Aspartame's Hidden Dangers
If a product is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and composed of natural ingredients, would you assume it is safe to consume?
If the same product is an artificial sweetener, would you assume it helps control your weight?
Millions of people use aspartame, the artificial sweetener known as NutraSweet™, with these assumptions in mind.
Aspartame can be found in thousands of products such as:
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However, aspartame's tainted history of approval and potentially toxic ingredients cast serious doubt on the safety of this sugar substitute. Furthermore, aspartame may actually increase your appetite (Farber 52).
While the FDA approval may signal the green light for safe consumption, 85 percent of all complaints registered with the FDA are for adverse reactions to aspartame, including five reported deaths. A closer look at the unscientific studies, suspicious approval methods, and its harmful ingredients, reveal the hidden dangers of this artificial sweetener. In reality, aspartame poses a public health threat.
A few of the many disorders associated with aspartame include the following:
A study funded by Monsanto to study possible birth defects caused by consuming aspartame was cut off after preliminary data showed damaging information about aspartame. Additionally, in the book, While Waiting: A Prenatal Guidebook, it is stated that aspartame is suspected of causing brain damage in sensitive individuals. A fetus may be at risk for these effects. Some researchers have suggested that high doses of aspartame may be associated with problems ranging from dizziness and subtle brain changes to mental retardation.
In 1981, an FDA statistician stated that the brain tumor data on aspartame was so "worrisome" that he could not recommend approval of NutraSweet.(14)
In a two-year study conducted by the manufacturer of aspartame, twelve of 320 rats fed a normal diet and aspartame developed brain tumors while none of the control rats developed tumors, and five of the twelve tumors were in rats given a low dose of aspartame.(15)
The approval of aspartame was a violation of the Delaney Amendment, which was supposed to prevent cancer-causing substances such as methanol (formaldehye) and DKP from entering our food supply. A late FDA toxicologist testified before the U.S. Congress that aspartame was capable of producing brain tumors. This made it illegal for the FDA to set an allowable daily intake at any level. He stated in his testimony that Searle's studies were "to a large extent unreliable" and that "at least one of those studies has established beyond any reasonable doubt that aspartame is capable of inducing brain tumors in experimental animals ... " He concluded his testimony by asking, "What is the reason for the apparent refusal by the FDA to invoke for this food additive the so-called Delaney Amendment to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act? ... And if the FDA itself elects to violate the law, who is left to protect the health of the public?"(16)
In the mid-1970s it was discovered that the manufacturer of aspartame falsified studies in several ways. One of the techniques used was to cut tumors out of test animals and put them back in the study. Another technique used to falsify the studies was to list animals that had actually died as surviving the study. Thus, the data on brain tumors was likely worse than discussed above. In addition, a former employee of the manufacturer of aspartame told the FDA on July 13, 1977 that the particles of DKP were so large that the rats could discriminate between the DKP and their normal diet.(12)
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is actually recommending this chemical poison to persons with diabetes, but according to research conducted by a diabetes specialist, aspartame: 1) Leads to the precipitation of clinical diabetes. 2) Causes poorer diabetic control in diabetics on insulin or oral drugs. 3) Leads to the aggravation of diabetic complications such as retinopathy, cataracts, neuropathy and gastroparesis. 4) Causes convulsions.
In a statement concerning the use of products containing aspartame by persons with diabetes and hypoglycemia, the researchers says:
"Unfortunately, many patients in my practice, and others seen in consultation, developed serious metabolic, neurologic and other complications that could be specifically attributed to using aspartame products. This was evidenced by the loss of diabetic control, the intensification of hypoglycemia, the occurrence of presumed 'insulin reactions' (including convulsions) that proved to be aspartame reactions, and the precipitation, aggravation or simulation of diabetic complications (especially impaired vision and neuropathy) while using these products ... Dramatic improvement of such features after avoiding aspartame, and the prompt predictable recurrence of these problems when the patient resumed aspartame products, knowingly or inadvertently."
Another researcher stated that excitotoxins such as those found in aspartame can precipitate diabetes in persons who are genetically susceptible to the disease.(5)
In a double blind study of the effects of aspartame on persons with mood disorders, findings showed a large increase in serious symptoms for persons taking aspartame. Since some of the symptoms were so serious, the Institutional Review Board had to stop the study. Three of the participants had said that they had been "poisoned" by aspartame. Researchers concluded that "individuals with mood disorders are particularly sensitive to this artificial sweetener; its use in this population should be discouraged."(18) One researcher stated about aspartame, "I know it causes seizures. I'm convinced also that it definitely causes behavioral changes. I'm very angry that this substance is on the market. I personally question the reliability and validity of any studies funded by the NutraSweet Company."(19)
Additionally, there are numerous reported cases of low brain serotonin levels, depression and other emotional disorders that have been linked to aspartame and often are relieved by stopping the intake of aspartame.
With the large and growing number of seizures caused by aspartame, it is sad to see that the Epilepsy Foundation is promoting the "safety" of aspartame. At Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 80 people who had suffered seizures after ingesting aspartame were surveyed. Community Nutrition Institute concluded the following about the survey:
"These 80 cases meet the FDA's own definition of an imminent hazard to the public health, which requires the FDA to expeditiously remove a product from the market."
Both the Air Force's magazine, Flying Safety, and the Navy's magazine, Navy Physiology, published articles warning about the many dangers of aspartame including the cumulative delirious effects of methanol and the greater likelihood of birth defects. The articles note that the ingestion of aspartame can make pilots more susceptible to seizures and vertigo. Twenty articles sounding warnings about ingesting aspartame while flying have also appeared in the National Business Aircraft Association Digest (NBAA Digest 1993), Aviation Medical Bulletin (1988), The Aviation Consumer (1988), Canadian General Aviation News (1990), Pacific Flyer (1988), General Aviation News (1989), Aviation Safety Digest (1989), and Plane & Pilot (1990) and a paper warning about aspartame was presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the Aerospace Medical Association (Gaffney 1986).
A hotline was even set up for pilots suffering from acute reactions to aspartame ingestion. Over 600 pilots have reported symptoms including some who have reported suffering grand mal seizures in the cockpit due to aspartame.(21)
The reason many people do not hear about serious reactions to aspartame is twofold: 1) Lack of awareness by the general population. Aspartame-caused diseases are not reported in the newspapers like plane crashes. This is because these incidents occur one at a time in thousands of different locations across the United States. 2) Most people do not associate their symptoms with the long-term use of aspartame. For the people who have killed a significant percentage of their brain cells and thereby caused a chronic illness, there is no way that they would normally associate such an illness with aspartame consumption.
How aspartame was approved is a lesson in how chemical and pharmaceutical companies can manipulate government agencies such as the FDA, "bribe" organizations such as the American Dietetic Association, and flood the scientific community with flawed and fraudulent industry-sponsored studies funded by the makers of aspartame.
Erik Millstone, a researcher at the Science Policy Research Unit of Sussex University has compiled thousands of pages of evidence, some of which have been obtained using the freedom of information act 23, showing: 1. Laboratory tests were faked and dangers were concealed. 2. Tumors were removed from animals and animals that had died were "restored to life" in laboratory records. 3. False and misleading statements were made to the FDA. 4. The two US Attorneys given the task of bringing fraud charges against the aspartame manufacturer took positions with the manufacturer's law firm, letting the statute of limitations run out. 5. The Commissioner of the FDA overruled the objections of the FDA's own scientific board of inquiry. Shortly after that decision, he took a position with Burson-Marsteller, the firm in charge of public relations for G.D. Searle.
A Public Board of Inquiry (PBOI) was conducted in 1980. There were three scientists who reviewed the objections of Olney and Turner to the approval of aspartame. They voted unanimously against aspartame's approval. The FDA Commissioner, Dr Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr. then created a 5-person Scientific Commission to review the PBOI findings. After it became clear that the Commission would uphold the PBOI's decision by a vote of 3 to 2, another person was added to the Commission, creating a deadlocked vote. This allowed the FDA Commissioner to break the deadlock and approve aspartame for dry goods in 1981. Dr Jacqueline Verrett, the Senior Scientist in an FDA Bureau of Foods review team created in August 1977 to review the Bressler Report (a report that detailed G.D. Searle's abuses during the pre-approval testing) said: "It was pretty obvious that somewhere along the line, the bureau officials were working up to a whitewash." In 1987, Verrett testified before the US Senate stating that the experiments conducted by Searle were a "disaster." She stated that her team was instructed not to comment on or be concerned with the overall validity of the studies. She stated that questions about birth defects have not been answered. She continued her testimony by discussing the fact that DKP has been shown to increase uterine polyps and change blood cholesterol and that increasing the temperature of the product leads to an increase in production of DKP.(13)
The FDA and the manufacturers of aspartame have had a revolving door of employment for many years. In addition to the FDA Commissioner and two US Attorneys leaving to take positions with companies connected with G.D. Searle, four other FDA officials connected with the approval of aspartame took positions connected with the NutraSweet industry between 1979 and 1982 including the Deputy FDA Commissioner, the Special Assistant to the FDA Commissioner, the Associate Director of the Bureau of Foods and Toxicology and the Attorney involved with the Public Board of Inquiry.(24)
It is important to realize that this type of revolving-door activity has been going on for decades. The Townsend Letter for Doctors (11/92) reported on a study revealing that 37 of 49 top FDA officials who left the FDA took positions with companies they had regulated. They also reported that over 150 FDA officials owned stock in drug companies they were assigned to manage. Many organizations and universities receive large sums of money from companies connected to the NutraSweet Association, a group of companies promoting the use of aspartame. In January 1993, the American Dietetic Association received a US$75,000 grant from the NutraSweet Company. The American Dietetic Association has stated that the NutraSweet Company writes their "Facts" sheets.(25)
What is the FDA doing to protect the consumer from the dangers of aspartame?
In 1992, the FDA approved aspartame for use in malt beverages, breakfast cereals, and refrigerated puddings and fillings. In 1993 the FDA approved aspartame for use in hard and soft candies, non-alcoholic favored beverages, tea beverages, fruit juices and concentrates, baked goods and baking mixes, and frostings, toppings and fillings for baked goods.
In 1991, the FDA banned the importation of stevia. The powder of this leaf has been used for hundreds of years as an alternative sweetener. It is used widely in Japan with no adverse effects. Scientists involved in reviewing stevia have declared it to be safe for human consumption--something that has been well known in many parts of the world where it is not banned. Some people believe that stevia was banned to keep the product from taking hold in the United States and cutting into sales of aspartame.(26)
What is the U.S. Congress doing to protect the consumer from the dangers of aspartame?
What is the U.S. Administration (President) doing to protect the consumer from the dangers of aspartame?
Aspartame consumption is not only a problem in the United States--it is being sold in over 70 countries throughout the world.
By DR. MERCOLA
Aspartame is, by far, the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to foods.Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. It was discovered by accident in 1965 when James Schlatter, a chemist of G.D. Searle Company, was testing an anti-ulcer drug.
Aspartame was approved for dry goods in 1981 and for carbonated beverages in 1983. It was originally approved for dry goods on July 26, 1974, but objections filed by neuroscience researcher Dr John W. Olney and Consumer attorney James Turner in August 1974 as well as investigations of G.D. Searle's research practices caused the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put approval of aspartame on hold (December 5, 1974). In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle and made Searle Pharmaceuticals and The NutraSweet Company separate subsidiaries.
Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death. A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.
According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame: Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, parkinson's disease, alzheimer's, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.
Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. The book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," by James and Phyllis Balch, lists aspartame under the category of "chemical poison." As you shall see, that is exactly what it is.
Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi, recently published a book thoroughly detailing the damage that is caused by the ingestion of excessive aspartic acid from aspartame. Blaylock makes use of almost 500 scientific references to show how excess free excitatory amino acids such as aspartic acid and glutamic acid (about 99 percent of monosodium glutamate (MSG) is glutamic acid) in our food supply are causing serious chronic neurological disorders and a myriad of other acute symptoms.
The blood brain barrier (BBB), which normally protects the brain from excess glutamate and aspartate as well as toxins, 1) is not fully developed during childhood, 2) does not fully protect all areas of the brain, 3) is damaged by numerous chronic and acute conditions, and 4) allows seepage of excess glutamate and aspartate into the brain even when intact.
The excess glutamate and aspartate slowly begin to destroy neurons. The large majority (75 percent or more) of neural cells in a particular area of the brain are killed before any clinical symptoms of a chronic illness are noticed. A few of the many chronic illnesses that have been shown to be contributed to by long-term exposure to excitatory amino acid damage include:
The risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and persons with certain chronic health problems from excitotoxins are great. Even the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), which usually understates problems and mimics the FDA party-line, recently stated in a review that:
"It is prudent to avoid the use of dietary supplements of L-glutamic acid by pregnant women, infants, and children. The existence of evidence of potential endocrine responses, i.e., elevated cortisol and prolactin, and differential responses between males and females, would also suggest a neuroendocrine link and that supplemental L-glutamic acid should be avoided by women of childbearing age and individuals with affective disorders."
Aspartic acid from aspartame has the same deleterious effects on the body as glutamic acid.
The exact mechanism of acute reactions to excess free glutamate and aspartate is currently being debated. As reported to the FDA, those reactions include:
One common complaint of persons suffering from the effect of aspartame is memory loss. Ironically, in 1987, G.D. Searle, the manufacturer of aspartame, undertook a search for a drug to combat memory loss caused by excitatory amino acid damage. Blaylock is one of many scientists and physicians who are concerned about excitatory amino acid damage caused by ingestion of aspartame and MSG.
A few of the many experts who have spoken out against the damage being caused by aspartate and glutamate include Adrienne Samuels, Ph.D., an experimental psychologist specializing in research design. Another is Olney, a professor in the department of psychiatry, School of Medicine, Washington University, a neuroscientist and researcher, and one of the world's foremost authorities on excitotoxins. (He informed Searle in 1971 that aspartic acid caused holes in the brains of mice.)
Phenylalanine is an amino acid normally found in the brain. Persons with the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize phenylalanine. This leads to dangerously high levels of phenylalanine in the brain (sometimes lethal). It has been shown that ingesting aspartame, especially along with carbohydrates, can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine in the brain even in persons who do not have PKU.
This is not just a theory, as many people who have eaten large amounts of aspartame over a long period of time and do not have PKU have been shown to have excessive levels of phenylalanine in the blood. Excessive levels of phenylalanine in the brain can cause the levels of seratonin in the brain to decrease, leading to emotional disorders such as depression. It was shown in human testing that phenylalanine levels of the blood were increased significantly in human subjects who chronically used aspartame.
Even a single use of aspartame raised the blood phenylalanine levels. In his testimony before the U.S. Congress, Dr. Louis J. Elsas showed that high blood phenylalanine can be concentrated in parts of the brain and is especially dangerous for infants and fetuses. He also showed that phenylalanine is metabolised much more effeciently by rodents than by humans.
As Blaylock points out in his book, early studies measuring phenylalanine buildup in the brain were flawed. Investigators who measured specific brain regions and not the average throughout the brain notice significant rises in phenylalanine levels. Specifically the hypothalamus, medulla oblongata, and corpus striatum areas of the brain had the largest increases in phenylalanine. Blaylock goes on to point out that excessive buildup of phenylalanine in the brain can cause schizophrenia or make one more susceptible to seizures.
Therefore, long-term, excessive use of aspartame may provid a boost to sales of seratonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac and drugs to control schizophrenia and seizures.
Methanol/wood alcohol is a deadly poison. Some people may remember methanol as the poison that has caused some "skid row" alcoholics to end up blind or dead. Methanol is gradually released in the small intestine when the methyl group of aspartame encounter the enzyme chymotrypsin.
The absorption of methanol into the body is sped up considerably when free methanol is ingested. Free methanol is created from aspartame when it is heated to above 86 Fahrenheit (30 Centigrade). This would occur when aspartame-containing product is improperly stored or when it is heated (e.g., as part of a "food" product such as Jello).Methanol breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde in the body. Formaldehyde is a deadly neurotoxin. An EPA assessment of methanol states that methanol "is considered a cumulative poison due to the low rate of excretion once it is absorbed. In the body, methanol is oxidized to formaldehyde and formic acid; both of these metabolites are toxic." They recommend a limit of consumption of 7.8 mg/day. A one-liter (approx. 1 quart) aspartame-sweetened beverage contains about 56 mg of methanol. Heavy users of aspartame-containing products consume as much as 250 mg of methanol daily or 32 times the EPA limit.
Symptoms from methanol poisoning include headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness and shooting pains in the extremities, behavioral disturbances, and neuritis. The most well known problems from methanol poisoning are vision problems including misty vision, progressive contraction of visual fields, blurring of vision, obscuration of vision, retinal damage, and blindness. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, causes retinal damage, interferes with DNA replication and causes birth defects.
Due to the lack of a couple of key enzymes, humans are many times more sensitive to the toxic effects of methanol than animals. Therefore, tests of aspartame or methanol on animals do not accurately reflect the danger for humans. As pointed out by Dr. Woodrow C. Monte, director of the food science and nutrition laboratory at Arizona State University, "There are no human or mammalian studies to evaluate the possible mutagenic, teratogenic or carcinogenic effects of chronic administration of methyl alcohol."
He was so concerned about the unresolved safety issues that he filed suit with the FDA requesting a hearing to address these issues. He asked the FDA to "slow down on this soft drink issue long enough to answer some of the important questions. It's not fair that you are leaving the full burden of proof on the few of us who are concerned and have such limited resources. You must remember that you are the American public's last defense. Once you allow usage (of aspartame) there is literally nothing I or my colleagues can do to reverse the course. Aspartame will then join saccharin, the sulfiting agents, and God knows how many other questionable compounds enjoined to insult the human constitution with governmental approval." Shortly thereafter, the Commissioner of the FDA, Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr., approved the use of aspartame in carbonated beverages, he then left for a position with G.D. Searle's public relations firm.
It has been pointed out that some fruit juices and alcoholic beverages contain small amounts of methanol. It is important to remember, however, that methanol never appears alone. In every case, ethanol is present, usually in much higher amounts. Ethanol is an antidote for methanol toxicity in humans. The troops of Desert Storm were "treated" to large amounts of aspartame-sweetened beverages, which had been heated to over 86 degrees F in the Saudi Arabian sun. Many of them returned home with numerous disorders similar to what has been seen in persons who have been chemically poisoned by formaldehyde. The free methanol in the beverages may have been a contributing factor in these illnesses. Other breakdown products of aspartame such as DKP (discussed below) may also have been a factor.
In a 1993 act that can only be described as "unconscionable," the FDA approved aspartame as an ingredient in numerous food items that would always be heated to above 86 degree F (30 degree C).
DKP is a byproduct of aspartame metabolism. DKP has been implicated in the occurrence of brain tumors. Olney noticed that DKP, when nitrosated in the gut, produced a compound that was similar to N-nitrosourea, a powerful brain tumor causing chemical. Some authors have said that DKP is produced after aspartame ingestion. I am not sure if that is correct. It is definitely true that DKP is formed in liquid aspartame-containing products during prolonged storage.
G.D. Searle conducted animal experiments on the safety of DKP. The FDA found numerous experimental errors occurred, including "clerical errors, mixed-up animals, animals not getting drugs they were supposed to get, pathological specimens lost because of improper handling," and many other errors. These sloppy laboratory procedures may explain why both the test and control animals had sixteen times more brain tumors than would be expected in experiments of this length.
In an ironic twist, shortly after these experimental errors were discovered, the FDA used guidelines recommended by G.D. Searle to develop the industry-wide FDA standards for good laboratory practices.
DKP has also been implicated as a cause of uterine polyps and changes in blood cholesterol by FDA Toxicologist Dr. Jacqueline Verrett in her testimony before the U.S. Senate.
Reported Aspartame Toxicity Effects
-------- Q. What are the reported reactions to aspartame ingestion? How often are such effects seen? Answer ------
What are the reported reactions to aspartame ingestion? We will limit our discussion in this FAQ to reported toxicity Reactions to aspartame ingestion. Controlled studies showing Problems with aspartame ingestion will be discussed in another FAQ. Toxicity reactions to aspartame can be divided into three Types: 1. Acute toxicity reactions occuring within 48 hours of ingestion of An aspartame-containing product. 2. Chronic toxicity effects occuring anywhere from several days of Use to appearing a number of years (I.e., 1-20+ years) after the Beginning of aspartame use. 3. Potential toxicity effects that would be nearly impossible for The user to recognize the link to aspartame. In an epidemiological survey which appeared in the Journal of Applied Nutrition (Roberts 1988), 551 persons who have Reported toxicity effects from aspartame ingestion were Surveyed. The adverse effects found cover a subset of reported Acute and chronic toxicity effects from aspartame. What follows is a listing of the adverse health effects Which were found.
------------------- # of People (%) Eye - Decreased vision and/or other eye problems 140 (25%) (blurring, "bright flashes," tunnel vision) - Pain (or or both eyes) 51 (9%) - Decreased tears, trouble with contact lens, 46 (8%) Or both - Blindness (one or both eyes) 14 (3%) Ear - Tinnitus ("ringing," "buzzing") 73 (13%) - Severe intolerance for noise 47 (9%) - Marked impairment of hearing 25 (5%) Neurologic - Headaches 249 (45%) - Dizziness, unsteadiness, or both 217 (39%) - Confusion, memory loss, or both 157 (29%) - Severe drowsiness and sleepiness 93 (17%) - Paresthesias ("pins and needles," "tingling") 82 (15%) Or numbness of the limbs - Convulsions (grand mal epileptic attacks) 80 (15%) - Petit mal attacks and "absences" 18 (3%) - Severe slurring of speech 64 (12%) - Severe tremors 51 (9%) - Severe "hyperactivity" and "restless legs" 43 (8%) - Atypical facial pain 38 (7%) Psychologic-Psychiatric - Severe depression 139 (25%) - "Extreme irritability" 125 (23%) - "Severe anixiety attacks" 105 (19%) - "Marked personality changes" 88 (16%) - Recent "severe insomnia" 76 (14%) - "Severe aggravation of phobias" 41 (7%) Chest - Palpitations, tachycardia (rapid heart action), 88 (16%) Of both - "Shortness of breath" 54 (10%) - Atypical chest pain 44 (8%) - Recent hypertension (high blood pressure) 34 (6%) Gastrointestinal - Nausea 79 (14%) - Diarrhea 70 (13%) Associated gross blood in the stools (12) - Abdominal pain 70 (13%) - Pain on swallowing 28 (5%) Skin and Allergies - Severe itching without a rash 44 (8%) - Severe lip and mouth reactions 29 (5%) - Urticaria (hives) 25 (5%) - Other eruptions 48 (9%) - Aggravation of respiratory allergies 10 (2%) Endocrine and Metabolic - Problems with diabetes: loss of control; 60 (11%) Precipitation of clinical diabetes; Aggravation or simulation of diabetic Complications - Menstrual changes 45 (6%) Severe reduction or cessation of periods (22) - Paradoxic weight gain 34 (5%) - Marked weight loss 26 (6%) - Marked thinning or loss of the hair 32 (6%) - Aggravated hypoglycemia (low blood sugar 25 (5%) Attacks) Other - Frequency of voiding (day and night), burning 69 (13%) On urination (dysuria), or both - Excessive thirst 65 (12%) - Severe joint pains 58 (11%) - "Bloat" 57 (10%) - Fluid retention and leg swelling 20 (4%) - Increased susceptibility to infection 7 (1%) -------------------
There are other clinical reports in the scientific literature of Aspartame-caused toxicity reactions including Blumenthal (1997), Drake (1986), Johns (1986), Lipton (1989), McCauliffe (1991), Novick (1985), Watts (1991), Walton (1986, 1988), and Wurtman (1985).
Many pilots appear to be particularly susceptible to the effects of
Recent Independent Aspartame Research Results & News
An analysis of peer reviewed medical literature using MEDLINE and other databases was conducted by Ralph G. Walton, MD, Chairman, The Center for Behavioral Medicine, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. Dr. Walton analyzed 164 studies which were felt to have relevance to human safety questions. Of those studies, 74 studies had aspartame industry-related sponsorship and 90 were funded without any industry money.
Of the 90 non-industry-sponsored studies, 83 (92%) identified one or more problems with aspartame. Of the 7 studies which did not find a problems, 6 of those studies were conducted by the FDA. Given that a number of FDA officials went to work for the aspartame industry immediately following approval (including the former FDA Commissioner), many consider these studies to be equivalent to industry-sponsored research.
Of the 74 aspartame industry-sponsored studies, all 74 (100%) claimed that no problems were found with aspartame. This is reminiscent of tobacco industry research where it is primarily the tobacco research which never finds problems with the product, but nearly all of the independent studies do find problems.
The 74 aspartame industry-sponsored studies are those which one inveriably sees cited in PR/news reports and reported by organizations funded by Monsanto/Benevia/NutraSweet (e.G., IFIC, ADA). These studies have severe design deficiencies which help to guarantee the "desired" outcomes. These design deficiencies may not be apparent to the inexperienced scientist. Healthcare practitioners and scientists should print out the all of the documents on the Monsanto/NutraSweet Scientific Abuse web page, the Scientific FAQs web page and the Aspartame Toxicity Reaction Report Samples. Please refer scientific questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trocho, C., et al., 1998. "Formaldehyde Derived From Dietary Aspartame Vinds to Tissue Components in vivo," Life Sciences, Vol. 63, No. 5, PP. 337+, 1998
"It was a very interesting paper, that demonstrates that formaldehyde formation from aspartame ingestion is very common and does indeed accumulate within the cell, reacting with cellular proteins (mostly enzymes) and DNA (both mitochondrial and nuclear). The fact that it accumulates with each dose, indicates grave consequences among those who consume diet drinks and foodstuffs on a daily basis." (Neuroscientist Russell Blaylock, MD)
Ann Pharmacother 2001 Jun;35(6):702-6
Relief of fibromyalgia symptoms following discontinuation of dietary excitotoxins.
Smith JD, Terpening CM, Schmidt SO, Gums JG. Malcolm Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Gainesville, FL, USA.
BACKGROUND: Fibromyalgia is a common rheumatologic disorder that is often difficult to treat effectively. CASE SUMMARY: Four patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome for two to 17 years are described. All had undergone multiple treatment modalities with limited success. All had complete, or nearly complete, resolution of their symptoms within months after eliminating monosodium glutamate (MSG) or MSG plus aspartame from their diet. All patients were women with multiple comorbidities prior to elimination of MSG. All have had recurrence of symptoms whenever MSG is ingested. DISCUSSION: Excitotoxins are molecules, such as MSG and aspartate, that act as excitatory neurotransmitters, and can lead to neurotoxicity when used in excess. We propose that these four patients may represent a subset of fibromyalgia syndrome that is induced or exacerbated by excitotoxins or, alternatively, may comprise an excitotoxin syndrome that is similar to fibromyalgia. We suggest that identification of similar patients and research with larger numbers of patients must be performed before definitive conclusions can be made. CONCLUSIONS: The elimination of MSG and other excitotoxins from the diets of patients with fibromyalgia offers a benign treatment option that has the potential for dramatic results in a subset of patients. PMID: 11408989
A published study in Sweden that looked at various possible causes of brain tumors (e.G., cell phones, aspartame) found a link between use of diet drinks and certain types of large brain tumors in middle-aged and elderly population groups. http://www.medscape.com/MedGenMed/braintumors
Title: DANGEROUS DIET DRINKS.
Subject(s): ASPARTAME -- Physiological effect; NONNUTRITIVE sweeteners
Side effects; MEMORY
Source: Psychology Today, Mar/Apr 2001, Vol. 34 Issue 2, p20, 2/5p
Section: [Nutrition] Facts&Findings
MIND DANGEROUS DIET DRINKS
CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT YOU HAD FOR LUNCH?
WHAT YOU ATE OR DRANK MIGHT BE THE REASON.
New research suggests that the artificial sweetener aspartame may actually go to your head.
By Peter Rebhahn
Anecdotal evidence that aspartame disrupts memory has been growing since the sugar substitute was approved in the early 1980s, though attempts to prove the claim have so far been equivocal. Previous studies have tested memory by asking aspartame users to remember lists of words or numbers-- tests of short-term memory. But according to Timothy M. Barth, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Texas Christian University, those studies focused on the wrong type of memory.
In his study of 90 students, Barth found that participants who regularly drank diet sodas containing aspartame performed as well as nonusers on laboratory tests. However, aspartame users were more likely to report long-term memory lapses like forgetting details of personal routines or whether or not a task had been completed.
"These people aren't crazy," says Barth. Instead, "the type of memory problems they report are not the type of memories that have been assessed in the typical laboratory study."
After reporting his findings at a recent Society for Neuroscience meeting, Barth cautioned that he thinks it's premature to condemn aspartame. But he does worry about the largely untested effects of long-term use. Already, he has made some converts. "Several of my graduate students who drank diet soda no longer do."
A long-term study linking aspartame ingestion to lymphomas and leukemias in animals. The full study can be read at: http://www.ramazzini.it/fondazione/docs/AspartameGEO2005.pdf. Neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock M.D. commented: "The new study released in the European Journal of Oncology by Morando Soffritti and co-workers should terrify mothers and all those consuming aspartame sweetened products. This was a carefully done study which clearly demonstrated a statistically significant increase in several types of lymphomas and leukemias in rats. Both of these malignancies have increased significantly in this country since the widespread use of aspartame.
"This study confirmed the previous study by Dr. Trocho and co-workers, which also found the formaldehyde breakdown product of aspartame to be damaging to cellular DNA and that this damage was accumulative. The type of damage was a duplicate of that associated with cancers. Along with this most recent study, this means that drinking a single diet cola sweetened with aspartame every day could increase one's risk of developing a lymphoma or leukemia.
"They also found an increased incidence of malignant brain tumors, even though it was not statistically significant. This does not mean there is no association to brain tumors, since only the animals exposed to aspartame developed the tumors. With children and pregnant women drinking the largest amount of diet colas, this puts their children at the greatest risk of developing one of these horrible diseases. Their study found that even low doses of aspartame could cause these malignancies; yet, the higher the dose, the more cancers that were seen."
A followup study was published in Environmental Health Perspectives showing that there was a significant increase in cancer of the kidney and peripheral nerves. The full published study can be found in PDF format at: http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/members/2005/8711/8711.pdf.
A study conducted at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center reported a "41% increase in risk of being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink a person consumes each day." The findings come from eight years of collecting data by Sharon P. Fowler, MPH and colleagues. The results of the study was reported at the 65th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association in San Diet on June 10-14, 2005 (Abstract 1058-P). While this study, by itself, does not prove that aspartame causes weight gain, it adds to the evidence seen in independent research. For example, a study conducted by Dr. H.J. Roberts found that 5% of subjects reporting symptoms from aspartame also reported a "paridoxic weight gain." (Reactions Attributed to Aspartame-Containing Products: 551 Cases," Journal of Applied Nutrition, Volume 40, page 85-94). Lavin found that females with eating restraint had a higher Calorie intake subsequent to aspartame intake as opposed to sugar or water intake. (Lavin, J.H., S.J. French, N.W. Read, 1997. "The Effect of Sucrose- and Aspartame-Sweetened Drinks on Energy Intake, Hunger and Food Choice of Female, Moderately Restrained Eaters," International Journal of Obesity, Volume 21, pages 37-42, 1997.)
A study published in Toxicology (2005 Jun 1; 210(2-3): 235-45. "Cytotoxic effect of formaldehyde with free radicals via increment of cellular reactive oxygen species.") by Saito and colleagues demonstrates that formaldehyde is much more toxic to cells when free radical levels are increased. As has been demonstrated by Trocho, et al. in 1998, aspartame ingestion leads to the significant exposure to and accumulation of formaldehyde adducts in the organs and tissues. In addition, 40% of aspartame breaks down into an excitotoxic amino acid. As Neuroscientist Russell Blaylock points out, "Excitotoxins destroy neurons partly by stimulating the generation of large numbers of free radicals."
Souring on Fake Sugar
Fearful it causes cancer, 12 U.S. environmental health experts last week asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review the potential health risks of the artificial sweetener aspartame, which appears in everything from medicines to diet sodas.
A study published last month in Environmental Health Perspectives found somewhat more leukaemias and lymphomas in male rats receiving less aspartame than the recommended maximum for humans; at higher doses, the rats had a marked increase in cancers throughout the body.
Selection of adverse effects from short-term and/or long-Term useNote: It often takes at least sixty days without *any* aspartame or nutrasweet to see a significant improvement. Improvement in health is also often accompanied by weight loss. Check all labels very carefully (including vitamins and pharmaceuticals). Look for the word "aspartame" on the label and avoid it. (Also, it is a good idea to avoid "acesulfame-k" or "sunette.") Finally, avoid getting nutrition information from junk food industry PR organizations such as IFIC or organizations that accept large sums of money from the junk and chemical food industry such as the American Dietetic Association.
Aspartame Disease Mimmicks Symptoms or Worsens the Following Diseases
Chairman of Citizens for Health Declares FDA Should Review Approval of Splenda
New Study of Splenda and Sucralose Reveals Shocking New Information About Potential Harmful Effect on Humans
MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 22, 2008 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- James Turner, chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health expressed shock and outrage after reading a new report from scientists at Duke University. "The report makes it clear that the artificial sweetener Splenda and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product. Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda and this study, published this past week in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A, confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label," said Turner.
Among the results in the study by Drs. Mohamed B. Abou-Donia, Eman M. El-Masry, Ali A. Abdel-Rahman, Roger E. McLendon and Susan S. Schiffman is evidence that, in the animals studied, Splenda reduces the amount of good bacteria in the intestines by 50%, increases the pH level in the intestines, contributes to increases in body weight and affects the P-glycoprotein (P-gp) in the body in such a way that crucial health-related drugs could be rejected. Turner noted that the P-gp effect "could result in crucial medications used in chemotherapy for cancer patients, AIDS treatment and drugs for heart conditions being shunted back into the intestines rather than being absorbed by the body as intended."
The study was conducted using male rats over a period of twelve weeks. The manufacturers of Splenda also used a rat study when they applied for and received approval to market the product from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. At the time, the findings from their rat studies were extrapolated as to possible effects on humans. This is standard FDA practice and this study is consistent with that practice.
Turner said, "This report followed accepted policies and procedures and the results make clear the potential for disturbing side effects from the ingestion of Splenda. It is like putting a pesticide in your body. And this is at levels of intake erroneously approved by the Food and Drug Administration. A person eating two slices of cake and drinking two cups of coffee containing Splenda would ingest enough sucralose to affect the P-glycoprotein, while consuming just seven little Splenda packages reduces good bacteria." Although the effect of consuming Splenda does not result from a one time use, the side effects do occur after accumulated use. Turner also noted unmistakable evidence that Splenda is absorbed by fat, contrary to the claims of Johnson & Johnson.
Turner announced, "We are calling today on the FDA to immediately accept our petition filed over a year ago and initiate a review of its approval of sucralose and to require a warning label on Splenda packaging cautioning that people who take medications and/or have gastrointestinal problems avoid using Splenda. The new study makes it clear that Splenda can cause you to gain weight and lose the benefits of medications designed to improve and protect your health. The FDA should not continue to turn a blind eye to this health threat."
Citizens for Health will testify in Sacramento, CA, on October 3, 2008, before the California Assembly Committee on Health which is examining the use of deceptive advertising to promote sales of potentially unhealthy food additives, particularly artificial sweeteners.
Different artificial sweeteners have been found to wreak havoc in a number of different ways. Aspartame, for example, has a long list of studies indicating its harmful effects, ranging from brain damage to pre-term delivery.
Splenda (sucralose) has been found to be particularly damaging to your intestines.
A study published in 2008 found that Splenda:
- Reduces the amount of good bacteria in your intestines by 50 percent
- Increases the pH level in your intestines, and
- Affects a glycoprotein in your body that can have crucial health effects, particularly if you're on certain medications like chemotherapy, or treatments for AIDS and certain heart conditions
They also found unmistakable evidence that Splenda is absorbed by fat, contrary to previous claims.
In response to this study, James Turner, chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health issued the following statement:
"The report makes it clear that the artificial sweetener Splenda and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product. Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda and this study ... confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label."
I agree. It's truly disturbing that Splenda can destroy up to 50 percent of your healthy intestinal bacteria, as these bacteria are absolutely vital for supporting your general health! Many people are already deficient in healthy bacteria due to consuming too many highly processed foods. This is why a high quality probiotic is one of the very few supplements I highly recommend for most, if not all, people.
Believe me, if you continually destroy up to half of your gut flora by regularly consuming Splenda, then poor health is virtually guaranteed!
Splenda was approved by the FDA as a tabletop- and general-purpose sweetener in processed foods in 1998. The FDA claims the approval was based on more than 110 animal and human safety studies. However, what they don't specify was that out of these 110 studies, only two were human studies, consisting of a combined total of 36 people, of which only 23 people actually ingested sucralose.
Additionally, the longest of these two human trials lasted only four days and looked at sucralose in relation to tooth decay, not human tolerance!
Many people have sent me stories about their adverse reactions to Splenda, which are posted on my site. This list alone contains more people than were formally studied in the research submitted for FDA approval!
The remainder of those 110-plus "safety studies" were done on animals, and they actually revealed plenty of problems, such as:
- Decreased red blood cells -- sign of anemia -- at levels above 1,500 mg/kg/day
- Increased male infertility by interfering with sperm production and vitality, as well as brain lesions at higher doses
- Enlarged and calcified kidneys (McNeil stated this is often seen with poorly absorbed substances and was of no toxicological significance. The FDA Final Rule agreed that these are findings that are common in aged female rats and are not significant.)
- Spontaneous abortions in nearly half the rabbit population given sucralose, compared to zero aborted pregnancies in the control group
- A 23 percent death rate in rabbits, compared to a 6 percent death rate in the control group
Common Side Effects of Splenda
The web site www.truthaboutsplenda.com lists a variety of consumer complaints from Splenda consumption, such as:
|Gastrointestinal problems||Blurred vision|
|Seizures||Blood sugar increases|
You can also read the first-hand accounts of many of my readers here, at least one of whom say that allowing Splenda on the market is "worse than chemical warfare" based on the adverse effects she suffered before she figured out the cause. Just as with aspartame, many Splenda users complain of general malaise or "feeling under the weather," along with a variety of neurological changes, such as foggy-headedness, lack of concentration, and "bad mood."
If you have ever suffered any side effects from taking Splenda or any artificially sweetened product, I strongly recommend reporting it to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your area.
The catchy slogan "Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar" has fooled many, but chemically, Splenda is actually more similar to DDT than sugar.
Sucralose starts off with a sugar molecule, yes, but that's where the similarity ends. (A sucrose molecule is a disaccharide that contains two single sugars bound together, i.e. glucose and fructose.) Then, in a five-step patented process, three chlorine molecules are added to that sucrose (sugar) molecule.
This process converts the sugar molecule to a fructo-galactose molecule.
This type of sugar molecule does not occur in nature, and therefore your body does not possess the ability to properly metabolize it. As a result of this "unique" biochemical make-up, McNeil Nutritionals makes its claim that Splenda is not digested or metabolized by the body, hence it has zero calories.
But, if you look at the research, you will find that an average of 15 percent of sucralose IS in fact absorbed into your digestive system, and ultimately is stored in your body. To reach the average number of 15 percent means that some people absorb more and some people absorb less, depending on your biochemical makeup.
If you are healthy and your digestive system works well, you may be at HIGHER risk for breaking down this product in your stomach and intestines, so for you the adverse reactions may be more acutely felt.