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Aspartame and AF

Anyone can beat AF by avoiding aspartame ?

I had an episode of AF 5 years ago triggered by coffee and Coke Zero. I was only 32 at that time.

I have no more recurrence until 1 month ago after I started drinking more cups of coffee and a can of coke

Zero again ! My heart was structurally normal and in good heath otherwise .

Just want to see anyone here can share your experience. Very much appreciated!

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Well mate, thats different for all of us. I never did drink coke and since many years no coffee. Still in 2012 I had my first P-afib, then nothing for 3 years. Then it hit me 6 times in one year. And no coffee no coke, occassionally a beer but I gave up on that as well. In 2017 I had my ablation. It took more than 12 month to calm my heart down. A few flips here and there only 2 small remissions and it got better. Now have just to cope with ectopics. Sometimes many, sometimes none over weeks. Have reduced sugar and salt intake. Reducing weight, but of course it always sits somewhere in the back of the head that it could come back. But as one wise once said "one is for sure, life is the only thing we won't get out alive"

Fingers crossed and stay positive

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Thanks for your reply. So can you identify any trigger for your Afib ?

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Could be stress, anxiety, some over sensitivity of the nervous-system. Not enough sleep. Vagal nerv stimulation.

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Hi Thomas.I loved reading your reply.I had my ablation in July 2018 and at first was frustrated due to a few AF episodes post ablation but now into my 4th month things are better but still have ectopics but the periods between episodes are getting less.Its awful when I have them.My EP says he could get rid of them but to wait and see if they get less with time.I can deal with ectopics but not AF.I am afraid to wean off my atenolol which is only 12.5 mgm once a day but when the ectopics slow down may try to get off it.

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For anyone with heart rhythm problems aspartame should be be avoided completely. I never eat or drink anything containing artificial sweeneners, colourings or flavourings. Some people also react to caffeine, some don’t - trial and error is your friend, of go caffeine-free.

It sounds like your heart doesn’t like too much of either substance! Sparkling water, alone or with lemon/lime/apple juice is a safer alternative. I opted for elderflower cordial which contains a small amount of sugar - which is safer than artificial sweeteners.

Hope it works for you.

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I always thought it’s the caffeine in Coke Zero together with coffee that trigger off my first episode but now I know it’s the aspartame . I can drink five or six cups of coffee a day in past few years with no problem. But last month I bought a lot of soft drinks for home party thats y many cans of Coke Zero inside my fridge !

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I avoid those things too but how do you avoid colouring in pills? I have found that it's not always possible.

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The colourings in pills affect me too Stormcloud. I'm very fussy about what brand of tablets I take now, Actavis is the best one for me.

Jean

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Not only the colour but sometimes the caking agents and fillers.

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Yes, the fillers can certainly have an effect on me. I noticed that particularly with my thyroid medication.

Jean

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I avoid all those things too but how do you avoid colouring in pills? I have found that it's not always possible.

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Probably impossible to avoid, but the amount would be minimal compared with the amount in some of the more lurid confections.

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If you search aspartame in HUL (top right search box )you will see this has been the subject of several posts over the last five or more years. Not nice stuff at all.

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Certainly there is some suspicions that aspartame’s a trigger but there is no evidence. Coffee can be a trigger for some and more than 2 cups of coffee a day is not recommended. Energy drinks - avoid at all costs and the very worst offenders with the combination of aspartame and caffeine. At the end of the day - junk in = junk health. Eat as well as you can and keep hydrated with water, a main trigger for episodes is dehydration.

You can chase trigger but at the end of the day don’t smoke, don’t binge drink, eat well, sleep well, rest and digest after meals, manage stress and keep BMI to less than 27 with a healthy eating plan and daily exercise and you give yourself the best chance possible of avoiding future episodes. At such a young age you do NOT want to start to need drugs or invasive procedures.

Best wishes CD.

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Great advice for us all. I just had a visit with my intragrative doc, he( science) is advising us to fast for 13 hours over night. Don’t eat 3 hours before bed and nothing except water for total of 13 hours. If you are a brittle diabetic, you might want to discuss with your doc, but for me, I won’t fall over in a faint if I don’t eat in 13 hours, lol

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I agree with you totally, as artificial sweeteners certainly used to trigger my AF. However they did continue to occur periodically, after stopping them.

Jean

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It’s that household dust Jean 😂😂

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I have had A/F for over 20 years, I don't drink/smoke or drink coffee my trigger on reflection was stress......I am very placid, well balanced and quite laid back, never lost my temper and always the same every day because I keep stress in, I feel that if I could have let go and vented, let it all out, then I wouldn't be an A/F sufferer lol well that's my theory anyway, I used to make my staff laugh because one of my favourite sayings was that I wished I could run up and down the stairs screaming......but lived in a bungalow!!!

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I thought MyAFib as well triggered by sweeteners and many cups of tea/cinamon tea, green tea per day but unfortunately stopping them didnt stop the Afib from recurring .

Wishing you all the best

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I didn't think Coke Zero contained aspartame only sucralose

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I have analysed the trigger points for my AF episodes over the last few years and there is only one common factor in all of them. The common factor has been ingesting a cold drink or substance. I have even triggered the onset of an AF episode with nothing more than chilled water.

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I’m 63, but had my first “lone episode” of Afib (of about 6 hours duration) when I was 39. At the time it was attributed by the consultant to drinking too much caffeine- I had been living in Italy and was going through an espresso- drinking phase. I was rather dubious about this as there were other occasions when I drank plenty of caffeine which didn’t cause Afib. I was warned prophetically that “you might have problems in another 20 years“: I was diagnosed with Afib about 4 months ago.

In your position, I would want to know *why* drinking aspartame is suddenly causing afib (presumabaly it hasn’t in the past). I would also try to find out if there is anything you can do now to head off potential future problems. It may be that you are at a very early phase of Afib (or maybe not). Afib isn’t very nice and if you can do anything to avert it then my advice would be to do whatever it takes.

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Thanks for your reply.

I am all long quite sensitive to MSG and would have headache , extreme thirst after eating food with MSG. I remember my first episode of lone AF was triggered 5 years ago by too much coffee and tea that day after Chinese food and Coke Zero. Since then I was very cautious in food intake.

I have no recurrence in between but lately my bad habit came back and started to consume a lot of coffee and Diet Coke Again . I can never be sure what’s going on exactly in my body but I am quite fit all. Never smoke and blood pressure is normal.

So may I ask if you modify your coffee intake after your first episode of lone AF ? So you r free from any further episode until 4 months ago ?

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I found that for most of the intervening period (ie between the ages of 39 and 63) I had comparatively few episodes of Afib, and when I had them they always involved an irregular heartbeat not a fast one. I might have an episode, say, every 5 years, although I had quite a lot of ectopics in 2015 when Afib was specifically ruled out as the cause by the GP. I had (and have) ectopics if I am under stress. I have been able to drink coffee pretty much without problems (last year I bought a grinder and drank lots of strong Java coffee). So I would say stress, rather than coffee or alcohol, are triggers for ectopics and Afib.

Do you have any history of heart disease in your family? If so, that would be one relevant consideration. If you can afford to do so (or even if you can’t) it might be worth seeing a really top EP to see if you can get to the root of the problem now. GPS are often under pressure and don’t always have the knowledge or time to investigate this sort of thing. And a stitch in time maybe saves an ablation or suchlike later...

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I have no family history of AF or heart diseases at young age. I am just thinking some of the people cannot metabolize caffeine or aspartame effectively. So over years it causes some sort of micro damage to our heart circuit. So hopefully if we can avoid the trigger which in fact also a cause for “substrate” cumulatively , can reduce the chance of recurrence.

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Well, there is an article here which might be of interest:

internationaljournalofcardi...

I only accessed the abstract (not sure if you have to purchase the full article), but there does, as you say, appear to be a link. There may be other articles which you could research.

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This looks v relevant (from Afibbers.com:

AF precipitated by MSG and aspartame

SYLVANIA, OHIO. At least two of our LAF surveys have found that a significant proportion of lone afibbers are sensitive to the food flavour enhancer MSG (monosodium glutamate) and the artificial sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, Canderel). Now a researcher at the University of Toledo College of Medicine confirms this connection. Dr. Craig Burkhart describes the case of a 57-year-old physician (no underlying heart disease or hypertension) who was diagnosed with persistent atrial flutter, which was resolved in 2007 with a catheter ablation. However, over the next several months the patient developed paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. While awaiting a second ablation, he decided to eliminate MSG and aspartame from his diet and experienced an immediate elimination of his afib episodes. To test the validity of this finding, he challenged himself on three separate occasions with MSG (Chinese food and beef jerkies) and with aspartame in the form of a diet soft drink. All of these challenges resulted in afib episodes within a few hours.

Dr. Burkhart points out that the reaction to MSG and aspartame is likely caused by the release of their metabolites, glutamate and aspartate during digestion. Both of these chemicals are strong excitotoxins, which excite not only brain tissue, but also cardiac tissue. They have been associated with numerous symptoms including headaches, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, fatigue, heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, vertigo, and memory loss. He concludes that this case history adds further credence to the idea that eliminating MSG and aspartame from the diet may be beneficial for some patients with atrial fibrillation.

Burkhart, CG. ‘Lone’ atrial fibrillation precipitated by monosodium glutamate and aspartame. International Journal of Cardiology, February 9, 2009 [Epub ahead of print]

Editor’s comment: Our first LAF survey (February 2001) found that

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Hi

Atrial Fibrillation is a complex phenomenon that can have multiple causes and trigger factors. It's not always easy to identify these and trial and error is probably a good start. Also take the basic healthy lifestyle advice that other contributors have already detailed.

Keep well

David

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I think my two ablations stopped my atria working, so I have not been able to tell when I am in AF... but I think I had not had AF since the ablations (even though my kardia told me I might have AF).

AF was triggered by insertion of a new pacemaker and additional atrial lead four weeks ago, and I felt rough for a week.

I am taking delivery of an Apple Watch 4 today, which should help diagnosis.

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