Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chain Reaction

Hypochondriac: a person who worries or talks excessively about his or her health."

I'm beginning to feel more and more like this word describes me to a T. I've been feeling out of sorts again. When I first started feeling bad a few months ago I was having migraine-like headaches. Knowing I had a history with HBP I assumed that was the culprit. So I took measures to remedy that, including limiting my caffeine intake. Things seemed fine... Then the headaches started again along with severe backaches. I attributed the relapse to the lack of caffeine and my body needing to adjust through the withdrawal stages, as well as dehydration. So I started consuming more liquids, and over a relatively short period of time the symptoms once again dissipated.

Another side effect of caffeine withdrawal, of course, is fatigue. But this symptom should be improving as time goes on, not getting worse. I've been feeling overly tired recently. No matter how long I sleep, whether it's 7, 8, or even 12 hours I feel like it's all I can do to drag myself out of bed in the morning and by early evening I am in desperate need of a nap. And now, for the past several days the headaches feel like they are trying to come back, along with the blurry vision, white spots, and on occasion, nausea. I'm not usually the type to constantly complain about my health but this general "malaise," I guess is the best way to describe it, has got me feeling like I'm going crazy.

After some more research about caffeine and caffeine withdrawal I was led to some research results regarding aspartame. According to Cancer.org the ADI (acceptable daily intake) of aspartame for the average sized adult is approximately 3500mg. Sounds like alot... until I looked on my box of equal. ONE packet of equal contains 1000mg. That amounts to 3.5 packets per day ADI... I've been using AT LEAST 16, oftentimes more. That's more than 4 1/2 times what is considered safe!

Reliable information on the adverse side effects of aspartame is extremely hard, if not impossible, to find on the internet. I did find a reliable article about the MIT Study on which the FDA (at least partially) based its findings. They gave participants in the study 3 mg per 1 kg body weight. That's 3500mg (on average). A "safe" level according to the FDA, but MIT claims that's almost 20 times the average daily intake. I know I'm not an MIT "genius", but those numbers just don't add up for me. That's less than 1/4 of a packet. I think most people use at least one packet in thier morning coffee.

So it's still up in the air as to the effects of taking it in extreme excess, as I evidently have been. While looking for more information I found lots of outrageous claims about the substance. Everything from it causes M.S. and Lupus (a false claim according to Snopes) to the ludicrous claim that it was originally developed as an ant poison, again false according to Snopes. But the general consensus among various laypersons contributing to message boards, etc., is that it caused symptoms for them such as: migraines, hip and joint pain, heart palpitations, restless leg syndrome, frequent urgency to urinate, extreme fatigue, cognitive disfunction or "brain fog", panic attacks, and more.

So after putting all this information together things are beginning to make a little more sense... I think. It seems everytime I take measures to cure one set of symptoms, the cure then creates a whole new set of symptoms to deal with. So now I'm giving up the aspartame. I'm drinking water and orange juice for now. Yes, much healthier than diet tea, but kind of boring especially since I have to limit the fruit juice because of the sugar... *sigh*


  1. Good luck! Personally, I don't consume aspartame, as my DH is phobic about it. He gives Michael J Fox as an example; Michael J Fox is known for drinking Diet Pepsi (a lot) and now suffers from Parkinson's... I know, it's a stretch, but I just stick to sugar. There is a new "sugar" product I've seen advertised, using 2 different types of plants; apparently, you get the same sweetness as sugar, but with only 5 calories per serving. (I think) Here's a link to info, just in case you'd like to know more... https://www.suncrystals.com/

    I hope you find some relief soon! I hate that brain fog feeling! I find B complex helps me to some degree... Again, good luck in your health quest!!

  2. Thanks Melani. I did come across some info about the stevia plant when I was doing some research and plan to try it out. Unfortunately, sugar is really not an option for me. I am genetically predisposed to diabetes. I don't have it now, but I want to keep it that way! Thanks for the link. :)


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