Hidden Phosphates in Beverages Increase Symptoms of Autism, Insomnia, and Anxiety

In the rush to follow the latest health trends, we may find ourselves choosing vitamin-enriched fizzy beverages, diet colas, or flavored teas. While our intentions to make healthy selections are usually intact, we often forget the importance of drinking plain water to remain hydrated. When we consume artificially flavored beverages, we vastly increase our intake of phosphates, which can increase the symptoms of disorders such as autism, insomnia, and anxiety. Those who are affected by these disabilities often have decreased levels of magnesium. Consumption of phosphates further depletes magnesium in the body. 

Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for cell functioning. Most magnesium in the body is stored within tissues, and one of the first signs of magnesium deficiency is muscle cramping or spasms. The central nervous system relies on magnesium to regulate healthy sleep cycles, balanced stress response, and calmness. Decreased magnesium levels can lead to insomnia, irritability, aggression, and panic attacks. Children with autism are often very sensitive to low magnesium levels, and can experience “zapping” or electrical sensations in the brain, disorientation, and clouded thinking. Sensory overload can become more intolerable, leading to a decrease in attention span and increase in aggressive behaviors.

When magnesium levels are low, large amounts of calcium are excreted through urine, leading to a calcium deficiency. Low calcium levels increase the risks for tooth decay, broken bones, and poor bone development. When both magnesium and calcium are depleted, copper builds up in the body. Copper normally binds to magnesium and calcium, and when it is excessive and unbound, it depletes vitamin B6 levels, which are crucial for sleep. As you can see, phosphates can cause quite a chain reaction in the body! Below is a list of ingredients to look for on your beverage labels. Avoid drinking beverages with these ingredients as much as possible, and increase your intake of pure water:

Phosphoric Acid

Sodium Polyphosphate


Sodium Tripolyphosphate


Tricalcium Phosphate


Trisodium Phosphate

Dicalcium Phosphate

Sodium Phosphate

Monocalcium Phosphate

Aluminum Phosphate

What can you do to rebalance your body when detoxing from phosphates? 

1. Increase your intake of magnesium by taking a supplement containing calcium, magnesium, and zinc. 


2. Reach for foods with a high magnesium content, such as dark leafy greens, nuts, fish, and legumes.

3. Epsom salt baths can be helpful in relaxing sensory overload, restlessness, and insomnia, especially for children with autism. The magnesium is absorbed through the skin to help with muscle relaxation, and the natural sulfates in the salt help to break down phenols (many children with autism have sulfate deficiencies due to an under active liver enzyme called PST). Epsom salt baths are also great for women who experience migraines or PMS symptoms, because hormonal fluctuation often leads to a magnesium deficiency (there is a reason we crave chocolate during certain times of the month: it's loaded with magnesium!)





Emily Hayman

Dr. Hayman earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, and received a Masters and PhD from the University of Toledo. She specializes in holistic wellness, psychology, and alternative medicine. She has presented her research on non-pharmaceutical interventions for psychiatric disorders and common medical disorders in the United States, Belize, Istanbul, Dubai, Serbia, Greece, and Mexico.

Emily served as the Behavioral Pharmaceutical Consultant for Toledo Family Pharmacy, and assisted patients in developing nutrition plans and behavioral strategies to maximize the effectiveness of prescribed medications. She is the CEO and Founder of Neuroflex, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides behavioral, nutritional, and educational curriculum for families with autistic children. She has also created programs which are designed to bring awareness to local communities about the healthy lifestyle choices in preventing childhood illnesses and disabilities. In both organizations she actively incorporates yoga and alternative medicine as integral components in promoting physical and mental well-being.

To learn more about her work go to: