Ask the Doctor: Aspartame and Inflammation



Ask the Doctor:

Question: A friend has terrible leg and foot pain and she is wondering if aspartame is a contributing factor. What are your thoughts?

Thank you for your question!

Aspartame must be eliminated; however, something needs to be replaced otherwise other symptoms may arise (headaches). I suggest to all of my patients to avoid all processed, man-made sugar alternatives as research shows many side effects  – one being inflammation – and the long term effects can be much worse. Eating raw honey and maple syrup are perfect alternatives; they are sweet yet packed with nutrients that the body can use.

With her bursitis and pain, there are a few things that come to mind, mostly questions.

  •  Has she ever been in an accident?
  • Any idea what caused the bursitis?
  • What type of pain is she feeling? Shooting, stabbing, is it isolated?

Blood work is always a great option and adds more clues; however, usually the best determinants are asking specific questions and palpating the areas affected ( plus above and below).

Here are my suggestions:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Be active ( and swimming might be the best option)
  • Visit an alternative doctor: osteopathic physician, chiropractor, acupuncturist and/or cranial sacral. They will be able to focus on the area affected and help relax muscles that might be pulling bones out of place and/or pressing on nerves ( the nerves might be the primary cause).

Supplements to Consider:

Essential fatty acids

Why? Your body cannot make them so you need to get them from your food or by taking a supplement. They are important for optimal function of the heart – think blood pressure, strokes – the nervous system and the skin. Cod liver oil, an essential fatty acid, has vitamin a and d which are supportive to the immune system… an added bonus.

Brand: Nordic Naturals is my favorite brand, by far. They conduct a great deal of 3rd party testing and quality control.

Tumeric: If you are not regularly eating turmeric, consider taking these in supplemental form. You can purchase it at any health food store.

Good multivitamin: One that contains a good amount of vitamin c and e. Your friend can email me for suggestions.

Naturopathic Treatments:

Hydrotherapy: When in a shower, spray hot water over affected area and then blast with cold water. With her feet, she can have 2 bowls: one with hot water and the other with cold. She can alternate back and forth, always ending with cold. Hydrotherapy will increase circulation to the area.  Click here to learn more.

Castor oil packs: I suggest castor oil packs to treat many of my patients symptoms ranging from bursitis in the shoulders or knees to constipation and digestive upsets. It is very powerful. Click here to learn more.

Be well,

dr. heather


Photo courtesy of Flickr:


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