“Diet” products containing the chemical sweetener aspartame can have multiple neurotoxic, metabolic, allergenic, fetal and carcinogenic effects. My database of 1,200 aspartame reactors–based on logical diagnostic criteria, including predictable recurrence on rechallenge–is reviewed.
The existence of aspartame disease continues to be denied by the FDA and powerful corporate entities. Its magnitude, however, warrants removal of this chemical as an “imminent public health threat.” The use of aspartame products by over two-thirds of the population, and inadequate evaluation by corporate-partial investigators underscore this opinion.
The FDA approved aspartame as a low-nutritive sweetener for use in solid form during 1981, and in soft drinks during 1983. It is a synthetic chemical consisting of two amino acids, phenylalanine (50 percent) and aspartic acid (40 percent), and a methyl ester (10 percent) that promptly becomes free methyl alcohol (methanol; wood alcohol). The latter is universally considered a severe poison.
Senior FDA scientists and consultants vigorously protested approving the release of aspartame products. Their objections related to disturbing findings in animal studies (especially the frequency of brain tumors), seemingly flawed experimental data, and the absence of extensive pre-marketing trials on humans using real-world products over prolonged periods.
Aspartame reactions may be caused by the compound itself, its three components, stereoisomers of the amino acids, toxic breakdown products (including formaldehyde), or combinations thereof. They often occur in conjunction with severe caloric restriction and excessive exercise to lose weight.
Various metabolic and physiologic disturbances explain the clinical complications. Only a few are listed:
- Damage to the retina or optic nerves is largely due to methyl alcohol exposure. Unlike most animals, humans cannot efficiently metabolize it.
- High concentrations of phenylalanine and aspartic acid occur in the brain after aspartame intake, unlike the modest levels of amino acids following conventional protein consumption.
- Aspartame alters the function of major amino acid-derived neurotransmitters, especially in obese persons and after carbohydrate intake.
- Phenylalanine stimulates the release of insulin and growth hormone.
- The ambiguous signals to the satiety center following aspartame intake may result either in increased food consumption or severe anorexia.
- Large amounts of the radioactive-carbon label from oral aspartame intake have been detected in DNA.
The current “acceptable daily intake” (ADI) of 50 mg aspartame/kg body weight makes no sense. It represents the projection of animal studies based on lifetime intake! This was clearly stated by previous FDA Commissioner Dr. Frank Young during a U.S. Senate hearing on November 3, 1987. Furthermore, it disregards the usual 100-fold safety factor used by the FDA as a guideline for regulated food additives. The maximum daily intake tolerated by most reactors in my series, based on the predictable recurrence of induced symptoms and signs, ranged from 10 to 18.3 mg/kg.
- “We had better be sure that the questions that have been raised about the safety of this product are answered. I must say at the outset, this product was approved by the FDA in circumstances that can only be described as troubling.”
I have devoted more than two decades to analyzing aspartame disease, a widespread but largely ignored disorder. Its existence continues to be reflexively denied by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Medical Association (AMA), and many public health/ regulatory organizations.
The medical profession and consumers have been assured by the Council on Scientific Affairs of the AMA2 and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that aspartame is “completely safe.” Moreover, the impression is left that reports of serious reactions are a “health rumor” fabrication … notwithstanding the CDC report in 1984 of 649 aspartame reactors with many attributed disorders3.
Many reactors consumed prodigious amounts of aspartame, especially during hot weather. Conversely, some experienced convulsions, headache, or other severe symptoms after exposure to small amounts (e.g., chewing aspartame gum; placing an aspartame strip on the tongue; babies while breast-feeding as the mother drank an aspartame beverage).
Interval Between Cessation and Improvement
Nearly two-thirds of aspartame reactors experienced symptomatic improvement within two days after avoiding aspartame. With continued abstinence, their complaints generally disappeared.
The causative role of aspartame products has been repeatedly shown by (a) the prompt improvement of symptoms (grand mal seizures, headache, itching, rashes, severe gastrointestinal reactions) after stopping aspartame products, and (b) their recurrence within minutes or hours after resuming them. The latter included self-testing on numerous occasions, inadvertent ingestion, and formal rechallenge.
Some aspartame reactors with convulsions purposefully rechallenged themselves on one or several occasions “to be absolutely certain.” This was unique among six pilots who had lost their licenses for unexplained seizures while consuming aspartame products. (All had been in otherwise excellent health.) They sought to have their licenses reinstated by such objective confirmation on rechallenge.
These groups include pregnant and lactating women, young children, older persons, those at risk for phenylketonuria (PKU), the relatives of aspartame reactors (see above), and patients with liver disease, iron-deficiency anemia, kidney impairment, migraine, diabetes, hypoglycemia, and hypothyroidism.
Source: wnho.net By H. J. Roberts