Saturday, April 7, 2012

Artificial Sweeteners

So, today is "Health Activist's Choice," so I'm going to actually finish one of the blog posts that I started a while back.

I've known that aspartame, NutraSweet, sucralose, Splenda, and any other artificial sweetener can cause problems for Migraineurs, but something that was mentioned in an article titled, Migraine Triggers: Artificial Sweetener, go me thinking...

I've known for some time that I'm sensitive to artificial sweeteners. But, my tolerance for migraine triggers have definitely changed since my auto accident in 2008.

I was thinking back to the years before the accident, and it occurred to me that I used to drink Crystal Light (contains aspartame) almost daily while I worked. I had headaches (I experienced migraines, too, but not frequently), but I always attributed it to long / unusual work hours and stress. I didn't notice any correlation with consuming aspartame.

I also remembered that I had told my mom a little while back that I used to get headaches when I ran - cross-country and track (middle- and high- school). What just occurred to me was that it might've, at least in part, been due to all of the gum I used to chew. I always had gum in my mouth when I ran and/or played softball. And, since the dentist was so concerned about cavities, I chewed the sugar-free gum... which has aspartame. I know I'm sensitive to aspartame, and I wonder if that's actually part of what my "workout headaches" were. It's an interesting thought.

I loved running so much (they helped me deal with every emotion - depression, anxiety, fear... and even happiness... I also thrived off the competition and I loved being able to push myself harder and reach my goals)... I guess I just dealt with the headaches. I should note a few things here... these were headaches, not migraines. I was still able to function. Even if they were moderately severe, they improved as I cooled down and re-hydrated after a run... my migraines don't improve with much of anything really.

Anyway, it's interesting to me how what we eat and drink can affect us so much. Even things like the type of gum we chew can trigger headaches in some of us (I don't even chew it anymore - between the chewing motion and the choice of sugar / cavities -or- aspartame... it's just not worth it).

This post was written as part of the Health Activist Writer's Awareness Challenge (HAWMC).
Disclaimer: Nothing on this blog is intended as medical or legal advice.

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