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Sucralose - Splenda - possible trigger

I've only been suffering with migraines for the past 5 years. My migraines always have visual effects and rarely come with a headache, I start with flashes and then lose all vision in a central point which gets bigger.

In the last few years I'd been frustrated that I started having migraines after exercising. After reading about the effects of exercise on migraines I was concerned it was acting as a trigger. I stopped exercising, put on a lot of weight and became more and more miserable about the way I felt.

A year ago my 11 year old son started having headaches, they where diagnosed as being migraines. Doctors where also concerned he was diabetic as high levels of sugar where found in his urine. My son had started at a new school and we found out he was drinking two fizzy fruit drinks a day. They where marketed as one of your five a day fruit and "school friendly". I found that one of the ingredients was sucralose.

I read up a lot about sucralose and immediately found it was known as a migraine trigger and also passed through your body undigested and would be passed out in your urine. The last part explained the high sugar level in my son's urine. My son stopped drinking these fruit drinks and hasn't had a migraine since.

I also realised that whenever I was exercising I would drink a sport drink and when I checked it also contained sucralose. I've now stopped drinking them and am exercising 6 days a week without any issues from migraines.

I just wanted to add this here in case it can help anyone else as these kinds of sweeteners are being hidden away in more and more foods which are then marketed as low calorie and good for you.

Here is the page from the NHS (UK National Health Service) discussing sucralose:

Here is the study which found sucralose to be a potential migraine trigger:

  1. Hi JulianF,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm sorry to hear that you had to go through a period of time where you didn't realize what the actual trigger was for both your son and your migraines. Give yourself credit for investigating and learning more about sucralose. One of our contributor's actually wrote an article about artificial sugars as migraine triggers that I thought may be of interest to you: Please come here anytime for support!

    Brooke ( team)

    1. Hi, I have experienced occular migraines without the headache for over 20 years.( a couple time per year) I always detect a flickering in my vision prior to the actual aura. It always happens at the same location where I have a small bilateral scotoma which I dont really see as my brain compensate for this small dot.

      At first I would experienced colored aura, pinkish that would ressemble a balloon, but for many years now they are zig zags and geometrical shapes with white or diamond/silver like color.

      IT always start intense but small and gets bigger but less intense as it moves toward the periphery eventually after 20-40 min it dissapears.

      I never have sucralose but I did this week. Yesterday I experienced the usual flickering but right away it turned into a big semi round of bright white light which left me with only with side vision. It was huge. Fortunately it disappeared all at once withing 3-4 minutes.

      This leaves me shaken as with almost no notice I could find myself in a dangerous situation if this happens at a wrong time. Naturally I wont have sucralose again but just wandering has anyone experienced a similar event.

      1. I know this is an old post but anyhow...I don't know when I will get another aura but meanwhile if anyone reading this gets one regularly I may have something for you to try.

        As I mentioned above, my last aura ended all at once which was a first. This aura was huge and so different than any other prior that I thought it might be having a stroke so I went "looking" best as I could for an aspirin but ended up biting into a metformin instead which is a very hard pill compared to an aspirin so I ended up having to bite hard into it and that's exactly when the aura ended.

        At first I thought it might be a coincidence but since I have previoulsly attended a seminar on cranial nerves , I checked to see if there could be a link.

        Turns out there is :
        some new studies have reported the aura as "a wave of nerve cell activity spreads across the brain and excites the trigeminal nerve." And it so happens that this trigeminal nerve is also responsable for the action of biting and chewing!

        Who knows maybe this works?

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