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New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 5/14/2008 5:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi all - i'm new on here and just wanted to share some of my experiences as i'm curious to see if anyone else is having the same problems. I apologise in advance if i go on a bit.
Basically over the last 12-18 months i've noticed a gradual decline in my health which has led to the worst month of my entire life where i literally feel like i'm dying.
At the begining of 2007 i started to notice my energy levels were getting low and my ability to remain concentrated on something for a prolonged period of time were diminishing. There were several occasions where i didn't go into work because for some unexplicable reason i couldn't get myself out of bed. My fatigue and lethargy increased throughout the year. I couldn't understand why i was becoming so ill as i'm a postman and fairly physically fit. I also started to have a constant feeling of anxiety for no reason.
Around October 2007 i started to notice a change with my vision, it had become blurry with lots of black floaters. I would also find myself zone out and my vision go blurry, this would go after a few seconds. My optician said my eyes were fine but i knew they weren't.
I was also aware of a sudden increase in my irritability levels and a general feeling of being angry all the time even though i had nothing to be angry about. The anxiety was getting worse and i had developed killer headaches.
Then in early 2008 i suddenly developed full blown Palinopsia (seeing trails behind moving objects & still seeing images of things when looking away from them). This was extremely disturbing and i immeadiately went to the doctors. They had no idea what was causing it and my gp had never even heard of it but thought it may be the anxiety and suggested anti-depressants, i refused. Likewise my opthamologist has been baffled and has since sent me for a head ct which has come back normal.
Ever since then my condition has worsened with new symtoms such as my arms and legs feeling weak. Finding myself struggling to write and the other day forgetting how i hold my fork when eating!!! I have tingling sensations in my limbs and my mouth, my nose and tongue sometimes goes numb and my speech slurs and i struggle to find the words i need. I have pressure in the right side of my head with constant ringing in my ears (incindentally they couldn't find anything wrong with my hearing). I wake up in the morning and i feel like i've been out on a heavy drinking session the night before (i quit drinking and smoking 8 months ago). I have chest pain and shortness of breath but apparently my heart and lungs are fine. I have an overall feeling of being clumsy when doing anything, my balance isn't good at all. By far the worst thing though is the mental fog that has descended upon me. I feel like i'm losing my intelligence and my personality. At times i can't concentrate at all and zone out, i find my self staring into space like some zombie with blurred vision. This is extremely hard to shake off now and is with me most of the day. It's like you're not quite the person you used to be but you can remember who you were but trying to get back to that is like walking through glue.
This last month has been the worst. I feel like i'm one step away from starting to shake, i have developed twitches throughout my body and i feel like i'm going to have a seizure even though i've never had one. I am easily overwhelmed by information whether it be from someone talking to me or the TV, it makes me feel like i'm going to overload. Because of this driving has become difficult so i avoid it. My anxiety has sky rocketed and my anger/irritabilty is at a level i've never experienced, so much so i have distanced myself from relationships. I really don't feel like the person i was and that is very very scary, i honestly feeling like my intelligence is slipping away.
I have grown weary of going to the gp and the a&e as they have no clue as to what is wrong with me, my gp suggested chronic fatigue syndrome. It wasn't until 6 days ago when i went to the a&e because i was having trouble swallowing and speaking that i started to really look into the problem myself. The  doctor at the a&e couldn't find anything wrong with me and the normal head ct scan was only 3 weeks old so she was baffled and suggested i go see my gp.
I came home and researched chronic fatigue syndrome and ended up finding a lot of people with some of my symptoms connecting it with having aspartame in their diet. Surely it can't be as simple as something i've eaten/drunk? I've always drank diet coke but this past year i've been consuming at least 3-4 cans a day. I've just stopped consuming aspartame i hope this helps my problems but i'm not going to hold my breath.
Sorry for rambling on for so long but i just needed to get it out. Has anyone else experienced anything similar?

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 155
   Posted 5/15/2008 9:33 AM (GMT -6)   
my first thought..... was MS however IM not a doctor and I do not diagnos jsut sharing my fuirst few thoguhts,.... might give you a lead....

- my strong recomendation is to go to a Naturalpath Doctor.. you may have a toxic amount of something in your system causing all thse symptoms...
or I see some of these symptoms where I work in Special Care homes..
with MS/ parkinsons/ louy body demnetia. frontal lobe stuff

BUT..... BUT>..
as to your query re: Aspartame
my conviction is its NOT GOOD for you.... & it is a horrible & real health concern yes...
I have done some reading on it &
it will depend on who you talk to:
dietcians & health / natural homopathas will tell you the TRUTH...

it turns to "something like FORMELDHYDE" in our bodies...
we slowly are pickled to death,.....

we can get advice to de-toxify & our health can TURN around..

I am in that process right now..
slowly turning..
seeing results...

write back...

i have to scoot got appointments
but I will check abck

ps: i understand about the forgetting how to hold thing...
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their Strength, they shall mount up on wings as eagles, they shall run & not grow weary, they shall walk & not faint..."  Ish   40 v. 31 
Sjrogrens Syndrome, Asthema, Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Pain, Head aches, Migraines, Gastro Intestinal ProblesmFibro Myalgia , Kidney Stones, Esophegial Spasms,(SI joint,   low mechanical back pain..L4 & L5 Vertebrae Misaligned,  Spinal Stenosis and Degenerative Disc Disease, Bulging Disc, anterolisthesis L4 L5L4 -- S1 pain  caused by osteoarthristis ,bone spurs, causing pinching or pressure on spinal chord 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 5403
   Posted 5/18/2008 8:31 AM (GMT -6)   
cressy, I react very badly to aspartame and have ever since I first got symptoms of lupus. I think it is kind of like poison to a lot of us with chronic illnesses. I don't know how reliable the information is, but I've been reading that aspartame isn't good for healthy people either and can give them some symptoms of chronic illness too. I hope that quitting aspartame helps some of your symptoms go away. Keep us posted.
Diagnosis:  UCTD (lupus) 2006; Raynauds 2006; Sjogren's 2006; lupus symptoms began 2003; CFS 1991; Mono 1985
Meds:  Plaquenil 400mg; Prednisone 5-10mg; Tramadol 100mg 3-4x daily; Doxepin 25-50mg; Prevacid; Evoxac; Steriod Cream and Mouth Rinse for tongue and mouth ulcers; Hydrocodone 5/500 prn for severe pain; Artificial tears



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New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/29/2008 11:42 AM (GMT -6)   
cressy, have you been evaluated for lyme disease?

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 30
   Posted 6/2/2008 6:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello there, this type of place is all new to me but THANK GOD YOU'RE OUT THERE! I've felt distinctly alone since My illness caused the break up of me and my girlfriend. Being restricted hasn't helped. Any way to get back to the point........ i've been lucky in the sense that i cannot drink diet drinks because my tastebuds let me know there is something wrong in them - all i taste is the aspartame. ITS GROSS! I dont know the scientific factas about it but as a holistic therapist ive learned that it gives ladies celulite - the body doesn't recognise fake sugar therefore cannot absorb it hence straight to the thighs. Sorry ladies but steer well clear.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/18/2008 2:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Cressy - Give us an update on how you are doing. Did you stop using aspartame? I recently met a woman who told me that she ended up in the hospital and learned that she had aspartame poisioning. This lead me to do some reading which scared me enough to stop using it - although I didn't even realize how many products it was in. Now 3 days later, I feel awful - headaches, achy, trouble concentrating. I have been dumping at least 2 packs a day into coffee plus diet sodas and other food for the last 15 years! In hindsight, it seems like common sense that it is nothing but chemicals and bad for us, but it is everywhere and in so many products.

New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 6/20/2008 7:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Well i've gone about 6 weeks now without aspartame or MSG which hasn't been easy. Whilst i can tell there's been a distinct improvement in my symptoms i'm still left with quite a few problems.
My concentration levels have increased but not back to the level they were before, this still frustrates the hell out of me. It seems like i have a couple of hours after waking up where i feel ok and then the fatigue and foggy head sets in for the remainder of the day.
My mood has changed somewhat. Before i quit i was extremely eratic with my emotions, totally manic one minute then crying for no reason the next, infact i was so bad my GP thought i might be bi-polar. The first few days after i stopped it felt like i was in a dream world and nothing felt real, i felt emotionally flat as though nothing meant anything to me. This has improved over time but i can tell i'm still not quite right, hopefully time will heal.
The feelings of going to have a seizure have lessened considerably, i still get parts of my face go numb but this also isn't as bad as it was. My muscle spasms and twitches have decreased too but not 100% yet.
My vision is still bad though, i'm still seeing trails behind moving objects, floaters and everything is generally blurred. I'm not too confident about this getting any better.
Plus i've been to the A&E quite a few times the past week due to having chest pains and weakness in my arms. Apparently my heart rate is 64bpm which they say is a little slow and i've got a double beat every now and then. They said this was nothing to worry about but i never had it before and the chest pains do concern me a lot.
I've also gone numb in certain parts of my body and the feeling hasn't returned, not too hopeful about that either.
Another disturbing problem i've been having and still have is difficulty swallowing food. This is terrorfying and i'm sure this is compounded by the fear i have of choking on some food.
I've also noticed that besides becoming sensitive to aspartame products i also can't consume anything with MSG in it. If i do my symtoms get worse, so basically i'm just eating whole foods and cooking everything from scratch. That has been a challnege as before i was the king of microwave food and take aways.
Thinking about it i've had warning signs for quite a few months that something wasn't right, after eating a MSG full take away and consuming half a litre of coke i would get chest pains and shortness of breath. I really wish i'd taken more notice of what my body was telling me before i messed it up so badly. But then again they shouldn't put all that crap in our food really should they?
Anyhoo i've rambled but i do feel about 40% better, some days are better than others but i think i'm still detoxing anyway. Hopefully i'll be feeling even better in a few months. I'm just glad i got off of it, i really believe i'd be dead if i hadn't.
Take care everyone and good luck with your battle.

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/18/2009 5:03 PM (GMT -6)   

I found your post after doing a google search for a number of my own symptoms. Your post was one of the few matches and also included some symptoms I've been experiencing but didn't include in my search.

What I found most disturbing is that you refused treatment for anxiety out-of-hand. Do you understand that it can explain everything you've been experiencing?

Aspartame has gotten a bad name from people who believe all chemicals must be bad for you. I'm sorry to say there is little clinical evidence that it can have such deleterious effects. When researching aspartame please consider each source and each source's tendency towards the naturalistic fallacy. That is, there are people who believe things have to be "natural" to be good for you. It really isn't entirely logical and carefully designed clinical research often demonstrates that things aren't quite that simple. Remember the advent of technology, and chemicals (in agriculture and medicine) has extended the average lifespan by decades and the global population five-fold. Some people will go on to argue that the quality of life has decreased but I would hasten to point out that its awfully convenient to say the phenomena is profound only in the least objective ways. Some chemicals can be bad, natural or otherwise, but the likelihood of aspartame kicking off all your symptoms all at once is nil, while its fairly common for people to experience anxiety or depression that can have such varied symptoms.

That said, I can understand the desperation of wanting to find some external cause that can be manipulated or avoided. I search for this myself, hence finding your post today. Again and again I find the simplest explanation is the best one.

Please offer us another update if you can. Your experience might help me to understand my own.

Best wishes that you will have been feeling better,

New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 3/19/2009 4:21 AM (GMT -6)   

I am fully aware of what anxiety is capable of both mentally and physically but to put my health problems down to this one thing just doesn't work for me. I have suffered from some degree of depression/anxiety my entire life and consider myself to be quite perceptive regarding my state of mind. However i do believe that my stress levels leading up to and susequently throughout my illness does have a part to play.

Firstly can i just say that i'm still ill. My doctors are still totally baffled despite me having numerous blood tests and an MRI. My doc kept suggesting i go to see my psychologist as he believes it is all in my head and my psychologist would tell me to see my gp as they didn't think it was. So they have stuck the chronic fatigue label on me and basically left me to my own devices. Which is a little frustrating to say the least.

My vision still remains totally messed up, pressure and tinnitus in my right ear is still there. All down the right side of my face, head and neck has become super senstiive to touch. If i gently prod any part of it the muscles on that side start to tense up and spasm and it also causes a whooshing sound in my right ear. My neurologist thought this was fascinating and had never seen anything like it and kept prodding my in the temple as i sat there in pain! Still he couldn't explain it.

I have also developed multiple food and chemical sensitivities. This includes things such as dairy, nuts, wheat, nightshades, air freshners, perfumes etc. I've noticed a correlation between what i eat and some of my symtoms. For example if i eat something which contains dairy i start to get tingling sensations throughout my body, tightness in the chest, irritable, very depressed and my fatigue and foggy headedness gets 10 times worse. I didn't make the connection straight away, it's only when i noticed my throat starting to close up after eating certain things i looked into it more. I've basically had to strip my diet right back. I tried reintroducing things several times but keep getting the same reactions. Now my doctors believe i'm having these reactions because i'm expecting to have them. This is not the case at all, if i was expecting to have them i wouldn't keep putting myself through it.

My general level of fatigue is still pretty high, muscle and joint pain throughtout and if i over exert myself it feels like someone has hit me over the head with a hammer. No amount of sleep can refresh me, i wake in the morning and i feel just as exhausted as when i fell asleep. I freely admit that i am depressed, i think anyone would be but to suggest that the depression has caused this is madness. This is a whole new level of depression. Strangely enough though my anxiety levels have dropped but it has been replaced by a totally flat emotional state. It's almost like my senses have been numbed.

Looking back at how all of this started i can pin point a few things that may have contirbuted to it. It all started when i got an inner ear infection and had a tooth removed. I basically had 3 different lots of antibiotics in the space of a couple of months, i wasn't aware at the time how harmful they can be to you. I never fully recovered from the ear infection and ever since my health has declined.

I'm currently looking into the possibility that the combination of over use of antibiotics, a compromised immune system from the ear infection and a high level of stress and an extremely poor diet high in refined fat and sugar has triggered some knd of GI problems. Possibly leaky gut. The permeability of the gut lining would certainly explain my foogy thinking and fatigue and would explain how such chemicals as MSG and aspartame could cause me problems. It would also explain the problems i'm having with reacting to foods to which i never had a problem before.

Basically i don't think it was solely aspartame on it's own that caused my problems, it played it's part i'm sure. I believe that a number of different things all came together at the same time and caused a massive shift in how my body works. Whether i can ever fully find out or explain what has caused this i don't know but i have to remain hopeful for each new theory/idea i come across.

I hope you have success in finding a cure for your ailments.


New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/19/2009 11:38 AM (GMT -6)   

I'm sorry you're continuing to have problems.

I can relate to what you say about how it didn't seem like your stress levels and state of mind didn't seem consistent with your sudden barrage of symptoms. I think you hit a very important point when you said "this is a whole new level of depression". The realization I had in 2006 when I first had a very similar problem was just that. There is a kind of "depression" as portrayed in the media and pop culture that is basically extreme sadness and such. Then there is clinical depression which has a much wider and stranger effect, it's often the case that the patient doesn't understand or know why it has been effecting them. The experience I've heard others talk about and found myself relating to were like yours, including inability to concentrate, strange sensations, aches and pain, confusion. Its not what you see on TV or in the pop culture but it is quite common and it is why your doctors keep suggesting it. I'm sure you are somewhat aware of this but I can only assume you haven't bought into the idea. Whats more, your history of anxiety means you're predisposed to depression.

Since it's been a couple of years for you, can you say you feel like your condition is stable? I'm asking you to take the idea seriously that you should consider treatment for depression. I'm not saying you have to take a lot of pills or anything. From what I've read it is just a much better explanation than some antibiotics you took 2 years ago, or some diet soda.

Do you use instant messenger or anything? I'd like to be able to talk to you about how you're doing from time to time.

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/25/2009 1:54 PM (GMT -6)   
For Cressy75 - While reviewing these posts (with a search on aspartame and health challenges) a couple of things jump out at me that you might consider investigating. The tooth extraction you mention is what jumps out at me. I would highly suggest getting in contact with a holistic dentist (you can search If the area where your tooth was extracted from was not cleaned out well (and many if not most dentists do not take this extra step) you can develop serious infections but the source may not be tracked back to the mouth. Too much use of antibiotics w/o replacement of good bacteria may also be an issue (candida albicans), and another suggestion I have is to get your Vitamin D level checked although this is not related to the extraction. A significant two month Vit D3 dosage and then maintenance and any hint of anxiety or depression I've experienced is gone. If you go the dental route - check out a book called Whole Body Dentistry. If you find a good dentist ask them about other tests you can have done - your body's tolerance for certain metals and/or your own level of heavy metals at this stage of of your life. There is an excellent one in Ellicott City, MD if you are in the DC/MD area. A cranial sacral session may also be helpful (or many). Massage therepists are often trained to do these sessions but you can easily find them through massage therapy or chiropractic offices.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 319
   Posted 5/5/2009 6:13 AM (GMT -6)   
Mark, get your B12 level checked.  Many of these symptoms relate to B12 deficiency.  Anything below 500 is not good.  Doctors will tell you anything below 1000 is good, but that isn't true of all of us.  I take 5000 mcg daily of methylcobalamin B12, and my level is 1015, which tells me, without the B12 supplement, I would be in big trouble. 
Please have your level checked, it's a simple blood test.  Let me know what happens.
We urge all doctors to take time to listen to your patients...don't "isolate" symptoms but look at the whole spectrum.  If a patient tells you s/h feels as if s/he's falling apart and "nothing seems to be working properly", chances are s/he's right!

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 7/30/2009 12:06 PM (GMT -6)   
HI Cressy, I am a new member also just diagnosed with fibromyalgia yesterday! I have had this since 17 years old,I am now 35.The last year has been so bad that I am sick everyday. I feel like I am dying. I have thought this could be related to the fact that I have stopped drinking juice and normal soda 1 year ago and switched to water more often and diet soda.I did this to try and loose weight, it worked! The other day I had a fresca, olny a few sips.My eyes started iching and I got an instant headache, so I took a claritan and I was fine.I then went shopping and took along my fresca,and left it in the car.Came back 3hours later and took a drink instantly my eyes started ithing and the headache came back. i knew then it was the diet soda! I have stopped any diet products since.I do think it has made my life and health worse. It adds up , I have never felt "good" but never this bad either. I think that if you are in poor health aspartane is the woest thing for you.Not sure if this is true but years ago I heard that the guy who invented diet coke or pepsi,{not sure the brand} had a son who drank it all the time and got really sick from it even lost the ability to walk ? Maybe an urban myth but thats what I heard?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 559
   Posted 8/8/2009 7:49 AM (GMT -6)   
about aspartame - I stopped using it, and found a fine natural substitute called "stevia." Wikipedia has a page:

Most health food stores carry stevia. You can order it online from numerous sources - just do a google search to find a supplier.

best regards,
Crohn's since 1988
3 resections

Post Edited (ozonehole) : 8/8/2009 6:52:11 AM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 8/29/2009 6:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Aspertame gives me miserable migraines, and subsequent fatigue. It's poison-and very hard to avoid. I read labels on EVERYTHING these days! (BTW, got the official diagnosis today-Fibromyalgia. I still believe CFS is the biggest component of my problem, but a Fibro diagnosis might help my disability claim along. I keep dreaming that I'm back at work, but as long as I'm as messed up as I have been, that's only dreaming.)

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 9/7/2009 8:40 AM (GMT -6)   
it seems like thyroid issues could explain a lot of what is happening to Cressy75. My Endocrinologist told me "You wouldn't believe some of the symptoms my patients come in here with!"
I have only 1/2 thyroid and my symptoms of hypothyroidism are artificially created, basically. So I take meds. I had some of the issues you guys are talking about. But not the vision. But the lack of clarity in thinking, painful joints and feet, weight gain, depression, lack of motivation, being tired tired tired all the time. yes, all those things are related to lack of thyroxin.
I stopped using diet drinks and diet food about 16 years ago. A doctor told me that it actually makes you feel worse!  And contributes to weight gain.
Because the body cannot recognize it as a food,  it wants to digest something sweet.
You then get Low blood sugar attacks. You see, the body is looking for sugar since aspartame is sweet. And so it goes to the most available sugar source, the brain--- to get it. hence you have all kinds of problems from that.
Anyway, I would get my blood sugar tested but also a thyroid test and SCAN to see if you have an cysts or nodes. I wish you well. Thyroid problems are also complicated and not easily solved.

By the way, getting off all sweetners except stevia is good idea. They are not sure yet about Splenda either. It will take many months even years for your brain to recover. Who knows, this could explain the jump in dementia.

Green Eyes
diagnosed with Lyme in 1994.

Post Edited (Greeneyes2) : 9/7/2009 7:43:42 AM (GMT-6)

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