Research on Parkinson’s disease may have just taken an important leap forward with a new study that reveals a clue as to exactly who may be most at risk of developing this extremely debilitating disorder.
But whether you’re in a Parkinson’s high-risk group or not, there’s one very common food additive you need to be aware of that may intensify the symptoms of Parkinson’s while causing a wide variety of neurological problems for those who don’t have the disease.
Variation on a gene
Could an inherited defect in cell mitochondria (an important energy producing component of the cell) make people more vulnerable to Parkinson’s disease? This is the question researchers at the Duke University Medical School in the US asked when they designed their study, which they say is the first to recognise genetic risk factors for Parkinson’s.
As reported in this month’s issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics, the Duke researchers examined 9 well-understood gene variations in 609 Parkinson’s patients and 340 control subjects that showed no signs of the disease. One gene variation, called J haplogroup, was found to be much more common in subjects that didn’t have the disease.
Furthermore, the variation was more common for those in groups (such as Caucasian females) that tend to have a lower incidence of Parkinson’s. Their conclusion: The inherited J haplogroup gene variation would appear to be protective against the cell mitochondria defect thats typical of Parkinson’s patients.
Although encouraged by their breakthrough, the researchers noted that because all of their subjects were Caucasian, additional biochemical and genetic studies will be needed on a wider variety of ethnic groups to fully understand exactly how the J haplogroup variant manages to protect cell mitochondria.
Not created Equal
In a Duke University press release, the lead author of the Duke study, Dr Jeffery Vance, discussed the difficulties of researching a disease as complex as Parkinson’s, which is caused by both genetic and environmental factors.
Dr Vance didn’t go on to name what those environmental factors might be, but studies have shown that pesticides may be a very likely cause, as well as possible toxins in processed foods. And according to a growing body of evidence, the primary toxin among food sources is the popular sugar-substitute aspartame – better known by its brand name: Nutra-sweet.
Aspartame has been shown to make the unpleasant symptoms of Parkinson’s even more severe for those who have the disease. That of course is bad enough, but it seems that aspartame can also trigger reactions in otherwise healthy people. In some cases these reactions mimic the symptoms of Parkinson’s, as well as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimers disease, and fibromyaliga, to name just a few.
In 1994 the Department of Health and Human Services released a list of more than 60 reported adverse reactions to aspartame, including: chest pains, asthma, arthritis, migraine headaches, insomnia, seizures, tremors, vertigo, and weight gain.
The surprising item on that list is weight gain, given the fact that aspartame is the sweetener used in most diet fizzy drinks. In fact, according to one study, aspartame may actually STIMULATE appetite, prompting cravings for calorie-rich carbohydrates.
But weight gain is nothing compared to some of the horror stories out there.
A regular reader named John wrote in to share some of the details of how a steady intake of diet fizzy drinks prompted a debilitating hormonal reaction to aspartame. The details are no less than tragic, although John was fortunate enough to discover the source of his physical and neurological disorders in time to take the necessary action to nurse himself back to relative good health. I say relative because apparently he will never fully return to the robust health he once enjoyed.
Poison by the litre
The cause of most or possibly all of these adverse aspartame reactions is methanol. When aspartame is combined with the enzyme chymotrypsin in the small intestine, methanol is released and breaks down into formaldehyde, a potent neurotoxin.
Methanol is regarded as being a cumulative poison and it is recommended that you consume no more than 7.8 mg per day. If you drink a one-litre beverage containing aspartame, you ingest 7 times that amount – about 56 mg of methanol!
But it gets even worse. Because if the product containing aspartame is heated to a temperature above 86 degrees Fahrenheit, free methanol is created, speeding up the absorption of methanol, and magnifying the effects of the neurotoxins.
The result? People are hurting – people like John, whose life will never be the same.
The Bottom Line: Don’t drink aspartame.
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