Aspartame-induced fibromyalgia, an unusual but curable cause of chronic pain – Source: Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, Dec 22, 2010

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[Note: aspartame (aka NutraSweet, AminoSweet, etc.) is a low-calorie artificial sweetening ingredient used in countless beverages, foods, gums and candies.]

We report for the first time an unusual musculoskeletal adverse effect of aspartame in two patients.

A 50-year-old woman had been suffering from widespread pain and fatigue for more than 10 years leading to the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. During a vacation in a foreign country, she did not suffer from painful symptoms since she had forgotten to take her aspartame. All of the symptoms reappeared in the days following her return when she reintroduced aspartame into her daily diet.

Thus, aspartame was definitively excluded from her diet, resulting in a complete regression of the fibromyalgia symptoms.

A 43-year-old man consulted for a 3-year history of bilateral forearm, wrist, and hand and cervical pain with various unsuccessful treatments. A detailed questioning allowed to find out that he had been taking aspartame for three years.

The removal of aspartame was followed by a complete regression of pain, without recurrence. We believe that these patients' chronic pain was due to the ingestion of aspartame, a potent flavoring agent, widely used in food as a calorie-saver.

The benefit/ risk ratio of considering the diagnosis of aspartame-induced chronic pain is obvious:

• The potential benefit is to cure a disabling chronic disease, to spare numerous laboratory and imaging investigations, and to avoid potentially harmful therapies;

• The potential risk is to temporarily change the patient's diet.

Thus, practitioners should ask patients suffering from fibromyalgia about their intake of aspartame. In some cases, this simple question might lead to the resolution of a disabling chronic disease.

Source: Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, Dec 22, 2010; ;28(6 Suppl 63):S131-3.  PMID: 21176433, by Ciappuccini R, Ansemant T, Maillefert JF, Tavernier C, Ornetti P. Department of Rheumatology, Dijon University Hospital, Burgundy University, Faculty of Medicine, Dijon, France.

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3 thoughts on “Aspartame-induced fibromyalgia, an unusual but curable cause of chronic pain – Source: Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, Dec 22, 2010”

  1. IanH says:

    Interesting report but I would like to know what the period of remission was. Its one thing in these illnesses to report that substance X was removed and symptoms disappeared but its another to report definitively on the success. It is also critical to show the case definition for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia which is hazy to say the least.

  2. gapsych says:

    Interesting.

    If the aspertain caused the FM symptoms wouldn’t that mean the person did not have FM? I can’t tell from the article.

    I would also like to know if this person is still in remission.

    I can’t tolerate the artificial sweetners.

  3. rt207 says:

    I actually know a woman who had this same reaction to Aspartame. What bothers me about this article though, is the way the writer stated that the Fibromyalgia symptoms disappeared completely. IF these women had been correctly diagnosed with FM, their symptoms could not have disappeared just because of Aspartame! I would love to know how, and by whom, these patients were supposedly diagnosed with Fibro. A lot of the credibility problem with both FM and CFS are the many many people who have been slapped with the diagnosis by a doctor or other clinician who knows nothing about the proper procedures for a true diagnosis! Then when that person tries something that relieves the symptoms of whatever it is that they have, well then they start saying they are “cured”….when they never really had it to start with! Very frustrating for those of us who truly do have these.

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