Widely used sweetener in foods and drinks may increase anxiety, study finds

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A recent study from Florida State University has linked aspartame, an artificial sweetener commonly found in over 5,000 diet foods and drinks, to anxiety in mice.

Aspartame was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as a sweetener in 1981 and is consumed by many people worldwide.

The study fed mice with drinking water that contained aspartame at approximately 15% of the FDA-approved maximum daily human intake.

This dose is equivalent to six to eight 8-ounce cans of diet soda a day for humans and continued for 12 weeks in a study spanning four years.

The team found that the mice who consumed the aspartame water exhibited strong anxiety-like behavior in maze tests that were carried out across multiple generations descending from the aspartame-exposed males.

These anxiety-like traits were so robust that the researchers were quite surprised.

When given diazepam, a drug used to treat anxiety disorder in humans, mice in all generations ceased to show anxiety-like behavior.

The study concluded that aspartame can cause anxiety in mice, and the effects can extend up to two generations from the males exposed to the sweetener.

The researchers are planning to publish additional research focused on how aspartame affected memory.

Future research will also identify the molecular mechanisms that influence the transmission of aspartame’s effect across generations.

These findings could have implications for humans who consume aspartame regularly. While the study was carried out on mice and not humans, it highlights the need for further research into the effects of aspartame on human health.

If you are concerned about your consumption of aspartame, it is best to speak to your healthcare provider.

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.

It can be a normal and healthy response to stress or a perceived threat, but it can also become excessive and interfere with daily life.

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterized by excessive and persistent worry, fear, and avoidance behaviors.

These conditions can be debilitating and may require treatment such as therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

Managing anxiety can involve a combination of strategies, including:

Practicing relaxation techniques: Deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, and meditation are all relaxation techniques that can help reduce anxiety symptoms.

Regular exercise: Regular physical activity can help reduce anxiety and stress levels. Exercise also helps release endorphins, which can improve mood.

Eating a healthy diet: A healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help improve overall well-being and reduce anxiety symptoms.

Getting enough sleep: Getting adequate sleep is important for managing anxiety symptoms. Adults typically need seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

Seeking professional help: Therapy, medication, or a combination of both may be necessary to manage anxiety for some people. A mental health professional can help determine the best treatment options.

Avoiding alcohol and drugs: Substance abuse can worsen anxiety symptoms and make them harder to manage.

Practicing self-care: Taking care of yourself, including engaging in enjoyable activities, setting aside time for relaxation, and seeking social support can help manage anxiety.

It is important to remember that managing anxiety is a process, and what works for one person may not work for another.

It is essential to find what strategies work best for you and seek help from a healthcare professional if necessary.

If you care about mental health, please read studies that ultra-processed foods may make you feel depressed, and Vitamin D could help reduce depression symptoms.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about antioxidants that could help reduce the risk of dementia, and probiotics may help lower depression.

The study was conducted by Pradeep Bhide et al and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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