Extracted from Nexus Magazine, Volume 2, #28 (Oct-Nov ’95) and Volume 3, #1
(Dec ’95-Jan ’96). PO Box 30, Mapleton Qld 4560 Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: +61 (0)7 5442 9280; Fax: +61 (0)7 5442 9381 www.nexusmagazine.com
AILMENTS RESULTING FROM ASPARTAME
The components of aspartame can lead to a wide variety of ailments. Some of these problems occur gradually, others are immediate, acute reactions.
There is an enormous population of people who are suffering from symtpoms contributed to by aspartame, yet they have no idea why herbs or drugs are not helping relieve their problems.
There are other users of aspartame who appear not to be suffering immediate reactions to aspartame. But even these individuals are susceptible to the long-term damage caused by excitatory amino acids, phenylalanine, methanol, and DKP. A few of the many disorders that are of particular concern to me include the following.
Dr Diana Dow Edwards, a researcher was funded by Monsanto to study possible birth defects caused by the ingestion of aspartame. After preliminary data showed damaging information about aspartame, funding for the study was cut off. A Gentetic Pediatrician at Emory University has testified that aspartame is causing birth defects.7360-367.
In the book, While Waiting: A Prenatal Guidebook by George R. Verrilli, M.D. and Anne Marie Mueser, 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.
Cancer (Brain Cancer).
In 1981, Satya Dubey, 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 the 320 rats fed a normal diet and aspartame developed brain tumors while none of the control rats had tumors.
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.
The late Dr Adrian Gross, an FDA toxicologist, testified before the US 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, Raymond Schroeder told the FDA on July 13, 1977 that the particles of DKP were so large that the rats could dicriminate between the DKP and their normal diet.(12)
It is interesting to note that the incidence of brain tumors in persons over 65 years of age has increase 67% between the years 1973 and 1990. Brain tumors in all age groups has jumped 10%. The greatest increase has come during the years 1985-1987.(17)
In his book, Aspartame (NutraSweet). Is it Safe?, Roberts gives evidence that aspartame can cause a particularly dangerous form of cancer-primary lymphoma of the brain.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is actually recommending this chemical poison to persons with diabetes. According to research conducted by H.J. Roberts, a diabetes specialist, a member of the ADA, and an authority on artificial sweetners, aspartame:
1) Leads to the precipitation of clinical diabetes.
2) Causes poorer diabetic control in diebetics 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 aspartain by persons with diabetes and hypoglycemia, Roberts 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.”
Roberts goes on to say:
“I regret the failure of other physicians and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to sound appropriate warnings to patients and consumers based on these repeated findings which have been described in my corporate-neutral studies and publications.”
Blaylock stated that excitotoxins such as that found in aspartame can precipitate diabetes in persons who are genetically susceptible to the disease.(5)
A double blind study of the effects of aspartame on persons with mood disorders was recently conducted by Dr Ralph G. Walton. Since the study wasn’t funded/controlled by the makers of aspartame, The NutraSweet Company refused to sell him the aspartame. Walton was forced to obtain
and certify it from an outside source.
The study 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. Walton concludes that “individuals with mood disorders are particularly sensitive to this artificial sweetener; its use in this population should be discouraged.”(18)
Aware that the experiment could not be repeated because of the danger to the test subjects, Walton was recently quoted as saying, “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)
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.
Researchers have pointed out that increasing in phenylalanine levels in the brain, which can and does occur in persons without PKU, leads to a decreased level of the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which leads to a variety of emotional disorders. Dr William M. Pardridge of UCLA testified before the US Senate that a youth drinking four 16-ounce bottles of diet soda per day leads to an enormous increase in the phenylalanine level.
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 deliterious 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 and Pilot (1990) and a paper warning about aspartame was presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the Aerospace Medical Association (Gaffney 1986).
Recently, a hotline was 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)
One of the original studies on aspartame was performed in 1969 by an independent scientist, Dr Harry Waisman. He studied the effects of aspartame on infant primates. Out of the seven infant monkeys, one died after 300 days and five others had grand mal seizures. Of course, these negative findings were not submitted to the FDA during the approval process.(22)
Why don’t we hear about these things?
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 US.
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 the 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
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
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)
Many other “independent” organizations and researchers receive large sums of money from the manufacturers of aspartame. The American Diabetes Association has received a large amount of money from Nutrasweet, including money to run a cooking school in Chicago (presumably to teach
diabetes how to use Nutrasweet in their cooking).
A researcher in New England who has pointed out the dangers of aspartame in the past is now a Monsanto consultant. Another researcher in the Southeastern US had testified about the dangers o aspartame on fetuses. An investigative reporter has discovered that he was told to keep his mouth shut to avoid causing the loss of a large grant from a diet cola manufacturer in the NutraSweet Association.
What is the FDA doing to protect the consumer from the dangers of aspartame?
Less than nothing.
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 the leaf has been used for hundreds of years as an alternative sweetner. 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 which has been well known in many parts of the world where it is not banned.
Everyone that I have spoken with in regards to this issue believes that stevia was banned to keep the product from taking hold in the US and cutting into sales of aspartame.(26)
What is the US Congress doing to protect the consumer from the dangers of aspartame?
What is the US Administration (President) doing to protect the consumer from the dangers of aspartame?
Aspartame consumption is not only a problem in the US. It is being sold in over 70 countries throughout the world.
ASPARTAME CAN BE FOUND IN
- instant breakfasts
- breath mints
- sugar-free chewing gum
- cocoa mixes
- coffee beverages
- frozen desserts
- gelatin desserts
- juice beverages
- milk drinks
- pharmaceuticals and supplements
- shake mixes
- soft drinks
- tabletop sweeteners
- tea beverages
- instant teas and coffees
- topping mixes
- wine coolers
I have been told that aspartame has been found in products where it is not listed on the label. One must be particular careful of pharmaceuticals and supplements. I have been informed that even some supplements made by well-known supplement manufacturers such as Twinlabs contain aspartame.
The information I have related above is just the tip of the iceberg as far as damaging information about aspartame. In order for the reader to find out more, I have included some resources below.
Blaylock, Russell L., Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills (Health Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1994). One of the best books available on excitotoxins. Well worth reading!
H. J. Roberts, M.D., Aspartame (NutraSweet), Is it Safe? Available from
Barbara Mullarkey, Editor, Bittersweet Aspartame – A Diet Delusion,
(1) Department of Health and Human Services, Report on All Adverse Reactions in the Adverse Reaction Monitoring System, (February 25 and 28, 1994).
(2) Compiled by researchers, physicians, and artificial sweetner experts for Mission Possible, a group dedicated to warning consumers about aspartame.
(3) Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, by Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.
(4) Safety of Amino Acids, Life Sciences Research Office, FASEB, FDA Contract No. 223-88-2124, Task Order No. 8.
(5) FDA Adverse Reaction Monitoring System.
(6) Wurtman and Walker, “Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function,” Proceedings of the First International Meeting on Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function., Washington, D.C., May 8, 1987.
(7) Hearing Before the Committee On Labor and Human Resources United States Senate, First Session on Examing the Health and Safety Concerns of Nutrasweet (Aspartame).
(8) Account of John Cook as published in Informed Consent Magazine. “How Safe Is Your Artificial Sweetner” by Barbara Mullarkey, September/October 1994.
(9) Woodrow C. Monte, Ph.D., R.D., “Aspartame: Methanol and the Public Health,” Journal of Applied Nutrition, 36 (1): 42-53.
(10) US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, No. 84-1153 Community Nutrition Institute and Dr Woodrow Monte v. Dr Mark Novitch, Acting Commissioner, US FDA (9/24/85).
(11) Aspartame Time Line by Barbara Mullarkey as published in Informed Consent Magazine, May/June 1994.
(12) FDA Searle Investigation Task Force. “Final Report of Investigation of G.D. Searle Company.” (March 24, 1976)
(13) Testimony of Dr Jacqueline Verrett, FDA Toxicologist before the US Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, (November 3, 1987).
(14) Internal FDA memorandum.
(15) Analysis prepared by Dr John Olney as a statement before the Aspartame Board of Inquire of the FDA. Also Excitotoxins by Russell Blaylock, M.D.
(16) Congressional Record SID835: 131 (August 1, 1985)
(17) National Cancer Institute SEER Program Data.
(18) Walton, Ralph G., Robert Hudak, Ruth Green-Waite “Adverse Reactions to Aspartame: Double-Blind Challenge in Patients from a Vulnerable Population,” Biological Psychiatry, 1993:34:13-17.
(19) Barbara Mullarkey, “How Safe Is Your Artificial Sweetner,” September/October 1994 issue of Informed Consent Magazine.
(20) US Air Force. “Aspartame Alert.” Flying Safety, 48 (5): 20-21 (May 1992).
(21) Reported by the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network.
(22) Barbara Mullarkey, Bittersweet Aspartame, A Diet Delusion.
(23) Millstone, Eric “Sweet and Sour.” The Ecologist, 25 (March/April 1994).
(24) ADA Courier, January 1993, Volume 32, Number 1. (26) “FDA Rejects AHPA Stevia Petition” by Mark Blumenthal, Whole Foods, April 1994.