Concern about aspartame

People's Pharmacy

November 29, 1998|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Q. I was amazed to read in one of your articles that aspartame can provide pain relief. You also said it prolongs bleeding time and might lower a fever. I asked my doctor about this, and he looked at me in disbelief. Then I contacted the makers of $H NutraSweet and they responded that their product is very safe.

I bruise easily and worry that aspartame in my diet sodas may be affecting my blood. Where can I find the research you talked about?

A. The study demonstrating that aspartame can prolong bleeding time was published in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (May 1998; pp. 580). Allen Edmundson, Ph.D., and Carl Manion, M.D., evaluated bleeding time in 34 volunteers and found it was significantly longer when they had taken aspartame. They did not determine whether this is worrisome for most people, but some are more susceptible than others.

Q. What can you tell me about guggul (Commiphora mukul)? I've read it's used in Ayurvedic medicine. Does it really lower cholesterol as I have heard?

A. Guggul comes from an Indian tree related to myrrh. It has been used for centuries by traditional Ayurvedic doctors for a wide range of conditions from sore throats and indigestion to rheumatism.

Research indicates that components in guggul can lower bad cholesterol and increase beneficial HDL cholesterol. It also reduces triglycerides. Some people may experience mild intestinal upset as a side effect.

King Features Syndicate

Pub Date: 11/29/98

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