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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.