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The Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Headaches

The Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Headaches

Artificial sweeteners are a good option when you like sweet things but don't want the added calories of natural sugar. However, there are some drawbacks to artificial sweeteners, including headaches.

If you're suffering from headaches and need help getting them under control, Dr. Jason Ablett and the team at Pinnacle Health Chiropractic can help. Dr. Ablett evaluates your symptoms and enables you to figure out if artificial sweeteners are the culprit behind your discomfort.

Understanding artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are sugar substitutes that lack the calories natural sugar contains. Most foods that are diet or sugar-free contain artificial sweeteners.

If you're looking to cut down on sugar or lower your calories, sugar substitutes are great. There are a variety of sugar substitutes on the market, which include:

Artificial sweeteners are thousands of times sweeter than regular table sugar, meaning you need less to achieve sweetness. Essentially, these sweeteners are processed chemicals that allow your food and beverages to taste sweet without the added calories from natural sugar.

Although some artificial sweeteners are derived from natural sources, they still undergo processing in a food plant. Because they're processed foods, artificial sweeteners can harm your health, including headaches.

Do artificial sweeteners cause headaches?

There's a definite correlation between artificial sweeteners and headaches. Aspartame and sucralose are two of the biggest culprits, especially when it comes to migraine sufferers.

Typically, you won't get a headache after one serving of artificial sweeteners. You're more likely to suffer a migraine or headache after prolonged use of these chemical sweeteners.

There's also a strong link between aspartame and chronic migraine sufferers. Why is this? It's believed that aspartame affects your brain's serotonin and dopamine levels.

Some migraine medications contain compounds that increase your dopamine levels, which helps to reduce your migraine symptoms. So it makes sense that when you consume aspartame, and your dopamine levels drop, you end up with a severe headache or migraine.

You may also suffer headaches if you are sensitive to one or more artificial sweeteners in your food. Glutamate is one of the byproducts of aspartame, which can trigger severe headaches in some people.

How to prevent headaches

The first step in figuring out what's causing your headaches is a trip to see Dr. Ablett and the team at Pinnacle Health Chiropractic. Dr. Ablett evaluates your symptoms and asks about your diet and intake of artificial sweeteners.

If Dr. Ablett thinks artificial sweeteners contribute to your migraines or headaches, he may have you track your intake of these sweeteners. Tracking your food helps determine if artificial sweeteners contribute to your symptoms.

You may then want to cut out foods and drinks containing aspartame and other artificial sweeteners to avoid headaches or migraines from starting.

If that doesn't work, Dr. Ablett provides other treatments, including chiropractic adjustments, trigger point injections, and relaxation techniques. These treatments should help you manage your headaches and cut out artificial sweeteners.

When you need quick and efficient headache relief, don't hesitate to call our office today to make a consultation or schedule an appointment online using the booking tool on our web page.  

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