Welcome to Octobers Feature Topic – ASPARTAME
These Topics are CRITICAL to being better informed… We hope these Topics cover issues YOU want to know about? We provide here evidence of the dangers of this dangerous poison and to encourage YOU to eliminate it from your diet… Be informed and ask yourself why we are being subjected to such Neurotoxins in our food chain??
Aspartame: A brief history
As early as 1960 aspartame was determined to be a dangerous chemical and the emerging research years later only served to affirm the true nature of this artificial sweetener. Over the years, aspartame has been found to create holes in brain tissue, adversely affect the brain and nerve development in the fetus, cause cancer, migraines, headaches, seizures, convulsions and even retinal damage. With this amount of negative findings, aspartame should have been removed from the market years ago!
Ironically, aspartame was indeed removed from the market after it was already approved for limited use based on tests selected by Searle, the company who originally produced the artificial sweetener. This was after Dr. John Olney, a research psychiatrist from Washington School of Medicine, revealed that consumption of aspartic acid, a major ingredient in aspartame, produced holes in the brains of animal subjects.
After two task forces that found questionable laboratory practices as well as findings, the FDA ordered a grand jury investigation of aspartame studies, but lawyers for the government failed to initiate a legal action against Searle. Time ran out, and the grand jury investigation had to be terminated. Of interest to note was that one of the lawyers for the government, U.S. attorney William Conlon, later joined the law firm representing Searle.
Unfazed by this setback, the FDA this time recommended a Public Board Inquiry which recommended that aspartame be kept off the market until further tests could prove that it did not cause tumors. This led to a formation of another team of experts brought together to look into the Public Board of Inquiry’s conclusions. This team found itself in a deadlock over aspartame approval, causing the FDA Commissioner not to approve aspartame this time.
In April 1981, Dr. Arthur Hayes was appointed the new Commissioner for the FDA and he later approved aspartame for use in dry goods. In 1983, he also approved aspartame for use in diet drinks, conveniently leaving months later to work for Searle’s advertising agency.
What is Aspartame?
Over a billion people consume aspartame in their foods and beverages across the world, believing it to be a safe ingredient, but what they probably don’t know is that aspartame currently accounts for over 75% of all side effects complaints received by the FDA’s Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS) for the past 4 years. It is banned by health-conscious countries all over the world, especially where there is a national health-care system in place. Aspartame is best known by the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet One and Spoonful.
Aspartame is a synthetic chemical combination which is comprised of approximately 50% phenylalanine, 40% aspartic acid, and 10% methanol. Aspartame is found in thousands of foods, drinks, candy, gum, vitamins, health supplements and even pharmaceuticals. (http://www.wellsphere.com/wellpage/aspartame-banned)…
Why Aspartame is dangerous
75 percent of reported adverse reaction to food additives is attributed to aspartame. Of these reactions, many are serious and include seizures and death. A number of the 90 documented symptoms as reportedly caused by aspartame are headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, rashes, depression, irritability, insomnia, hearing loss, vision problems, loss of taste vertigo and memory loss.
Those who study the adverse effects of aspartame report that the following medical conditions are triggered or worsened by aspartame: brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, mental retardation, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, lymphoma, birth defects, diabetes and fibromyalgia. And that’s not all — according to Victoria Iness-Brown in her book “My Aspartame Experiment,” aspartame is also addictive.
We can only guess and read between the lines what kind of politics it took to get aspartame approved. After more than 8,000 complaints on NutraSweet side effects, a list of symptoms attributed to aspartame from complaints submitted to the FDA was made public. This list included among others: hallucinations, diarrhea, seizures, depression, migraine, fatigue and insomnia. Aspartame has also been linked to tumors, cancer and infertility.
Except for a brief declaration that carefully controlled clinical studies showed aspartame is not an allergen, the FDA merely issued an advisory that products containing aspartame must include a warning to phenylketonurics, people sensitive to the compound phenylalanine. It still continues to adhere to its stand that “aspartame as a carcinogen is not supported by data.”
Aspartame was never tested on humans before its approval. Now, it is found in 6,000 products and consumed by more than 250 million people, with Americans consuming around half of the world supply. By default, we have now become the test subjects for aspartame’s safety. Unwittingly we are providing evidence to aspartame’s toxicity through the devastating effects it is slowly producing among its consumers. The list of complaints submitted to the FDA as well as from anecdotal reports does not seem to end anytime soon. If the government chooses to turn a blind eye on aspartame, let us at least choose not to be a willing conspirator and suffer the consequences of being a willing victim.
What is Aspartame composed of?
To understand the effects of aspartame one must look at its genetic composition. This substance – which is 200 times sweeter than sugar – is made of 50 % phenylalanine, 40 % aspartic acid and 10 % methanol.
Each of the three ingredients in Aspartame poses its own dangers and each is well documented as causing a long list of side effects and dangerous health conditions. Watch for the ingredient Acesulfame Potassium, which is just another name for Aspartame.
Aspartic acid is considered an excito-toxin, which means it over stimulates certain neurons in the body until they die. Much like nitrates and MSG, aspartic acid can cause amino acid imbalances in the body and result in the interruption of normal neurotransmitter metabolism of the brain. (http://www.holisticmed.net/aspartame/aminoacid.pdf)
Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgery professor at the Medical University of Mississippi, describes aspartic acid as an isolated amino acid that is just as toxic as glutamate, another popular additive. Aspartic acid is an excitotoxin, a chemical that excites the brain to the point of death. It alters the manner of brain formation in newborn infants, permanently resulting in hyperactivity and behavioral changes in children.
In its free form, unbound from proteins, it significantly raises the plasma level shortly after ingestion. The excess aspartate in the blood shortly after ingestion leads to high levels in certain areas of the brain. It slowly begins to destroy neurons and a large part of neural cells in a particular area of a brain are destroyed before any clinical symptom of an illness is noticed. Reported physical effects after long exposure to excitatory amino acid include Parkinson’s disease, brain lesions, neuroendocrine disorders and hypoglycemia to mention a few.
Pregnant women and lactating mothers increase their risk by consuming aspartame-laden products because the child’s brain barrier, which protects the brain from excess aspartate and other toxins, is not developed enough to protect it from this chemical. Moreover, while in the womb and during the first year of life, these compounds can have free access to the nervous system due to the fragility of the infant’s blood brain barrier during this stage of development.
Phenylalanine is an amino acid. Individuals with phenylketonuria, a genetic disorder, cannot utilize phenylalanine, causing possible buildup in the body. Even for persons who are not suffering from phenylketonuria, it has been shown that ingesting aspartame together with carbohydrates can cause increased levels in the body. Excess phenylalanine in the body causes the serotonin levels to dip leading to emotional disorders like depression. Human testing has shown that phenylalanine levels significantly increased in subjects who chronically used aspartame.
Even a single use of Aspartame raises the blood phenylalanine levels. High blood phenylalanine can be concentrated in parts of the brain and is especially dangerous for infants and fetuses. Because it is metabolized much more efficiently by rodents than humans, testing and research on rats alone is not sufficient enough to denounce the dangers of Aspartame for human consumption. Excessive levels of phenylalanine in the brain cause serotonin levels to decrease, leading to emotional disorders like depression.
Methanol is a neurotoxin and an extremely harmful substance. The enzyme chymotrypsin facilitates its release in the small intestine. Its absorption is sped up when aspartame is heated above 30 centigrad – or above 86 Fahrenheit – creating free methanol. This normally occurs when products containing aspartame are improperly stored or when subjected to heat.
Normally, methanol breaks down into formaldehyde and formic acid. Formaldehyde interferes with DNA reproduction, retinal damage and birth defects. Its toxicity affects the nervous system, taking approximately ten to thirty hours before symptoms manifest – the most common of which is vision impairment. The symptoms for methanol poisoning have been reported to include dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, memory lapses and numbness to name a few.
- Methanol becomes Formaldehyde (Embalming fluid): The most prominent danger of Aspartame is that when ingested, the methanol (wood alcohol) is distributed throughout the body, including the brain, muscle, fat and nervous tissues, and is then metabolized to form formaldehyde, which enters cells and binds to proteins and genetic material (DNA). Methanol is a dangerous neurotoxin and a known carcinogen, which causes retinal damage in the eye, interferes with DNA processes, and can cause birth defects. (http://aspartame.mercola.com/)
Any dose of Aspartame is harmful
A stated consumption limit of 7.8mg/day is recommended, but a one litre of an aspartame sweetened drink contains at least 7-8 times that limit – being about 56 mg of methanol. Heavy users of products containing aspartame consume as much as 250mg of methanol a day or 32 times the recommended limit.
Since humans do not possess certain key enzymes that animal subjects possess, human are more sensitive to the toxic effects of methanol. It is without doubt that animal testing on aspartame or methanol does not accurately reflect the potential danger for humans.