Aspartame May Cause Autism
This week on the Harmony With Food Radio Show, I talked about a new study that links aspartame consumption and autism, how gut issues cause symptoms outside of the digestive tract, and how to treat them.
A healthy gut should be permeable enough to absorb nutrients while keeping in food, bacteria, other microbes, and their components inside the gut. Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, happens when the gut barrier becomes inflamed and damaged. Things like the standard American diet, stress, alcohol, lack of sleep, or eating foods that you can’t tolerate can all cause this.
You can think of the gut barrier as a cheesecloth that allows certain things to pass through and filters out the rest. But when you develop a leaky gut, larger gaps form, and things that shouldn’t be leaving the gut, like bacteria and food particles, start getting into the bloodstream and vice versa.
The good news is that the gut barrier can be healed. I’ve found that identifying and eliminating food sensitivities are key. Did you know that approximately 1 in 7 people have food sensitivities without realizing it?
You used to have to do a time and labor-intensive elimination diet to find out what your food sensitivities were, and often times a few problem foods were missed. Thankfully, we now have the microarray technology to identify what foods you can and can’t eat through testing.
The symptoms of food sensitivities include:
Migraines and headaches
Inability to focus
Moodiness, anxiety, and depression
Digestive issues, including constipation, diarrhea, gas, and bloating
Treating Leaky Gut
Just because you have leaky gut doesn’t mean that you are stuck with it for life. Let’s talk about treating it.
Step 1: Test, Don’t Guess
The first step to treating leaky gut is finding out what is causing it. Microbiome and food sensitivity testing are very helpful for this. Food sensitivity testing will identify any foods you don’t tolerate that could be contributing to leaky gut and inflammation. Microbiome testing will give us a full picture of your gut health, including inflammation markers, potential pathogens, and the overall balance of your gut bacteria.
Step 2: Remove Pathogens and Bad Bacteria
Leaky gut can also be caused by pathogens like parasites or an overgrowth of bad bacteria, which is also known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). In this case, our next step will be to kill the bad bacteria with natural antibiotics so that the good bacteria can start to thrive again.
Step 3: Restore the Good Bacteria
Next, we will restore your gut’s good bacteria using prebiotics, probiotics, bitters, and other natural supplements.
Aspartame May Cause Autism
A new study shows that daily early-life exposures to diet soda and aspartame are associated with autism in males. If you’ve listened to my show for a while, then you know that do not like artificial sweeteners and they are associated with many problems. Aspartame is the leading artificial sweetener in the US for diet sodas, and it is found in many other products as well.
This study showed that the men with autism in the study had more than triple the odds of having been exposed to aspartame daily, either when the mother was pregnant or breastfeeding, usually through drinking diet soda.
Another study showed that Autism genes are selectively targeted by environmental pollutants like pesticides, heavy metals, bisphenol A, phthalates, and many others in food, cosmetics, or household products.
Toxins from your food and environment have also been shown to sensitize the immune system and increase inflammation, so you really have to be careful. Make sure you are looking at what you’re drinking, what you’re eating out of, your skin care products, and your household cleaning supplies.
I know that can be overwhelming, so three things you can start with are:
Eating organic so you can avoid toxic pesticides.
Avoiding the microwave, and especially avoiding heating anything up inside of plastic bags or containers. The plastic can actually leech into your food when it is heated this way.
Ditch artificial sweeteners, this includes aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), acesulfame potassium (Sweet One, Sunett), and saccharin (Sweet'N Low), and sucralose (Splenda).
When it comes to environmental toxins, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. After all, what are you going to do - stop breathing the air? But just making a few changes can make a big difference.
Leaky Gut Causes Problems Outside the Digestive Tract
We know that over 50% of people with Celiac Disease have symptoms outside of the digestive tract, even though the disease targets the small intestine. We see the same thing when people are suffering from food sensitivities.
My older sister went through the same story we hear often: she used to be stick thin, then she had a couple of kids and gained about 20 pounds. She also had headaches, asthma, skin rashes, and eczema. We worked together and did testing and she no longer has eczema or suffers from asthma. In fact, she no longer needs inhalers and is able to work out all the time! I personally had eczema as well until I did testing and found that I’m gluten intolerant.
Increasingly, research is linking imbalances in the gut to diseases that may not at first seem connected to gut function. There are several researchers who have linked leaky gut with respiratory disorders and eczema.
This is why it’s so important to test, not guess. You may think you have a disorder of a different system, but if you aren’t finding the root cause of that disorder and treating it, you’ll likely be stuck on expensive medication for the rest of your life.
If you’re ready to feel better and get to the bottom of your symptoms, click the button below to schedule a free call with me to see if testing is right for you.