Aspartame and Seizures

donding

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I've done a lot of research on this subject and even ask a couple of neurologist about this. Most just dismiss it and say there is no connection. Well I think there is a connection. I'll tell ya why.

I started having seizures out of the blue in 1994. I have a bunch in one day then I'm good for another 30 to 60 days. I take Lamactal, but nothing controls them, just makes them less severe. I started drinking diet soda about that same time frame. I drank anywhere from 18 to 20 cans a day. Well I went off the diet soda about two and a half weeks ago. I'm going to see what happens. BTW aspartame is an inactive ingredient of Lamactal.

Do the research on this subject. Just google aspartame and seizures. Look at the independent websites. The FDA should never have allowed it in our food supply. There are a lot of side effects to aspartame toxicity and I have a lot of them.

What does everyone else think?
 

AlohaBird

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Oh, yeah. Aspartame and glutamate are the two big ones to watch out for. Diet soda is poison and should not be allowed on the market.

You might get some interesting info from the website of Dr. John Symes (dogtorj.com).
He has what he calls the GARD diet (glutamate aspartame restricted diet). It is working really well for me.

http://dogtorj.com

I didn't know that Lamactal had aspartame in it but that is par for the course. Give somebody a known seizure trigger in the guise of a seizure medication.:soap:
 
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masterjen

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I haven't had any problems with consuming aspartame, but then again I have never consumed 18-20 cans of diet soft drinks in a day either LOL! You know what the experts say: everything in moderation. Perhaps the amount of aspartame in 18-20 cans of pop (plus wherever else it may be in what you eat or drink) would be disruptive to anyone's brains and bodies in some way (ie. not necessarily causing a seizure), whether or not they had epilepsy.
 

donding

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I didn't know about it until I was doing research on the dangers of statin medication after the doctor put my husband on it and it made his blood sugar go up. Needless to say he doesn't take it and neither do I. One thing went to the other. I was a bit shocked. There are so many side effects. No doctor ever ask if I was taking in aspartame or even warned me about it and I've been to a lot of different neurologists.
 

donding

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Actually the initial research showed brain tumors in rats then they did a research study with monkeys and they had grand mal seizures. FDA should never have declared it as safe.
 

valeriedl

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Does the soda have caffeine in it? Diet soda can still have caffeine in it. Caffeine can be a huge seizure trigger, it is for me and many other people. By drinking that much soda you should be getting a ton of caffeine. I drink a large amount of caffeine free soda a day that has aspartame in it and have never had any problems with it.
 
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AlohaBird

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Caffeine definitely compounds the problem but donding is right that the aspartame is a hazard in and of itself.

You say you have never had problems with it but are your seizures fully controlled? Could they be as well controlled on less meds?

Donding has a point that the research is there, clear and lots of it, a really flagrant FUBAR on the part of the FDA.
 

donding

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Yes it has caffeine in it and I'm sure that has something to do with it also. I had been drinking regular soda for years with no problem up until I changed to diet soda, because of my husband, back in 1994. That was when I had my first seizure was in 1994. I'm drinking regular soda now, 2 a morning, and iced tea for the rest of the day. I'll see how it goes. I'm gonna give it at least 6 months to see what happens. BUT I will never go on aspartame again no matter what happens.
 

valeriedl

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I usually only drink maybe about 2 cans a day. I don't know if that's considered large or not. Even when I was drinking things without aspartame in it I was still having seizures.

My seizures are not controlled with medicine. My neuro has tried to put me on less meds and sometimes I've been ok and other times I haven't. I might be ok and they will decrease or stay the same and other times I need to have all that med in my body or I'll have more seizures.
 

donding

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My seizures have never been controlled. I've been on to many seizures medicines to count. You might want to start paying attention to the amount of aspartame intake compared to when your seizures are worst. You have to remember that aspartame is in more than just diet soda.
I'm going to see if going off the poison will make a difference.
 

Nakamova

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Aspartame can be problematic for people with a low seizure threshold or other kinds of sensitivities. But the vast majority of people suffer no ill effects when they consume it in moderation. Same goes for MSG -- otherwise the population of China would have a higher per capita seizure rate than anywhere else in the world. And KFC would never have any repeat business -- their foods contain more MSG than those offered by the average Chinese restaurant. I'm not an advocate for either of those substances, just wanted to add a little perspective.

Don't get me wrong -- aspartame is not "real" food, and I don't consider it part of the healthy diet. I think that it contributed -- in part -- to my initial seizures. People with vulnerable brains should avoid it. But the greatest danger comes from high levels of consumption over long periods of time. It's dismaying that aspartame is an ingredient in Lamictal and other pharmaceuticals, but the amount is not enough to have a triggering effect.

Donding, if you were consuming 18 to 20 cans a day, there were probably multiple factors at work that were triggering for you. Aspartame yes, but also caffeine (as valerie mentioned above), sleep issues, blood sugar imbalances, and magnesium deficiency (related to phosphoric acid content in both regular and diet sodas).

I think it's great that you've sworn off diet sodas, and I hope you are able to remain seizure-free. Generally speaking, moderation is good for people with epilepsy, so I hope adopting a more moderate approach will pay off for you.
 

George__

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Could it be the food associated with soda drinking? When I drink soda it's diet due to calories and it's usually eaten with junk food like hamburgers, pizza etc.
 
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AlohaBird

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Aspartame can be problematic for people with a low seizure threshold or other kinds of sensitivities. But the vast majority of people suffer no ill effects when they consume it in moderation. Same goes for MSG -- otherwise the population of China would have a higher per capita seizure rate than anywhere else in the world. And KFC would never have any repeat business -- their foods contain more MSG than those offered by the average Chinese restaurant. I'm not an advocate for either of those substances, just wanted to add a little perspective.

Don't get me wrong -- aspartame is not "real" food, and I don't consider it part of the healthy diet. I think that it contributed -- in part -- to my initial seizures. People with vulnerable brains should avoid it. But the greatest danger comes from high levels of consumption over long periods of time. It's dismaying that aspartame is an ingredient in Lamictal and other pharmaceuticals, but the amount is not enough to have a triggering effect.

Donding, if you were consuming 18 to 20 cans a day, there were probably multiple factors at work that were triggering for you. Aspartame yes, but also caffeine (as valerie mentioned above), sleep issues, blood sugar imbalances, and magnesium deficiency (related to phosphoric acid content in both regular and diet sodas).

I think it's great that you've sworn off diet sodas, and I hope you are able to remain seizure-free. Generally speaking, moderation is good for people with epilepsy, so I hope adopting a more moderate approach will pay off for you.
Nak, for the first time ever, I gotta disagree with you. I don't think there is any safe or acceptable level of aspartame. Just because people don't have a problem with it *yet* does not mean they won't some time in the future. Those of us with "sensitive" brains or low seizure thresholds know who we are but most of us (other than cases caused by injuries) did not just wake up one day and become sensitive. How many cases of sensitive brains could have been avoided entirely if these chemical poisons had never been a part of the diet?
And your argument about China's per capital epilepsy rate is contradicted by your own argument about KFC. We are packing in just as much if not more MSG.

Moderation in all things works most of the time. But a moderate amount of poison is still poison. This book is very interesting:

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Excitotoxins-The-Taste-That-Kills/dp/0929173252"]Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills: 9780929173252: Medicine & Health Science Books @ Amazon.com@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51fEscI7YrL.@@AMEPARAM@@51fEscI7YrL[/ame]
 
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Nakamova

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I don't think the KFC argument undercuts my point -- almost everyone in China uses MSG in their daily cooking, whereas the number of people who eat 3 squares a day at KFC is a relatively small percentage of the US population in comparison. :) Aside from that, I'm aware of the neurochemistry, I know that aspartame is virtually identical to aspartic acid and that glutamate = glutamic acid, both neurotransmitters that excite the brain. But the evidence isn't there yet to suggest that everyone who drinks a diet soda or eats a Chinese meal is at risk. If you want to label it a poison, then you have to include in that category alcohol, marijuana, aspirin, caffeine, essential oils and all the other substances that cross the blood-brain barrier and alter neurochemistry in ways that are beneficial for some and toxic for others.

I think we agree overall, but may need to agree to disagree on some of the particulars. Deal?
 

Garbo

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Rather than speculating, I went to the source: science and scholarly research. In 1994, neurologists said there was no correlation between aspartame and seizure activity. According to , Humphries, Pretorius, and Naude point out some flaws in previous research, stating, "'in most cases aspartate concentrations were not significantly affected' [...] If read another way, it suggests that in some cases aspartic acid was [...] increased" (456). They go on to discuss the the correlations between symptoms of MS, seizure disorders, fibromyalgia, etc. and aspartic acid and that the latter may exacerbate these symptoms. Lastly, they close by saying, "It was seen that aspartame disturbs amino acid metabolism, protein structure and metabolism, integrity of nucleic acids, neuronal function, endocrine balances and changes in the brain concentrations of catecholamines. It was also reported that aspartame and its breakdown products cause nerves to fire excessively, which indirectly causes a very high rate of neuron depolarization" (460). And, of course, with almost all medical journals, they say that further testing needs to be done.

One of the first issues that I found with this article was that it did not state how long the research was conducted, who it was conducted on, and how many people it was conducted on (if it was conducted on people at all). Generally in the abstract or the intro, medical journals line all of that information up and this did not mention any of that. It mentioned mice, but our physiological makeup is drastically different, which when a lot of the very negative side effects proved conclusive, they noted that. So, while this is a very flashy journal, it may prove inconclusive it was solely tested on mice-- which, ha, they even state. However, if I have overlooked something, please let me know! I just think it's important to go back to the research being done, you know?

That being said, I think both Nakamova and Alohabird both have good points: the first being that we should be doing more research on this and its correlation with seizures (should we just being putting something innocuously into our bodies? Probably not) and perhaps we should be looking at certain demographics' consumption of their staple foods and how other demographics get sick from that staple food. Rather than mice.
 
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donding

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Here is the FDA research on monkeys showing they had grand mal seizures
http://www.dorway.com/raoreport.pdf

Here is the Bressler Report. The complete one with the rats, not what is shown on the FDA website, but the complete report.
http://www.dorway.com/bresslercomplete.pdf

There was never any human research which to me they should have done rather than making the whole popular a guinea pig.

There is a lot of information about the side effects here
http://dorway.com/about-dorway/

The problem is many of the manufacturers of these products work with the FDA and they rotate from the positions in the FDA right back to positions with these companies that produce it. You can find this information out on the web.
 
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AlohaBird

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I don't think the KFC argument undercuts my point -- almost everyone in China uses MSG in their daily cooking, whereas the number of people who eat 3 squares a day at KFC is a relatively small percentage of the US population in comparison. :) Aside from that, I'm aware of the neurochemistry, I know that aspartame is virtually identical to aspartic acid and that glutamate = glutamic acid, both neurotransmitters that excite the brain. But the evidence isn't there yet to suggest that everyone who drinks a diet soda or eats a Chinese meal is at risk. If you want to label it a poison, then you have to include in that category alcohol, marijuana, aspirin, caffeine, essential oils and all the other substances that cross the blood-brain barrier and alter neurochemistry in ways that are beneficial for some and toxic for others.

I think we agree overall, but may need to agree to disagree on some of the particulars. Deal?
The Chinese may eat more straight Ajinomoto brand MSG than we do but I bet we are ingesting just as much if not more glutamate.
70-80% of the calories in the Standard American Diet (SAD) are from gluten grains, corn, soy and dairy, the four biggest sources of glutamate. Add to that all the products listing "natural flavorings", code for MSG on the labels, plus fast food such as KFC and takeout Chinese. Wash all that junk down with a supersize diet soda containing aspartame and you have a recipe for neurotransmitter overload that would rattle anybody's synapses eventually. Maybe not everybody gets seizures as the manifestation. What if these chemicals are involved in Alzheimer's, depression, bi-polar disorder. We know they cause migraines.
You say "the evidence isn't there" that everyone who eats these chemicals is at risk. Really? Have you read the links donding posted? I don't think we can precisely quantify that risk, true, but there is clearly a risk. Just because someone is able to get away with ingesting these things *for now* and hasn't had a problem *yet*......

Lumping all substances that cross the blood brain barrier together and saying that what is true for one must be true for all makes no sense.

Sorry, Nak. I adore you but we are not going to see eye to eye one this one.

Donding is right. The population at large is being used as guinea pigs without their knowledge. How many will have to suffer seizures, migraines, and who knows what else before the Big Food interests that control the FDA would be willing to admit they have been peddling poison?

Hint. Never going to happen.:soap: Glutamate and aspartame make food taste better because they are neuroexcitatory. They make your taste buds stand up and say "Whoopie". So you eat more of whatever food-like substance is involved. The food producers are never going to give up something so lucrative.

/rant
 
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donding

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Alohabird....that is the one thing aspartame seems to do to me....makes me want more. I found over the years I would drink more and more.

I had a hysterectomy when I was fourty and when I had a bone density test at the same time I was already pre osteoporosis. Of course I now know Aspamtame sucks calcium right out of your bones. Looking back on it, the aspartame issue explains the pre osteoporosis at such a young age.

It's so sad the FDA lets politics get into the way of food safety...not just aspartame but GMO's and MSG's. They all were approved with no human research at about the same time.
 

Nakamova

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Of course I now know Aspartame sucks calcium right out of your bones.
Aspartame can do bad things, but it's low on the list of soda ingredients that factor into bone loss. Phosphoric acid (one of the things that makes cola sodas taste so good) is the biggest culprit. It messes with calcium and magnesium metabolism and leads to the loss of both those nutrients. A cola soda is one of the most acidic things you can consume, and if you drink a lot of those sodas over time your body responds by taking calcium phosphate from your bones, and osteopenia and osteoporosis are the result. (Sugar-based colas are even worse in this respect than aspartame-based ones). An additional factor is that many folks who consume high amounts of sodas may not be getting enough dietary calcium from other sources.

Aspartame probably did cause your cravings for more. It can happen with any kind of sweet taste -- aspartame, sugar, saccharine -- that tells the body to store carbohydrates and fats (which in turn causes the body to crave more food). And particularly when there isn't real sugar in your system (as with saccharine or nutrasweet), then blood sugar nosedives and you crave another soda to get going again. (As a long-time Tab drinker I know exactly what you're talking about).

Aspartame may well be contributing to all sorts of ailments in the American population. but before making it the #1 demon, don't forget to look at other factors that may also be playing a role. (Don't get me started on the BPA that lines every can of soda.)

I'll say it one more time: I am not a fan of aspartame. And I am a fan of listening to your gut about what may be malfunctioning your diet and/or behavior. I am a fan of taking a close look at the chemical mechanisms that may make certain foods and supplements more problematic than others. I'm also a fan of comprehensive science-based studies that confirm what our guts are telling us. I realize there aren't nearly enough of those studies to fill the bill. I'm well aware that there are problems with the FDA, pharmaceutical companies, and other big corporate players that deal in the substances that affect our health and environment. I'm also aware of the problems that can occur when science or pseudo-science is manipulated or misunderstood (cf. the MMR issue). I highly recommend "Bad Science" and "Bad Pharma: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks" by Ben Goldacre.
 

donding

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Aspartame may well be contributing to all sorts of ailments in the American population. but before making it the #1 demon, don't forget to look at other factors that may also be playing a role. (Don't get me started on the BPA that lines every can of soda.)
Sad thing is I was sucking down those sodas straight out of those aluminum cans for 20 years, not to mention the additional 10 years where I was sucking down the regular soda.

I highly recommend "Bad Science" and "Bad Pharma: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks" by Ben Goldacre.
I'll check those out. Thanks
 
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