Consuming the artificial sweetener aspartame led to significant signs of anxiety in mice.
- An animal study linked aspartame consumption to anxiety and found the mental health changes were passed on to future generations
- The study involved mice drinking water that contained aspartame at a dosage of approximately 15% of the FDA’s maximum daily intake for humans
- The anxiety-like behaviors were evidenced during maze tests, and they persisted across multiple generations — passed down from male mice exposed to aspartame
- When you consume aspartame, it’s broken down into aspartic acid, phenylalanine — a precursor of monoamine neurotransmitters — and methanol, which may have “potent” effects on your central nervous system
- Exposure to aspartame disrupts gene expression in the amygdala brain region, which plays a role in the regulation of anxiety and fear responses
Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1981, aspartame can now be found in close to 5,000 food and beverage products. Worldwide, 3,000 to 5,000 metric tons of aspartame are produced annually, and it’s widely consumed by adults, including pregnant women, and children.1PNAS December 2, 2022, 119 (49) e2213120119, Intro
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