Aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG) are two primary food additives whose only function is to taste better and sell more products. MSG is used in processed and prepackaged foods as a flavor enhancer. Aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener also known as Equal, Spoonful, Indulge, Equal-Measure, and NutraSweet.
These products are known as excitatory neurotransmitters, meaning they increase levels of electrical activity in the brain and excite brain neurons. They also increase levels of electrical activity in the area where tinnitus is perceived, the auditory cortex, thus increasing tinnitus.
The topic of this article is controversial and the Food and Drug Administration and food industry have denied much of it. Claims are that too many glutamates, from MSG, or too much aspartate, from aspartame allows the influx of too much calcium into brain cells, triggering excessive amounts of free radicals and the cells die. In essence, these compounds have excited the neural cells to the point of death. Ginkgo biloba helps to protect the neuronal systems in the brain and mitigate some damage done by the excitotoxins.
73% of all food complaints are related to aspartame. Some of the documented symptoms from these complaints are: joint pain, breathing difficulties, insomnia, heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, muscle spasms, weight gain, fatigue, vision problems, irritability, depression, nausea, vertigo, seizures, hearing loss, tinnitus, memory loss, and migraine headaches. There is also a large amount of evidence linking aspartame to: brain tumors, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, lymphoma, mental retardation, birth defects, hypoglycemia, diabetes, and Fibromyalgia.
It is also possible that aspartate and glutamate are partly responsible for the increase in Adult Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD) and children’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
It is a common belief that aspartame should not have been allowed in foods and beverages, such as diet sodas. Those with tinnitus and other neurogically degeneratative conditions should not partake in anything that has the words, “diet”, “lite”, “no calorie”, or “low calorie”, on the label. Evidence shows that aspartame causes a craving for carbohydrates and therefore, diet drinks do not promote weight loss anyway. Using common sense is the best way to manage chronic conditions and avoid products that may aggravate or worsen the problem.
It is nearly impossible to completely avoid foods containing substances that cause hearing loss, tinnitus, and neurological damage, but we should avoid over-processed and pre-packaged foods as much as possible.
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