartame in years. I need a different magic bullet, I guess.

    • LynnCS

      The magic bullet is not just one thing, but eliminating all animal products, refined, and prepackaged products. Add as much color from vegis as possible. Have a bowl of fruit and berries, melons etc first thing in the morning and through the day, and a big bowl of greens in the eve. Eliminate all overt oil. Check out the ratio of nutrients in greens and other vegis on the internet. Most of us have been surprised to see that we can get all we need from a high quality, well thought out vegan diet. My fibromyalgia is all but gone. You can do it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ruby.lerouge.9 Ruby Le Rouge

    I have been suffering for Fibromyalgia for 15 years now, I never use aspartame or artificial sweeteners in my diet, so it is not the cause. I think it is important to clarify that it isn’t the cause, or the cure. There isn’t a real study here, just speculation, so it would be nice to see something more than subjective pseudoscience. I do agree that aspartame is poison, and will never use it and that no one else should consume the stuff either, but when dealing with diagnosed illnesses such as this, which are under constant speculation as to whether it is a valid condition (which it is, trust me >.<), one must tread lightly. It would be more ethical to say that there is some speculative evidence that aspartame is linked to causing wide spread nerve and muscle pain, instead of listing a specific condition with no proper studies.

    • bigdogakita@gmail.com

      imitrex and pristix helps with the headaches…doc’s scripts. I have super drink solition that pretty well covers the spectrum of vitamins and trace minerals. Inflammation reduction is key for pain relief. Would rather give this info out by means of person to person email. Don’t want anyone thinking i”ve found a cure… yet…I don’t want to affend anyone. Just hope I can help. I do understand suffering. Hospitalization eventually trned into ARDS, 30 days respirator. Not expected to live. Suprise, suprise.

      • bigdogakita@gmail.com

        instaflex 4 severe knee joint pain 3 weeks pain reduced 50%.

    • Kelli Brian

      check out CandidaCleanser.com

  • bigdogakita@gmail.com

    ruby, I am in your shoes as well. Thyroid (tsh) 79, Diabetes 2, chronic pain, migraines, bed 20+ hrs daily. Throid peroxidase showed @ 51.2. 500% higher than should be on lab test after evrything else was fixed with synthetic drugs. Switched from levoxyl .275 to armour thyroid with t4/t3 and I am ramping up the dosage as fast as possible. If you are in similiar position Nopal prickly pear cactus fruit can bring down pain levels 25% after 30 days @ 6oz. daily. Can not miss a day or pain will return. kurt. bigdogakita@gmail.com

    • Kelli Brian

      cheu CandidaCleanser.com

  • bigdogakita@gmail.com

    thyroid, fibro, diabeties, chronic pain, migraines, depreesion, sleep apnea, insomia, level 8.5 pain. Fentyal patch 50mcg will reduce pain levels to 3-4. Neurotoxin domoic acid poisons people and causes permanent short term memory loss. I have short and long term memory loss and inability to remember 90% of what I KNEW and DAILY what I LEARN. Driving was nearly impossible. Hopes some of this helps someone. kurt. bigdogakita@gmail.com

    • beccadoggie10

      bigdogakita, I am so sorry for your misery. I had some of those problems after I was poisoned with volatile organic compounds in the 90′s and aspartame in the 80′s. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Have your read Medical doctor, Neal Barnard’s book, Foods That Fight Pain. It has helped me and it may help you as well. He gives some of the ailments that you have. If you eat a good plant based diet, perhaps you can back off some of the drugs.

      I still have big memory problems but instead of trying to remember the past, I live for the moment. I had days when I meant to drive one direction to Baton Rouge and ended up in Lake Charles, the opposite direction, plus could not remember how I got there. That was solved by my not leaving my neighborhood again. Being in a fog inside my home was solved by eliminating the wall to wall carpeting and putting in porcelain tile floors. That was a major improvement.

      Stay in the present. Write notes to yourself and keep track of what affects you. That’s what I did and it helped me, because then I could communicate with a caring doctor, when I found one.

      God be with you.
      Becca

  • debbie

    Has anybody ever herd of Qivana Essentials, it’s an all natural anti inflammatory that helps with Fibro and many other joint aches and pains. You can see them at http://www.qivanaproducts.com or visit http://www.astorr.myqivanabeta.com

  • Kathleen Kreiselmeyer

    I had such severe muscle pain that I was unable to lift my arms over my head. I was fortunate enough to find an MD calling himself an Environmental Allergist. He took my history of drinking Diet Pepsi in large quantities for several months & suggested that I stop this for three weeks to see what would happen before doing expensive & invasive testing. The symptoms resolved within several days.

  • Ronald Chavin

    Here’s an interesting study of the formaldehyde content of various foods:
    http://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/programme/programme_rafs/programme_rafs_fa_02_09.html

    This results of this study suggest that vegans would have a substantially higher intake of formaldehyde than people who eat both animals and plants. Vegans would be getting their formaldehyde from fruits, berries, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, teas, and mushrooms. “Soft drinks” contained only 8.7 mg/kg of formaldehyde in this study. I wonder if they had measured the formaldehyde content of a sugar-sweetened soft drink or an artificially sweetened soft drink? Or maybe both types of soft drinks contained approximately the same amount of formaldehyde?

    According to other studies, when large amounts of aspartame were fed to humans, there was no detectable increase in blood formaldehyde levels:
    http://andevidencelibrary.com/topic.cfm?cat=4089&auth=1

    One benefit of aspartame that even the people who sell aspartame have never mentioned is that aspartame will block the cancer-causing effect of the mycotoxin, ochratoxin A, which is almost always present in very small quantities in coffee and cocoa. Ochratoxin A has also been detected in nuts, seeds, whole grains, grapes, pork, and water-damaged homes:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9137807
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ochratoxin_A

  • Julie

    I stopped smoking last October and started chewing my way through dozens of nicorette lozenges which the main ingredient is aspartame. I have just do e some research and saw this so as from today I will stop using this. I’m desperately hoping this will help. I’ll keep you posted…

    • Thea

      Julie: Good luck to you. I’ll think good thoughts for your success.

    • Susan

      Hi Julie,
      I stopped smoking nearly 40 years ago “cold turkey” using KAL brand Nutritional Yeast and avoiding foods that became associated with my bad habit of lighting up after meals.

      Nutritional yeast is far healthier than Nicorette.