Aspartame is the name for an
artificial, non-saccharide sweetener. In the European Union, it is
known under the E number (additive code) E951. Aspartame is the
methyl ester of a phenylalanine/aspartic acid dipeptide. It has been
the subject of controversy since its initial approval in 1974. -
|This sweetener is marketed under a number of
trademark names, including Equal, NutraSweet, and Canderel, and is an
ingredient of approximately 6,000 consumer foods and beverages sold
worldwide, including (but not limited to) diet sodas and other soft
drinks, instant breakfasts, breath mints, cereals, sugar-free chewing
gum, cocoa mixes, frozen desserts, gelatine desserts, juices,
laxatives, multivitamins, milk drinks, pharmaceutical drugs and
supplements, shake mixes, tabletop sweeteners, teas, instant coffees,
topping mixes, wine coolers and yogurt. It is provided as a table
condiment in some countries. It is also used in some brands of
chewable vitamin supplements. It is common in sugar-free chewing gum
and has now been found in some chewing gum that is not sugar free.
However, aspartame is not always suitable for baking because it often
breaks down when heated and loses much of its sweetness. Unfortunately, Aspartame is
also one of the sugar substitutes used by people with diabetes.
Because sucralose, unlike aspartame, retains its sweetness after being heated, it has become more popular as an ingredient. This, along with differences in marketing and changing consumer preferences, has caused aspartame to lose market share to sucralose.
|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.(1) 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:(2) 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. - mercola
|What Is Aspartame Made Of?|
|Aspartic Acid (40 percent of Aspartame)|
|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.|
|How Aspartate (and Glutamate) Cause Damage|
and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain by facilitating
the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much
aspartate or glutamate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing
the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers
excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. The neural
cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate and glutamate
is why they are referred to as "excitotoxins." They "excite" or
stimulate the neural cells to death.
Aspartic acid is an amino acid. Taken in its free form (unbound to proteins) it significantly raises the blood plasma level of aspartate and glutamate. The excess aspartate and glutamate in the blood plasma shortly after ingesting aspartame or products with free glutamic acid (glutamate precursor) leads to a high level of those neurotransmitters in certain areas of the brain.
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 (50 percent of aspartame)|
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
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.
One account of a case of extremely high phenylalanine levels caused
by aspartame was recently published the "Wednesday Journal" in an
article titled "An Aspartame Nightmare." John Cook began drinking six
to eight diet drinks every day. His symptoms started out as memory
loss and frequent headaches. He began to crave more
aspartame-sweetened drinks. His condition deteriorated so much that
he experienced wide mood swings and violent rages. Even though he did
not suffer from PKU, a blood test revealed a phenylalanine level of
80 mg/dl. He also showed abnormal brain function and brain damage.
After he kicked his aspartame habit, his symptoms improved
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 provide a boost to sales of seratonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac and drugs to control schizophrenia and seizures.
|Methanol (wood alcohol/poison) (10 percent of aspartame)|
|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
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. - mercola
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Aspartame WarningThis page exists solely to try and spread the word about the numerous & serious dangers of regular aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal) consumption. Currently the 100+ articles on this page contain facts & opinions from over 50 doctors & nutritionists, many of which have each "cured" their patients of many symptoms (including weight gain) simply by removing aspartame from their diet. These 50+ doctors strongly recommend avoiding all aspartame products. Numerous articles detailing the unbelievable history of the aspartame approval are also provided, along with thousands of testimonials from former users. Some info. on the new sweetener Splenda (sucralose) found in Diet Rite soda is also provided.
The multi-billion dollar aspartame industry would like you believe that "aspartame kills" is an "urban legend" and that you'd have to drink 100 cans of diet soda a day to be harmed by aspartame. This is just simply not true. Their main claim is that the 3 components of aspartame are found in many natural foods and are therefore safe. This is kind of like saying carbon monoxide is safe because all it contains is carbon & oxygen, the same components of carbon dioxide. Methanol (wood alcohol), which makes up 10% of aspartame and is highly toxic (adult minimum lethal dose is 2 teaspoons), is also found in some fruits & vegetables like tomatoes. However, methanol is never found in natural foods without ethanol & pectin, its "antidotes" if you will (detailed facts below). Ethanol & pectin prevent methanol from being metabolized into formaldehyde (embalming fluid) & formic acid (same chemical as fire ant venom), both deadly toxins. An ethanol drip is even the standard emergency room treatment for methanol poisoning. Aspartame contains no ethanol or pectin, therefore the methanol is converted to formaldehyde and formic acid. Phenylalanine and aspartic acid, the other 2 components of aspartame, are amino acids found in natural foods but always as part of long chains of many different amino acids to form complex protein molecules that take humans 12 hours to gradually break down & assimilate. According to the doctors below, when consumed by themselves these 2 amino acids require no digestion and quickly enter the brain & central nervous system at abnormally high levels, overstimulating brain cells to death and causing many other health problems.
"Pro" aspartame people point to industry sponsored short term tests, ignoring independant tests. They point to "reliable" health sites, organizations, foundations etc. that are sponsored, funded & fed "facts" by companies that profit from aspartame. And of course, the FDA approved it so "it must be safe", neglecting to mention that the FDA denied aspartame approval for over 8 years until the newly appointed FDA commissioner Arthur Hull Hayes overruled the final scientic review panel, approved aspartame, and then went to work for G.D. Searle's (initial owner of aspartame) public relations firm at $1,000 a day. Hayes has refused all interviews to discuss his actions. The FDA also urged Congress to prosecute G.D. Searle for "specific false statements or concealed facts" stemming from Searle's testing of aspartame. However, the 2 government lawyers assigned to the case decided against prosecuting G.D. Searle and then joined G.D. Searle's law firm! Even the National Soft Drink Assn. filed a strong protest letter (available below) in 1983 against the approval of aspartame for use in beverages, saying "aspartame is inherently, markedly and uniquely unstable in aqueous media." Also, the FDA still allows hydrogenated oils to be used, does that make them safe?
Remember, they're talking about the CUMULATIVE effects
of regular aspartame consumption and that some people are more affected
than others (but everyone is affected) due to a few factors including
the condition of their protective blood-brain barrier. Bookmark this
page and email it to everyone you know, especially pregnant women.
A pervasive POISON amongst US!
Dear Members and Friends -
This is being sent to you since I keep hearing of reports of people on various lists I am on that know NOTHING of the dangers of aspartame. Most are not even aware Aspartame (or Neotame) is in Flinestone children's vitamins, in Kool-Aide, in all breath mint strips from the regular store, and of course it's in Diet Sodas. Most restaurants and bakeries put Aspartame in their dessert products -- or anything that requires "sweetness".
And for diabetics, aspartame is particularly deadly. Please read about Dr. H.J. Robert's experience treating diabetic patients who use aspartame and their marked improvement once they ceased using this deadly poison.
In fact, research this topic for yourself at Mission Possible's website:
Which brings me to the reason I found out that people in our networks are addicted to aspartame. I was sharing about our publication of The Artificially Sweetened Times and encouraging someone to read the text of it at
SO... Please review it yourself and get this information OUT THERE!!!
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The Artificially Sweetened Times is a special edition, 8 page tabloid-sized newsprint publication designed to educate the public on the artificial sweeteners aspartame and neotame. Topics covered include:
· the history of refined sugar(s) and its link to slavery
We are projecting that this timeless periodical will be reprinted several times until these artificial sweeteners are eventually removed from the marketplace.
The Artificially Sweetened Times is designed to be mailed for the cost of a 1st class 37 cent stamp. It MUST be folded in half and taped or stapled to meet both size and weight requirements. We also encourage you to put them in store fronts on consignment and distribute them at community meetings.
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