The Dangers of Aspartame Artificial Sweetener
Synopsis: Aspartame accounts for more than 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives reported by the FDA.1
Author: Thomas C. Weiss Contact: disabled-world.com
Published: 2013-02-22 Updated: 2018-03-26
"Aspartame," is the technical name for brand name artificial sweeteners sold by the names, "NutraSweet," "Equal," "Equal-Measure," and, "Spoonful." The substance was discovered by accident in the year 1965 by James Schlatter, a chemist of the G.D. Searle Company as he was testing an anti-ulcer medication.
Aspartame is an artificial, non-saccharide sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages. In the European Union, it is codified as E951. It was first sold under the brand name NutraSweet; since 2009 it also has been sold under the brand name AminoSweet.
Aspartame is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose, or table sugar. Due to this, even though aspartame produces four kilo-calories of energy per gram when metabolized, the quantity of aspartame needed to produce a sweet taste is so small that its caloric contribution is negligible.
Aspartame accounts for more than 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives reported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A number of these reactions are very serious and include seizures and even death. Some of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by this substance include:
- Joint pain
- Weight gain
- Memory loss
- Hearing loss
- Loss of taste
- Slurred speech
- Muscle spasms
- Anxiety attacks
- Vision problems
- Heart palpitations
- Breathing difficulties
Researchers and doctors studying the adverse effects of aspartame have stated that certain chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by using aspartame. Using products containing aspartame can worsen conditions such as multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, chronic fatigue syndrome, epilepsy, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, lymphoma, mental retardation, fibromyalgia, diabetes, and birth defects.
What Aspartame is Made Of?
Aspartame is made up of three chemicals - aspartic acid, methanol, and phenylalanine.
A book titled, 'Prescription for Nutritional Healing,' by Phyllis and James Balch lists aspartame under the category of, 'chemical poison.' As a person, I have chosen to exclude this toxic group of chemicals from my life along with all other artificial sweeteners to the best of my ability. In my opinion this, 'product,' if used on the battlefield, would comprise chemical warfare.
Professor of Neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi, Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, published a book detailing the damages that are caused by consuming aspartic acid contained in aspartame. Dr. Blaylock used nearly 500 scientific references to demonstrate how excess free excitatory amino acids such as aspartic acid and glutamic acid in the food supply are causing serious and chronic neurological disorders and many other acute symptoms.
How Aspartate and Glutamate Cause Damage
Aspartame and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in a person's brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartame or glutamate in a person's brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. The influx triggers excessive amounts of, 'free radicals,' which kills the cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartame and glutamate is the reason they are called, 'excitotoxins.' They, 'excite,' or stimulate a person's neural cells and kill them.
Like a sneaky predator, this substance kills 75% or more of a person's neural cells in a particular area of their brain before any clinical symptoms of chronic illness are even noticed. Just a few of the many chronic illnesses that have been demonstrated to be contributed to through exposure to excitatory amino acid damage include the following:
- Hearing loss
- Memory loss
- Brain lesions
- Hormonal problems
- Parkinson's disease
- Alzheimer's disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Neuroendocrine disorders
The risks to infants, children, women who are pregnant, seniors, and people who experience certain chronic health issues from excitotoxins is immense.
Even the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), which commonly understates problems and parrots the FDA line 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 disastrous effects on a person's body as glutamic acid.
Phenylalanine - A Chemical in Aspartame
Half of the substance aspartame is the chemical, 'phenylalanine.'
The chemical is an amino acid and people with the genetic disorder, 'phenylketonuria (PKU),' are unable to metabolize it, leading to dangerously high levels of phenylalanine in their brains; sometimes lethal. It has been demonstrated that consuming aspartame, particularly along with carbohydrates, may lead to excess levels of phenylalanine in a person's brain - even in those who do not have PKU. People who have consumed large amounts of aspartame and do not have PKU have been shown to have excessive levels of phenylalanine in their blood.
Excessive levels of this chemical in a person's brain can cause their levels of serotonin to decrease and lead to emotional disorders such as depression.
It was demonstrated through human testing that phenylalanine levels in the blood were significantly increased in human subjects who chronically used aspartame. Even a single use of this substance raised a person's phenylalanine levels. In testimony before Congress Dr. Louis J. Elsas demonstrated that high blood phenylalanine can be concentrated in portions of a person's brain and is particularly dangerous for infants and fetuses. Dr. Elsas also demonstrated that rodents metabolize this chemical far more efficiently than people, found in readily available aspartame.
Methanol - Another Chemical in Aspartame
'Methanol,' also referred to as, 'wood alcohol,' which is a poison, comprised 10% of the product being sold as aspartame. Methanol is a deadly poison. Some might remember methanol as the poison that caused some alcoholics to end up blind or even dead. Methanol is gradually released into a person's small intestine when the methyl group of aspartame encounters the enzyme, 'chymotrypsin.'
Absorption of methanol into a person's body is considerably increased when free methanol is ingested. Free methanol is created from aspartame when it is heated to above 86 degrees Fahrenheit or 30 Centigrade. Such would be the case when a product containing aspartame is not stored appropriately, or when it is heated - such as a part of a product like Jello.
Methanol is a chemical that breaks down into formaldehyde and formic acid in a person's body. Formaldehyde is a deadly neurotoxin. An Environmental Protection Agency (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."
The EPA recommends a limit of consumption of this chemical of 7.8 mg. a day. Yet a one-liter container of soda pop containing aspartame contains around 56 mg. of methanol. So much for the Food and Drug Administration! Heavy users of products containing aspartame consume as much as 250 mg. of methanol a day, or 32 times the EPA's suggested limit. The symptoms of methanol poisoning include:
- Ear buzzing
- Misty vision
- Memory lapses
- Retinal damage
- Blurring of vision
- Obscuration of vision
- Behavioral disturbances
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
- Progressive contraction of visual fields
- Numbness and shooting pains in the extremities
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen; it interferes with DNA replication and causes birth defects. Due to a lack of a couple of key enzymes, people are several times more sensitive to the toxic effects of methanol than animals. Because of this fact, tests related to aspartame or methanol on animals do not accurately reflect the dangers related to their consumption by human beings.
Soldiers during Desert Storm were offered large amounts of beverages sweetened with aspartame.
The beverages had been heated to over 86 degrees F. in the Saudi Arabian sun. A number of these soldiers returned home with numerous disorders similar to what have been seen in people who have been chemically poisoned by formaldehyde. The free methanol in the beverages might have been a contributing factor in the illnesses these soldiers experience. Additional breakdown products of aspartame such as DKP might also have been a factor.
It is important to note that in 1993, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved aspartame as an ingredient in a number of food items that would always be heated to above 86 degrees F. I guess corporate dollars matter more than your health.
Diketopiperazine (DKP) - A Byproduct of Aspartame
'DKP,' is a byproduct of aspartame metabolism and has been implicated in the occurrence of brain tumors.
DKP when, 'nitrosated,' in a person's stomach, produced a compound that was similar to, 'N-nitrosourea,' which is a powerful brain tumor causing chemical. DKP is formed in liquid aspartame containing products during storage.
FDA Toxicologist Dr. Jacqueline Verett has also implicated DKP as a cause of changes in blood cholesterol and uterine polyps during her testimony before the United States Senate.
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