If you are a fan of diet cola, then you should are probably aware that its primary sweetening ingredient is a substance known as aspartame. Aspartame is known to interact with the human body in several ways; however, how does aspartame affect those with Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a central nervous system disorder that primary affects older persons, and researchers believe that this condition is caused by a lack of the hormone dopamine within the brain. Dopamine is a chemical neurotransmitter in charge of overseeing muscle movement. When levels of dopamine are reduced, nerve endings within your central nervous system are unable to send accurate signals to the muscles, thus muscle movement and overall function is impaired.
The modern scientific community continually researchers how various substances affects those with Parkinson’s, and according to the latest research, aspartame has little to no effect on those with this nervous system disorder.
What is Aspartame?
Before delving into the effects aspartame may have on Parkinson’s disease, it is important to understand the chemical structure of aspartame. As stated earlier, aspartame is a sweetener commonly found in diet beverages and this substance is comprised of three compounds: aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol.
It is interesting to know that aspartame does not occur naturally in nature, thus it must be made in a laboratory. As you consume this substance, each of the three primary constituents outlined above is broken down and absorbed individually. According to the American Dietetic Association Evidence Analysis Library, methanol is actually converted to formaldehyde within your body.
Aspartame and Parkinson’s Disease:
Upon writing this article, there are no scientific studies available to determine the exact effect aspartame has on Parkinson’s disease. Because of this, it is hard to say if this substance can positively or negatively affect those with this condition.
Those who are anti-aspartame claim that aspartame could potentially cause enhance memory loss or inhibit the absorption of medications; however, this statement is not fully backed by the scientific community.
According to the Aspartame Information Center, The National Parkinson Foundation has stated aspartame cannot and does not block the absorption or effectiveness of Parkinson’s disease medications, and the Alzheimer’s Association has been quoted as saying researchers have found no link between aspartame and memory loss.
Aspartame Information Center: Frequently Asked Questions About the Use of Aspartame in Low-Calorie Foods and Beverages
American Dietetic Association Evidence Analysis Library: Relationship Between Aspartame, Methanol and Formaldehyde
GreenFacts.org: Scientific Facts on Aspartame