Goldie Hawn opens up on her struggle with anxiety
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Aspartame has become ubiquitous since it was recommended to diabetics as an alternative to sugar-sweetened foods and drinks. Its use, however, may cause problems for certain individuals who are unable to metabolise it. In recent scientific findings, the sweetener was shown to change the structure of the brain, setting it up for mental disorders like anxiety.
A recent study discovered a potential link between aspartame consumption and anxiety, digoxin toxicity symptoms ecg along with epigenetic changes in the brain.
The research, published in the journal PNAS, found that the popular sweetener produces anxiety-like symptoms in the brains of mice.
Researchers at Florida State University discovered behaviour was brought on by epigenetic changes appearing in the brain’s amygdala.
More worrying yet, is the fact that the changes in brain structure persisted for up to two subsequent generations.
Researchers state that these findings highlight the need for follow-up research into the link between aspartame and anxiety in humans.
The results are in line with previous research which has shown that people who consume high levels of aspartame are more likely to report anxiety than those who consume lower levels.
Additionally, a study published earlier this year in the British Medical Journal found a link between artificial sweeties and circulatory diseases.
It was revealed that regularly having artificial sweeteners was linked to a nine per cent increase in the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Aspartame is a sweetener widely used among the general population because it is 200 sweeter than sucrose or table sugar.
It is present in a wide variety of products, including sodas, sugar-free gum and breakfast cereals.
The additive is used in thousands of drinks and food products globally, so a great deal of research has focussed on assessing its safety and effects.
Some potential health risks linked to the sweetener have included headaches, cancer and dizziness but the research supporting these claims remains inconclusive.
British Heart Foundation says: “It’s well known that added sugar has a harmful effect on our health, in particular because consuming too much of them can lead to excess weight, which can harm our heart and circulatory system.
“This has led to artificial sweeteners being used as a low-calorie sugar alternative in many foods and drinks.”
The sweetener consists of two amino acids known as aspartic acid and phenylalanine, which can be toxic when ingested in large amounts.
More specifically, phenylalanine has been linked to the development of headaches, anxiety and depression, and aspartic acid is believed to cause fatigue, confusion and memory loss.
What health risks are linked to anxiety?
In the UK, as many as eight million people are estimated to experience an anxiety disorder at any one time.
The condition does more than simply make a person worry, it can pave the way for other mental and physical conditions like depression.
The Mayo Clinic says these include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Digestive or bowel problems
- Headaches and chronic pain.
In order to avoid these risks, children and pregnant women are advised to avoid the sweetener completely.
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