Aspartame and The Brain
Aspartame, a zero calorie sweetener often found in diet beverages, may be more harmful than we already know. The chemical found in sweeteners like Equal and Nutrasweet, may modulate brain neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, leading to depression, headaches, and possibly even dementia if used long-term.
Recently, a study was released in which the frequent consumption of diet beverages was linked to depression and other mental health disorders. Compared with people who said they didn’t consume diet drinks, those who had at least one per day suffered three times more strokes, and were three times more likely to develop dementia. When consuming high-aspartame diets, participants in the study dealt with irritable mood, exhibited more depression, and performed worse on spatial orientation tests.
Aspartame acts as a chemical stressor by elevating plasma cortisol levels and causing the production of excess free radicals. Headaches, insomnia and seizures are also some of the neurological effects that have been encountered, and these may be accredited to changes in regional brain concentrations of catecholamines, which include norepinephrine, epinephrine and dopamine. This could lead to bigger problems down the line because when these neurotransmitters are out of their natural concentrations, this could seriously affect mental health.
For healthier alternatives, it turns out that Erythritol may actually be one of the safest, due it actually having antioxidant properties. Stevia Leaf is another great alternative.