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Can Consuming Aspartame Damage Your Thyroid Gland?

There has been a lot of controversy over aspartame, which is an artificial sweetner that has been linked to numerous health issues. If you perform a search in Google or any other search engine under “aspartame side effects”, you will find plenty of information which should convince you to avoid this artificial ingredient. Of course you can’t believe everything you read on the internet, but there seems to be enough evidence which proves that this ingredient is best to be avoided. Truth to be told, this doesn’t just apply to aspartame, but other artificial ingredients as well. Aspartame just happens to be one of the most infamous artificial ingredients out there.

Some of the different symptoms related to the consumption of aspartame include headaches, muscle spasms, slurred speach, heart palpitations, and memory loss. Keep in mind that this is a very short list, as this artificial ingredient has been tied to dozens of different symptoms and conditions. One of the most interesting sources I’ve come across on the dangers of aspartame is on Dr. Mercola’s website (www.mercola.com), as there’s an article entitled “Apartame: What You Don’t Know Can’t Hurt You”. The article talks about the three chemicals aspartame is made up of (aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol), and discusses how these chemicals can cause problems.

For example, Dr. Mercola discusses how Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, who is a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississipi, published a book which showed the damage caused by the ingestion of excessive aspartic acid from aspartame, using almost 500 scientific references. You can of course read this article to find out specifically how aspartame causes damage.

Dr. Mercola also discusses how ingesting aspartame can lead to high levels of phenylalanine, which can also lead to numerous health issues: “Excessive levels of phenylalanine in the brain can cause the levels of seratonin in the brain to decrease, leading to emotional disorders such as depression. It was shown in human testing that phenylalanine levels of the blood were increased significantly in human subjects who chronically used aspartame.”

As for methanol, which is the third ingredient in aspartame, the article reveals that no more than 7.8 mg of methanol should be consumed daily, but “a one-liter (approx. 1 quart) aspartame-sweetened beverage contains about 56 mg of methanol. Heavy users of aspartame-containing products consume as much as 250 mg of methanol daily or 32 times the EPA limit.” As for the symptoms from consuming too much methanol, the article states that “symptoms from methanol poisoning include headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness and shooting pains in the extremities, behavioral disturbances, and neuritis.”

Does Aspartame Affect Thyroid Health?

As for whether aspartame directly causes harm to the thyroid gland, this artificial sweetener seems to affect the entire endocrine system. There seems to be a lot of “case studies” which suggest that this ingredient can affect thyroid gland activity. There have been people with both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism who stopped taking aspartame and showed a quick improvement in their condition.

I did try to do some research regarding the chemical components of asparatame, and while I couldn’t find any evidence that an excess in the amount of aspartic acid directly causes harm to the thyroid gland, it does seem that excess amounts of phenylalanine and methanol can lead to thyroid malfunction. For example, while phenylalanine is important for the formation of thyroid hormone, an excess of phenylalanine has been show to prevent an adequate amount of tyrosine from reaching the thyroid gland, which of course can affect thyroid function. An excess of methanol also seems to have an effect on thyroid health.

The truth is that while consuming aspartame can potentially cause or contribute to a thyroid condition, it does seem that most of the symptoms and conditions related to the consumption of aspartame are neurological in nature. Of course just like the thyroid gland, the nervous system affects every single tissue and cell in the body, and so either way, it’s a good idea to avoid aspartame. And as I mentioned earlier, it of course is best to minimize your consumption of all artificial ingredients. Although aspartame has been linked to many different symptoms and conditions, other artificial ingredients can also have a negative effect on your health.


 

7 Comments

  1. Gerald says:

    I have hyperthyroidism and I am extremely underweight, skinny and small for my age. I’m 32 but people mistake me for a 19 year old hyper teenager {LOL}. That is how skinny and young I look.

    I’m planning on going the all natural route with Essential Oils like Melissa {Lemon Balm}, Bugleweed and Motherwort alongside minerals such as Selenium, Magnesium and Iodine. There’s two good products that I discovered online called ThyroSoothe and PureCalm from Native Remedies.

    So my first question is this:

    1. If I start taking something like ThyroSoothe, PureCalm and some of the above mentioned minerals daily will my Thyroid and metabolism slow down to optimal/balanced levels and cause me to gain some weight or kick start some of my natural growth hormones?

    I plan on doing some hardcore exercise and strength conditioning and turning any gained body fat into muscle so it’s no scare for me. I promise you I am seriously underweight for my age, so I am not afraid to put on like 30 pounds or more!!!

    And my second question is as follows:

    2. How will I know if this stuff is working correctly? Will I start to just feel real drowsy every day and move much slower? Will I know instntly that my body is growing and getting bigger or does it take a long time to notice these drastic changes?

    Okay I understand that most people always talk about losing weight and slimming down and I get that {LOL}! But what about us skinny people who have super fast metabolisms {hyper thyroids} and need to gain weight!

    Is this a good natural path and solution because I definitely am not putting radioactive iodine in me?

    Help – this condition is ruining my social life!

    Thank you for anyone who can answer my questions with some real world experience, you are much appreciated :)

    Gerald

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Gerald,

      Obviously everyone is different, and so I can’t predict how you will respond to taking these herbs. But they very well might help to regulate the thyroid hormone levels, which should help you to gain weight, assuming you eat well, and consume high quality protein. As for how you will know if it’s working, besides experiencing changes in your symptoms, the blood tests should also show improvement. Just keep in mind that taking this approach alone may not completely restore your health back to normal, and you probably will want to test your iodine levels just to make sure you’re deficient and to help determine how much you should take.

  2. Gerald says:

    Thanks for the response. I will make sure to try these supplements and also take some Iodine.

    I will let you know my results and changes.

  3. Chris says:

    Gerald,

    Check out videos by Dr. Robert Morse. All problems begin at the cellular level. Everything is derived from a cell. Cells make tissues which make organs and then we are who we are. So doesn’t it make sense to fix the CELL? What do we have besides the cell? 2 fluids, blood and lymph. Blood carries nutrients, and lymph removes the waste products. Waste products are acidic. Acids lead to congestion, capillary damage, lowered oxygen, etc. When people intake foods that are acidic (all but fruits and veggies), this burdens the body. When you do this all the time, you build up toxins and wastes faster than you can eliminate them. And when this happens you get diseases, syndromes and whatever else they want to “call it”. The origin and cause is all the same.

    Don’t take out your trash or flush your toilet for 4 weeks and tell me how your health is. That’s the macrocosm of you. Why would it be any different on the microcosm? So then working back up, the cell, the tissue, the organs, and your health and perception. Health isn’t as hard as people make it to be.

    Cheers.

  4. Chris says:

    I meant the origin or cause of all diseases are the same. Unhealthy cells. That’s why you always move the lymph fluid and “take out the trash” while strengthening the organs – kidneys, adrenals, liver and GI. All the ones responsible for detoxing. That and use a sauna to sweat them out. The skin is your third kidney.

  5. Fiona Scott says:

    Hello,
    I was interested to read about artifical sweetners and thankfully stopped consuming 10 years ago. I am contacting you as I noted a query from another reader enquiring about the use of herbal medicine to treat hyperthyroidism, from my own experiences herbal medicine has caused problems.
    I was given a herbal tincture mix containing Ashwaganda which is used by herbalists to help with adrenals. Since taking the herbal medicine for periods over a year I believe that I suffered thyrotoxicosis, something awful happened to my thyroid – I can no longer consume certain foods, herbal teas and medication even supplementing with iron is out of the question, use of an oestrogen (transdermal) also.
    I have since suffered bouts of extreme heat, hair loss/eyebrows – 1st symptoms were heat, weight loss, and a feeling of swelling in neck, this has continued although there has been some improvement.
    I suffer with swelling in front of neck, extending to ear and back of neck along with symptoms of heat.
    Something affected me badly whilst taking this herbal medicine, little is known about the affects of certain herbs relating to thyroid function.
    I have certainly paid quite a high price with my health and all to try and help with severe symptoms of endometriosis.
    I believed I suffered with low thyroid function initially but then something changed. All blood tests show that I am well, everything appears normal but it is clearly not.
    My question is how would the herbal medicine have impacted the thyroid, is the damage to the thyroid permanent? I have spoken with a few doctors in the UK (England) and not one has heard of this problem before.
    Thyroid dissorders are not really investigated fully here, and doctors tend to rely on blood tests alone, 1 result i.e. TSH and no other hormone.
    I do believe that medication(common sense), alternative medicine although seemingly gentle can all have a negative impact on thyroid function, yet there seems to be little documentation relating to this.
    Apologies for long winded mail, I am interested – would you kindly point me to further information is possible.
    Many thanks
    F. Scott

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Fiona,

      This isn’t something I commonly experience in my practice with my patients, as I commonly give herbs without them having a problem. However, everyone is different, and there are patients who react to certain herbs. I’m not sure if the problems you’ve described are related to your thyroid health. Although some of the symptoms you mentioned are common when someone has a thyroid problem, symptoms such as not being able to consume certain foods, supplements, and medications usually doesn’t mean that something is wrong with one’s thyroid health, but usually relates to a problem with either toxins or gut health. If I had to guess I’d have to say it’s a problem related to toxic overload, although there is a chance it could be related to something else. I would first make sure you have a healthy gut, and assuming this is the case you might want to work with a natural healthcare professional who can put you on a detoxification program.

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