Do you suffer from mystery symptoms and despite numerous trips to the doctor and countless tests, medical professionals can still find nothing wrong with you? You are not alone and you are not crazy. In part two of our series, we will investigate food and preservative intolerances that may be causing your mystery symptoms. This way, you can determine what symptoms most closely resemble yours and be armed with knowledge for your next visit to the doctor.
Gluten intolerance is fast becoming one of the most common food intolerances in the world. It is estimated that 1 in every 100 people suffer from gluten intolerance. It can cause a host of seemingly unrelated mystery symptoms that can be baffling to both you and your doctor. Common symptoms of gluten intolerance include:
• Chronic Abdominal Cramping
• Gurgling Intestines
• Chronic Diarrhea
• Unexplainable Weight Loss/Gain
• Brain Fog
• Muscle Aches
• Chronic Sinusitis
• Stomach Spasms (Especially within a few hours of eating)
If your mystery symptoms seem to strike most often within one-two hours after you’ve eaten, food intolerance might be the culprit. While there are blood and urine tests that can be taken to test for gluten antibodies, those tests are often inaccurate. The best way to determine whether or not the mystery symptoms are associated with food intolerance is to do an elimination diet.
While attempting to determine if gluten is causing the symptoms, you will also benefit from testing to see if other common allergens such as dairy, soy, nuts, corn, citrus and/or shellfish are to blame. For a great example of an elimination diet, click here. Remember, it’s only temporary and sticking to the diet for a short time might reap incredible rewards of good health in the end. This particular problem is what had been causing my mystery symptoms and prompted me to create this website.
Aspartame poisoning can cause up to 92 side effects that mimic the symptoms of everything from fibromyalgia to lupus to Lyme. The key to your baffling mystery symptoms may be at the bottom of your morning cup of coffee, lunch-time bottle of soda or after-dinner piece of chewing gum. Common symptoms of aspartame poisoning are:
• Migraine Headaches
• Anxiety, Irritability, Aggression, Personality Changes, Insomnia
• Heart Palpitations
• Sudden Rise in Blood Pressure
• Shortness of Breath
• Severe Noise Intolerance/Tinnitus
• Confusion, Memory Loss
• Muscle Twitches, Hyperactivity, Restless Legs Syndrome
• Unusual Vision Problems such as partial blindness, seeing squiggly lines or tunnel vision
• Allergic Reactions such as: itching without a rash, hives and asthma
With all the alarming symptoms caused by this dangerous artificial sweetener, it’s important to become a label-reader and cut it from your diet. Even if you are unsure if aspartame is causing the mystery symptoms you experience, no matter what health problems you’re suffering from, aspartame is a highly toxic substance that will only make any physical or mental ailment much worse.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup is another food additive that can cause a variety of mystery symptoms. Though there has been a recent campaign to call high fructose corn syrup, ‘corn sugar’, it is nothing like cane sugar. It is a synthetic, man-made substance that can cause symptoms such as:
• Obesity – High fructose corn syrup confuses the metabolism, making the body feel chronically hungry.
• Diabetes – It also causes severe blood sugar spikes, which can lead to the development of insulin-dependent diabetes.
• Thyroid Disease
• HFCS Addiction – High fructose corn syrup is highly addictive because of its ability to stimulate a feel-good chemical called beta-endorphin.
• Anxiety, Irritability, Insomnia, Behavioral Problems
If weight loss is a problem and no diet seems to be working, high fructose corn syrup could be to blame. Ironically, high fructose corn syrup can be found in many diet foods supposedly designed to aid in weight loss. Nothing could be further from the truth. Again, become a label-reader. Even seemingly-innocent products like yogurt and vitamin-enhanced waters often contain this artificial sweetener. Opt for organic yogurt and water filtered at home and sweetened with fruit juice instead and see how much better you feel!
Food dyes are a commonly-overlooked cause of mystery symptoms. Common negative reactions to dyes such as Red #40 and Yellow #5 are:
• Attention Deficit Disorder
• Mental Confusion/Learning Difficulties
• Irritability, Anxiety, Aggression, Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
• Behavioral Problems
• Neurological Problems such as muscle twitching, spasms and cramps
Like aspartame and high fructose corn syrup, food dyes are synthetic and carcinogenic (cancer-causing). If you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness, one of these additives could be to blame. Eliminate food dyes from your diet by becoming a label-reader and switching to whole, organic foods and limiting pre-packaged foods to the organic variety with little preservative. They may cost more to start with but will be worth it for the increase in health and vitality.
Another ingestible cause of mystery symptoms is food preservatives. One such additive is monosodium glutamate (MSG) and it can cause disturbing symptoms such as:
• Mental Confusion
• Heart Palpitations
• Gastrointestinal Discomfort
• Weight Gain
• Allergic Reaction such as hives, skin rash and shortness of breath
Two other dangerous food additives are ones you may have never heard of. They’re called: butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and they are most commonly found in breakfast cereal. The State of California has declared both these preservatives carcinogens and they have been linked to behavioral problems and learning difficulties, especially in children. Switch to natural, preservative-free cereals and foods to avoid potentially negative side effects.
Other Possible Culprits
Sulfites – Some people experience mystery symptoms because of a sensitivity to sulfites, a common preservative found in wine, processed meats and dried fruits. The most common negative reactions are upper respiratory and skin related. Avoid any food product containing sulfites to see if there is any improvement.
Soy – Mystery symptoms can also be caused by consuming soy. Though soy has long been touted as a health food, it can cause surprisingly disturbing symptoms such as infertility, erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, early puberty, menstrual irregularities and breast development in men. For more information on why you should consider cutting soy from your diet, watch this informative video on the truth about soy foods.
Caffeine – Though it may seem strange to think that a cup of coffee could cause mystery symptoms, it can. Especially in sensitive individuals. Those with a sensitivity to caffeine may experience jitteriness, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, heart palpitations and headache. If you believe caffeine is causing negative symptoms, gradually reduce intake of caffeinated beverages to avoid caffeine withdrawal.
Polysorbate 80 – This may be another food preservative you’ve never heard of that can cause mystery symptoms. This artificial substance has been linked to severe allergic reaction, gastrointestinal problems, abnormal heart rhythms, fertility problems and tumor growth. For more information on polysorbate 80 and how it could be harming your health, see my article here.
You don’t have to suffer. Remember, one man’s food is another man’s poison. Eliminating processed foods from the diet is one of the easiest ways to improve health. Also, discovering if intolerance to a common food is causing mystery symptoms is another. While removing highly-addictive foods from the diet, remember, your body will go through a natural detoxification period and you may experience symptoms of withdrawal such as irritability, anxiety, headaches, hot flashes, insomnia, etc. Go slowly so you’re body has time to adjust. Once you know what foods are causing symptoms, you can eliminate them and choose a diet rich in organic vegetables, fruits, meats and whole grains. Your body will thank you.
If none of these sound like what you’re going through, we’re not done yet. In our next installment we discuss how vitamin deficiencies can cause mystery symptoms. Don’t give up. No matter what you’ve heard from doctors, friends, co-workers and family, you’re not crazy and it’s not all in your head. Once you get to the bottom of your mystery symptoms, you’ll be able to hold your head high and proclaim, “I told you I was sick!”