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Is the Artificial Sweetener Aspartame Really a Problem?

34 comments

It pains me to write this blog. I love Diet Coke. And it contains Aspartame. Aspartame, a food additive which makes things taste sweeter, is in everything from diet drinks to ice cream. Used in more than 6,000 products throughout the world, when consumed by humans, it breaks down chemically into aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol. The Coca-Cola Company and other food and beverage manufacturers and processors using Aspartame in their products would like consumers to believe that the methanol component in Aspartame is not a reason for concern – because methanol also “occurs naturally” in vegetables and fruit. And that methanol does not pose a problem because it is chemically attached (or bonded) to the pectin contained in the fruit or vegetable, and passes through the human digestive tract without doing harm. So, what's the big deal?

The big deal is that the methyl ester in Aspartame attaches itself to phenylalanine forming methanol which leaches into what Dr. Joseph Mercola calls “susceptible tissues” in the body, including the brain and bone marrow. (Huffington Post, 3/14/2013) Unfortunately, the problem is the human body converts this methanol (unlike that methanol found in fruit) into formaldehyde. Formaldehyde, for those who may require a refresher course in chemistry, is a preservative and the major component, along with methanol, in embalming fluid. Interestingly, in animals, this conversion to formaldehyde does not occur—making the habit of experimentation and testing of the effects of Aspartame in animals, a faulty model. (Huffington Post, 3/14/2013)

The effects of Aspartame have been the subject of review for years by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), following the public outcry over the possible oncogenecity of other sweeteners, including Saccharin and Sodium Cyclamates. The FDA has received over 10,000 complaints about the 91 symptoms experienced due to Aspartame consumption. (Huffington Post, 3/14/2013) People who consume Aspartame should be aware of its side-effects and the symptoms of methanol poisoning. Side effects include headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness and shooting pains in the extremities, behavioral disturbances, and neuritis. (Huffington Post, 3/14/2013)

The journal, Lancet, has published the fact that multinational food companies frequently aggressively market health-harming foods, yet Aspartame is still used in many products that people consume at an exponential rate. The result? Aspartame toxicity is becoming an all-too common phenomenon, although most physicians are not aware of it. Dr Mercola suggests some tips if you think you may be having a reaction to artificial sweeteners:

  • Remove all artificial sweeteners from your diet for two weeks;
  • After the two weeks of no artificial sweeteners, reintroduce a single artificial sweetener (at about 3 servings/day) for about 3 days to see if you experience any reaction;
  • If there is no reaction, then you can probably tolerate the artificial sweetener; if there is a difference and you have a reaction, please report it to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator (phone number listed on the following web page): www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm

So now, it appears, I am faced with a decision about my love of Diet Coke.

34 Comments

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  1. Sweetman says:
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    The rather appalling history of aspartame can be found at SourceWatch
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Aspartame

  2. John E. Garst says:
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    Greg, these claims are completely fallacious. Over 90 regulatory authorities worldwide have examined aspartame and over twenty+ years found no safety problems when used as directed.

    Aspartame is degraded in the GI tract to its three constituents, phenylalanine, aspartate and methanol. Phenylalanine and aspartate are found in greater concentrations in normal foods, like milk and meat. Wurtman completely refuted his own earlier, but widely cited allegation, that phenylalanine or aspartame caused any problem with their conclusion: “Large daily doses of aspartame had no effect on neuropsychologic, neurophysiologic, or behavioral functioning in healthy young adults,” – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9734727

    Only methanol amongst aspartame degradation products presents any risk to normal people and, since all risk is dose-dependent, at the concentrations involved, methanol presents no risk. Methanol is oxidized to formaldehyde and formate–both are chemically directly converted by the (tetrahydro)folate vitamin system into very valuable methyl groups. These substances and the methyl groups produced detoxify really toxic homocysteine (see Wikipedia) and protect DNA (by converting uracil to thymine). For more on this cycle see the figure at the top of p 3000 here, – http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/14/12/2999.full.pdf+html
    Any issue with aspartame is a purely PERSONAL issue. ALL these can be explained by PERSONAL matters like folate deficiency and corollary issues (both known and some likely yet unknown) like genetic folate enzyme issues (polymorphisms, Wikipedia: methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase), B12 deficiency (often vegetarian-related), (genetic) methionine synthase enzyme issues, and/or (genetic) homocysteine accrual. Folate, B12, and homocysteine are all functionally interrelated (see the metabolism of folic acid http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_B12). All involve not just the normal, natural recycling of otherwise essential formaldehyde and formate produced from methanol into methyl groups, but the availability of these methyl groups regulate vital-to-life (DNA) itself. Ethanol (primarily through its antagonist metabolite acetaldehyde) is also known inhibitor of these vital folate reactions. So in these borderline cases of aspartame sensitivity, alcohol consumption may be a prime factor explaining any increased sensitivity to aspartame as well. Realize ethanol, not methanol, is the cause of fetal alcohol syndrome, and ethanol is a documented factor in facilitating many cancer types, for example – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22218157 and – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16508294

    Critics suggest aspartame causes about every ill effect known to man claiming some 92+ symptoms. Analysis of these, however, directly links all of these issues to the above described personal issues. In what I have written above I note that various folate, B12 and related issues better explain any problems with aspartame. This year’s Norwegian autism study, – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23403681 – only confirms the current importance of the deficiency issue, but those results may also reflect the fact that most of Europe still has not mandated folate fortification. But this isn’t particularly surprising both in view of methanol’s requirement for folate for metabolism, but also because folate uptake into brain has been linked to childhood autism. -http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23314536

    Consider aspartame’s most widely reported issue, migraine headaches. Migraines have been linked directly to the MTHFR C677T folate polymorphism – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19619240 and – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19384265. Both papers report complete resolution of these migraines with added folate alone. These investigations revealed that more than the normal daily recommended amounts are needed (2-5 mg), but in these papers increased folate doses ALONE solved the migraine problem [and aspartame was not even involved]. That alone suggests a human sub-population that is even more deficient in folate for which resolution of their symptoms requires even more folate. And that is confirmed by science; up to 40% of some populations have these genetic folate polymorphisms that require even more folate, but most don’t even know it. For more – http://download.cell.com/AJHG/pdf/PIIS0002929707614001.pdf?intermediate=true

    John E. Garst, Ph.D. (Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Nutrition)

  3. Barbara . says:
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    Aspartame is not safe! Anyone who says it is either needs to learn the truth or admit they are paid by someone. It gives me classic optic migraines. It gave my daughter seizures and she started going blind. She was admitted to a hospital in Boston for 3 days and carefully checked out. She was told to stop the aspartame and, of course, her problems vanished! I have studied it for 25 years and I know thousands of people made ill. Many brilliant, honest doctors also know and warn their patients never to use it.

  4. Greg Webb says:
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    Dr. Garst,

    Thank you for that response, some of which was very technical. I would certainly hope that Aspartame is safe, at least at the levels that most folks would consume it. Almost anything can be harmful if consumed in large quantities – even water. I could not begin to tell you how much Aspartame I have consumed in diet sodas and “Equal” – those blue, artifical sweetener packets – that I put in unsweetened iced tea. My family also likes diet sodas. So far, we have no negative side-effects of which I am aware.

    Dr. Garst, in response to Barbara, the lady who has commented to this blog about Aspartame being unsafe, can you state what your background is? Are you employed or paid by any companies that have a financial interest in showing that Aspartame is safe?

    Greg Webb

  5. Greg Webb says:
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    Dr. Garst,

    Thank you for that response, some of which was very technical. I would certainly hope that Aspartame is safe, at least at the levels that most folks would consume it. Almost anything can be harmful if consumed in large quantities – even water. I could not begin to tell you how much Aspartame I have consumed in diet sodas and “Equal” – those blue, artifical sweetener packets – that I put in unsweetened iced tea. My family also likes diet sodas. So far, we have no negative side-effects of which I am aware.

    Dr. Garst, in response to Barbara, the lady who has commented to this blog about Aspartame being unsafe, can you state what your background is? Are you employed or paid by any companies that have a financial interest in showing that Aspartame is safe?

    Greg Webb

  6. John E. Garst, Ph.D. says:
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    Regarding Sweetman’s SourceWatch long outdated weblink arguments – http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Aspartame – people really need to recognize the ridiculousness of these Rumsfeld-FDA approval arguments. Those arguments were made over 20 years ago. Folate deficiency was a widespread, yet little recognized issue at the time of aspartame approval. All of the early approval concerns raised were based on data from rats that are now understood to have been folate deficient–none could be repeated with more modern corn-based folate, adequate diets. FYI, the widespread folate deficiency problem also caused spina bifida and other birth defects in offspring of deficient mothers. That is what prompted the US, Chile, and Canada regulators to mandate the supplementation of grain products with folate. But that did not occur until 1998, more than a decade after aspartame approval. And this folate insufficiency issue is still inadequately recognized. Australia/New Zealand started fortification recently – http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/scienceandeducation/factsheets/factsheets/folicacidfortificati5550.cfm. But much of the world still hasn’t done this. It has been raised as an issue in the UK, – http://www.food.gov.uk/scotland/scotnut/folicfortification/, but I don’t know that outcome. Still much of Europe still has not dealt with the issue. This year’s Norwegian autism study – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23403681 – confirms the widespread deficiency in Norway. Check out these two free 2008 full text papers from the Canadian Family Physician about this matter – (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19005123) and (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Ryan-Harshman%2C%20Aldoori%2C2008). Also please examine this US list of 909 citations – (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=folate%20deficiency%2Chumans%2CUSA) or this UK list of 221 citations – (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=folate+deficiency%2Chumans%2CUK).

    To document the fallacy of Sweetman’s weblink, I will choose just four ‘diseases’ as teaching examples (taken from Monte’s ridiculous Amazon book ‘While Science Sleeps’): heart disease, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, and autism. Go to the National Library of Medicine website – (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/#). Then enter the searches below to find these results heart disease first (these numbers were gathered several months ago so current numbers might differ): heart disease, folate (1405 citations); heart disease, folate deficiency (252), heart disease, homocysteine (2364); heart disease, vitamin B12 (691); heart disease, folate polymorphisms (171) [this topic exists for each issue, but is typically smaller, so is not enumerated further]. Repeat this process for multiple sclerosis and find the following numbers, folate (48); folate deficiency (20); homocysteine (41); vitamin B12 (134). FYI, multiple sclerosis fits with B12 far better than anything else. B12 deficiency is most often linked to vegetarianism and that must make one wonder about that a vegetarianism connection to multiple sclerosis. Repeat this process again for autoimmune diseases like lupus, for example: folate (84); folate deficiency (21); homocysteine (157), and vitamin B12 (53). Lastly, let’s examine autism: folate (71), folate deficiency (10), homocysteine (22), and vitamin B12 (19). Note that these numbers were obtained before the recent JAMA Norwegian study that directly and solidly linked folate deficiency to autism – (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23403681).

    This analysis can be successfully done for every issue raised in the Sweetman post – (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Aspartame). Hence all of this SourceWatch post is completely rejected by current science. No wonder 90+ regulatory agencies around the world agree that aspartame is perfectly safe used as directed in healthy people.

  7. Barbara . says:
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    The only reason that aspartame is considered safe is that the modern Golden Rule is: He who hath the gold makes the rules!
    Drink all the diet soda you want, but when you are sick, you will know why. I can’t waste my time with the truth.

  8. Barbara . says:
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    The only reason that aspartame is considered safe is that the modern Golden Rule is: He who hath the gold makes the rules!
    Drink all the diet soda you want, but when you are sick, you will know why. I can’t waste my time with the truth.

  9. PCL says:
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    I’ve never been bothered by the symptoms from the Aspartame contained in diet cola. But I tried it once or twice in coffee and found my body’s reaction a little shocking; I couldn’t concentrate on anything I was doing, and, for a short time, became totally unfit to drive. I know that by the time Aspartame-sweetened drinks have been hot for a while, the stuff has already begun to break down, eventually loosing all of its sweet taste. So, what you are drinking has a full dose of the decomposition products from Aspartame, rather than the gradual intake you would get when it decomposes slowly in your digestive tract (“the dose makes the poison”). For this reason, I’d strongly suggest avoiding Aspartame in anything hot, never using it for cooking and never leaving Aspartame-flavored diet drinks at room temperature for extended periods of time. These drinks go bad even in a sealed bottle, so watch the expiration dates when shopping for them, refrigerate them ASAP and don’t hoard them. Observing these precautions, I’ve been able to consume diet drinks without any noticeable symptoms. I can’t say the same for the Splenda/Ascuflame combination in some of the newer diet drink brands; something in those drinks gives me an achey, flue-like feeling for a few hours after consuming them. I wish someone would (re?)introduce diet drinks using calcium-saccarine; it seems like the safest artificial sweetener and doesn’t have the strong aftertaste people remember from the old sodium-saccharine sweetened colas like 1970s-era Tab.

  10. Dqavid says:
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    –This is the source you reference to back up your assertion that Aspartame is harmful?

    Dr. Mercola has been the subject of criticism from the business, medical and scientific communities. A 2006 BusinessWeek editorial criticized Mercola’s marketing practices as “relying on slick promotion, clever use of information, and scare tactics.” In 2005, 2006, and 2011 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Mercola and his company to stop making illegal claims regarding his products’ ability to detect, prevent and treat disease. The medical watchdog site Quackwatch has criticized Mercola for making “unsubstantiated claims and clash with those of leading medical and public health organizations [and making] many unsubstantiated recommendations for dietary supplements.”

    –How much research have you done on this subject?

    The data from the extensive investigations into the possibility of neurotoxic effects of aspartame, in general, do not support the hypothesis that aspartame in the human diet will affect nervous system function, learning or behavior. Epidemiological studies on aspartame include several case-control studies and one well-conducted prospective epidemiological study with a large cohort, in which the consumption of aspartame was measured. The studies provide no evidence to support an association between aspartame and cancer in any tissue. The weight of existing evidence is that aspartame is safe at current levels of consumption as a nonnutritive sweetener.
    http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408440701516184

    However, there is no scientific evidence of any significant adverse affects from aspartame when it is consumed at sensible levels. Even with high doses, the metabolites of this sweetener do not accumulate in toxic amounts. If you need or wish to limit your intake of sugars, and/or reduce your energy intake, there are clear benefits in consuming foods sweetened with aspartame or other artificial sweeteners. Aspartame is well tolerated by healthy adults and children.

    There have been a number of misleading or unsubstantiated claims suggesting adverse human health effects from aspartame. These include possible toxicity from methanol; elevated blood levels of aspartic acid and phenylalanine; affects on nerves and the brain and a claimed link with epilepsy and brain tumours.
    http://web.archive.org/web/20081216093929/http://www.nzfsa.govt.nz/consumers/chemicals-nutrients-additives-and-toxins/aspartame/

    Over 20 years have elapsed since aspartame was approved by regulatory agencies as a sweetener and flavor enhancer. The safety of aspartame and its metabolic constituents was established through extensive toxicology studies in laboratory animals, using much greater doses than people could possibly consume. Its safety was further confirmed through studies in several human subpopulations, including healthy infants, children, adolescents, and adults; obese individuals; diabetics; lactating women; and individuals heterozygous (PKUH) for the genetic disease phenylketonuria (PKU) who have a decreased ability to metabolize the essential amino acid, phenylalanine. Several scientific issues continued to be raised after approval, largely as a concern for theoretical toxicity from its metabolic components—the amino acids, aspartate and phenylalanine, and methanol—even though dietary exposure to these components is much greater than from aspartame. Nonetheless, additional research, including evaluations of possible associations between aspartame and headaches, seizures, behavior, cognition, and mood as well as allergic-type reactions and use by potentially sensitive subpopulations, has continued after approval. These findings are reviewed here. The safety testing of aspartame has gone well beyond that required to evaluate the safety of a food additive. When all the research on aspartame, including evaluations in both the premarketing and postmarketing periods, is examined as a whole, it is clear that aspartame is safe, and there are no unresolved questions regarding its safety under conditions of intended use.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230002915424

    Each of the areas considered, including exposure data, brain function, satiation and appetite, allergenicity and immunotoxicity, metabolic aspects and diabetes, carcinogenicity (including cancer epidemiology) and genotoxicity were considered by the Organizing Team and reported on.

    Overall, the Organizing Team did not identify any major gaps in information on aspartame and the National Experts agreed with their view.

    In conclusion, the National Experts have not identified any new evidence that requires a recommendation to EFSA that the previous Opinions of EFSA and the SCF need to be reconsidered.
    http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/supporting/pub/1641.htm

  11. Barbara says:
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    I have spent more than 25 years leaning about the dangers of aspartame. I have spoken to brilliant doctors around the world.
    The day will come when people who drink it will realize how sick it makes them.

  12. Dqavid says:
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    Barbra

    Would you care to share your sources of information with us?

    Does your research include the studies I have included?

    Do you believe that the majority of the world’s governmental regulatory agencies are in collusion with industry poison the public?

    Scientific advisory bodies such as the Scientific Committee for Food of the European Community, and the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization have reviewed all the available safety studies and have found aspartame to be safe.

    More than ninety countries world-wide, including the United States, countries of the European Union, and Australia and New Zealand, have also reviewed aspartame and found it to be safe for human consumption and allow its use in various foods.
    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/addit/sweeten-edulcor/aspartame-eng.php

  13. Barbara says:
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    Yes, I do think that the manufacturers have wormed their way into governmental agencies and they pay people to keep it on the market. Actually, I don’t have time to waste trying to convince you, since I can see what you think. But I can tell you that aspartame is not safe and I know so many people made ill by it.
    If that makes you happy, there is nothing I can do about it.

  14. Dqavid says:
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    As a general rule I try not to engage with conspiracy theorists, as any evidence against the conspiracy is considered by them to just be more evidence of the conspiracy. (so this is a no-win situation as no amount of evidence is going to change their minds)

    That said I find it highly dubious that a substance as “dangerous“ as aspartame is supposed to be could be sold to billions of people worldwide and be included in as many products as aspartame is if it were really that dangerous.

  15. Barbara says:
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    It IS that “dangerous.” The day will come when it is pulled from the market. . Many United States senators have proposed that independent studies concerning the safety of artificial sweeteners be conducted under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health. However, lobbying by an industry with enormous political clout and a sophisticated media blitz promoting artificially sweetened products has created public acceptance and the consumption of aspartame has continued unchecked.
    Thousands upon thousands of people have volunteered formal complaints regarding reactions to aspartame products. Dedicated scientists involved in research in academia feel that it may take a generation or longer to ascertain the full extent of developmental abnormalities, and of intellectual or behavioral problems, attributable to aspartame products taken during pregnancy and in childhood.

    If aspartame is heated over 85 degrees F, decomposition occurs creating free methyl alcohol. This can happen in a warehouse, delivery truck or home garage. Methyl alcohol is poisonous to man when it stands alone. I can’t understand the sense in exposing children to this peril.

    METHANOL (AKA WOOD ALCOHOL/POISON) (10% OF ASPARTAME) Methanol/wood alcohol is a deadly poison. People may recall that methanol was the poison that has caused some “skid row” alcoholics to end up blind or dead.

    The late FDA toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross, told Congress that it violated the Delaney Amendment because it triggered brain tumors, astrocytomas , and his last words were, “and if the FDA violates its own laws, who is left to protect the public?” His words are in the Congressional Record.

  16. Dqavid says:
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    These bald assertions are just that. If you had any real Evidence you would have provided it when first asked.

  17. Barbara says:
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    Drink all you want.

  18. Dqavid says:
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    I do.

    Not that it proves anything one way or the other but I drink almost nothing but diet cola and have so for about the last 6 and ½ years.
    Never felt better !

  19. Dqavid says:
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    Oh, and by the way, your continued inability to give even the barest shred of evidence to back up your assertions speaks louder than your words.

  20. John E. Garst, Ph.D. says:
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    Sorry for my unavoidable delays in responding. I receive no compensation for my comments; they are my own, but reflect the strong majority scientific opinion as to the safety of aspartame, formaldehyde, and formate at food-borne doses. Let me note that ~99.9% of scientists agree with the opinion that aspartame is perfectly safe used as directed. And that includes the University of Maryland – http://extension.umd.edu/publications/pdfs/fs842.pdf – and the regulatory agencies of 90+ relevant governments. I write aspartame sites routinely, because most such arguments espoused are flawed, misleading, and deficient. FYI, I was a professor at the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana teaching toxicology to nutritionists and food scientists for years (but before the internet); I am now retired from there with only retirement income. But, if you or others wish more you can follow some of my history by entering Garst JE at the Journal of Organic Chemistry website and/or at PubMed, amongst other locations.

    I first looked at the aspartame issue when critics tried to ban it in my state. I knew that was scientifically ridiculous based on the toxicological facts (see next paragraph), but rather than ignore critics, I tried to understand their comments. That is when it became clear to me that long known, but critic-ignored vitamin and methylation issues explained all these criticisms.

    Now concerning aspartame itself, here are facts people fail to understand. To reiterate the point that formate and formaldehyde pose little risk at the doses involved, note that they are [quoting another] “produced in the body during the endogenous demethylation of many compounds, including many foods [fruit juices] and drugs. For example, the demethylation of the caffeine found in one cup of coffee produces 30 mg of formaldehyde (Imbus, 1988). Formaldehyde is essential in one-carbon pool intermediary metabolism. The metabolite of formaldehyde, formic acid, is a substrate for purine nucleotide synthesis (Sheehan and Tully, 1983). It can be calculated that more than 50,000 mg [that’s 50 g] of formaldehyde is produced and metabolized in an adult human body daily and that an adult human liver will metabolize 22 mg of formaldehyde per minute (Clary and Sullivan, 1999). Consequently, it is quite clear that the formaldehyde from aspartame provides a trivial contribution to total formaldehyde exposure and metabolism in the body” (p 18 in and refs – (http://www.fte.ugent.be/ vlaz/Magnuson2007.pdf). Can you not appreciate from the above that any issue has to reside, not in the sweetener, but a susceptible user’s personal biochemistry?

    Now, I do not doubt that some people (like Barbara and her daughter) respond to aspartame with some type of symptom, nor even that the symptom disappears when aspartame use stops. But what I suggest is that all aspartame sensitivity is a PERSONAL issue. And these underlying health issues exist whether or not one uses aspartame. For example, consider breast cancer and this last line from Beetstra et al – (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16162645): “The results of this study suggest that moderate folate deficiency has a stronger effect on chromosomal instability than BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations found in breast cancer families.” I have proposed that aspartame sensitivity could be a marker for “methylation-related” sensitivity to cancer and disease, including even breast cancer as above. These underlying PERSONAL problems can involve complex and little studied aspects of folate and folate- methylation. For example, folate uptake into brain has been linked to childhood autism – (http:// http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23314536). So as to the comments of Barbara about her ‘optic migraines’, who knows what might be her specific personal issue? Folate, folate polymorphisms, B12, and homocysteine came up negative when crossed with ‘optic migraines’ at PubMed. Perhaps this lack of correlation involves the semantics of the terms ‘optic migraines’? However, Barbara’s problem and something similar with her daughter, would suggest a genetic sensitivity. I mentioned in my posts, that migraine headaches involve a folate polymorphism. It turns out that folate deficiency issues connect directly to methanol toxicity, see 25 citations – (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/? term=folate+deficiency%2Cmethanol+toxicity) and maternal folate status connects to the developmental toxicity of methanol – (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9122889). So, while I cannot explain Barbara and her daughter’s specific issue(s), from the points above and the millions of unaffected users, it seems these are PERSONAL metabolism issues, not aspartame safety issues. Realize some people maybe be frankly allergic to aspartame or formaldehyde/formate. Some people are allergic to milk, eggs, and peanuts, but we don’t ban these, because of PERSONAL sensitivity either, do we?

    John E. Garst, Ph.D. (Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Nutrition)

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    ASPARTAME FLACK TRIES TO MISLEAD NEW MEXICO LEGISLATURE

    Dr. Betty Martini, D.Hum.
    Mission Possible World Health International
    9270 River Club Parkway
    Duluth, Georgia 30097
    Telephone: 770-242-2599
    E-Mail: BettyM19@mindspring.com

    Posted: 11 September 2009

    John Garst brags that he played a major role in obliterating efforts to ban aspartame in 06. He’s trying to do it again by bombarding legislators with complicated lingo only a biochemist can comprehend. Its a vacuous bluff with hot air said James Bowen MD. who is a physician, surgeon, biochemist, and an aspartame victim with Lou Gehrigs.

    New Mexico lawmakers are expected to take Garth’s word for it and do what he wants. This last-minute blast is an ambush in bad faith, like yelling fire in a crowded theater so the legislature will run for the exits. Garst wants a stampede!

    Good faith requires him to come forward in time for his assertions to be examined. But then he would be exposed. With no time for deliberation the legislators are expected to just accept his say-so.

    At the say-so level: R G Walton M.D. Chairman, Center for Behavioral Medicine at NE Ohio College of Medicine analyzed 92 peer-reviewed studies not funded by aspartame industry. 92% found PROBLEMS! There were also 74, sponsored by NutraSweet, which said its safe as rain. Dr. Walton concluded Serious questions have been raised about the reliability of industry-sponsored studies of the safety of synthetic chemicals. Aspartame, in particular, has been the focus of significant ongoing controversy Walton named numerous adverse clinical events including seizures, mood disorders, headaches and brain tumors. In 95 the FDA listed 92 reactions from 10,000 volunteered complaints, including death.

    H. J. Roberts, M.D., FACP a diabetic specialist has produced 20 books and his first text on medical diagnosis was used by 60,000 doctors to prepare for their Board examinations. In his response to Garst’s allegation that aspartame sensitivity reflects folate deficiency, he wrote to the members of the New Mexico Legislature:

    You have received correspondence concerning folate deficiency as the purported cause of aspartame disease. While folate plays a role in the metabolism of methanol (methyl alcohol), the severity and widespread nature of reactions to aspartame products suggest that this assertion must be tempered by the following:

    The methyl alcohol in aspartame is FREE (rarely found as such in nature.)

    The assertion that methanol concentrations never are very high after aspartame ingestion is erroneous. I devoted an entire chapter to methanol toxicity in my text, Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic (pp 668-685), and show in Figure XXI-1 the dose-related blood levels of methanol lasting 8 or more hours.

    The assertion that many New Mexicans suffer from a folate deficiency is challenged. While I discussed such a theoretical deficiency in my text, there is no evidence that folate deficiency is widespread among Americans. For example, a Mayo Clinic study involving thousands of blood assays concluded that it was rare. Garst ignores the major roles of phenylalanine and aspartic acid in aspartame disease. Enormous effort has gone into this constructive attempt to ban aspartame products. I believe that it constitutes an imminent health hazard for New Mexicans. You are to be congratulated for coming this far in the face of severe corporate resistance.

    H. J. Roberts, M.D., FACP, FCCP

    Continue here:http://www.mpwhi.com/aspartame_flack_tries_to_mislead_nm_legislature.htm

  22. up arrow

    ASPARTAME FLACK TRIES TO MISLEAD NEW MEXICO LEGISLATURE

    Dr. Betty Martini, D.Hum.
    Mission Possible World Health International
    9270 River Club Parkway
    Duluth, Georgia 30097
    Telephone: 770-242-2599
    E-Mail: BettyM19@mindspring.com

    Posted: 11 September 2009

    John Garst brags that he played a major role in obliterating efforts to ban aspartame in 06. He’s trying to do it again by bombarding legislators with complicated lingo only a biochemist can comprehend. Its a vacuous bluff with hot air said James Bowen MD. who is a physician, surgeon, biochemist, and an aspartame victim with Lou Gehrigs.

    New Mexico lawmakers are expected to take Garth’s word for it and do what he wants. This last-minute blast is an ambush in bad faith, like yelling fire in a crowded theater so the legislature will run for the exits. Garst wants a stampede!

    Good faith requires him to come forward in time for his assertions to be examined. But then he would be exposed. With no time for deliberation the legislators are expected to just accept his say-so.

    At the say-so level: R G Walton M.D. Chairman, Center for Behavioral Medicine at NE Ohio College of Medicine analyzed 92 peer-reviewed studies not funded by aspartame industry. 92% found PROBLEMS! There were also 74, sponsored by NutraSweet, which said its safe as rain. Dr. Walton concluded Serious questions have been raised about the reliability of industry-sponsored studies of the safety of synthetic chemicals. Aspartame, in particular, has been the focus of significant ongoing controversy Walton named numerous adverse clinical events including seizures, mood disorders, headaches and brain tumors. In 95 the FDA listed 92 reactions from 10,000 volunteered complaints, including death.

    H. J. Roberts, M.D., FACP a diabetic specialist has produced 20 books and his first text on medical diagnosis was used by 60,000 doctors to prepare for their Board examinations. In his response to Garst’s allegation that aspartame sensitivity reflects folate deficiency, he wrote to the members of the New Mexico Legislature:

    You have received correspondence concerning folate deficiency as the purported cause of aspartame disease. While folate plays a role in the metabolism of methanol (methyl alcohol), the severity and widespread nature of reactions to aspartame products suggest that this assertion must be tempered by the following:

    The methyl alcohol in aspartame is FREE (rarely found as such in nature.)

    The assertion that methanol concentrations never are very high after aspartame ingestion is erroneous. I devoted an entire chapter to methanol toxicity in my text, Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic (pp 668-685), and show in Figure XXI-1 the dose-related blood levels of methanol lasting 8 or more hours.

    The assertion that many New Mexicans suffer from a folate deficiency is challenged. While I discussed such a theoretical deficiency in my text, there is no evidence that folate deficiency is widespread among Americans. For example, a Mayo Clinic study involving thousands of blood assays concluded that it was rare. Garst ignores the major roles of phenylalanine and aspartic acid in aspartame disease. Enormous effort has gone into this constructive attempt to ban aspartame products. I believe that it constitutes an imminent health hazard for New Mexicans. You are to be congratulated for coming this far in the face of severe corporate resistance.

    H. J. Roberts, M.D., FACP, FCCP

    Continue here:http://www.mpwhi.com/aspartame_flack_tries_to_mislead_nm_legislature.htm

  23. Barbara says:
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    I truly do NOT believe a word that John Garst writes, and I never have. And, sorry Dqavid, I can’t waste my precious time with you. People who are addicted can’t understand, so it is useless to try.

  24. John E. Garst, Ph.D. says:
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    Barbara, I offered you an explanation for your extreme response to aspartame. I urge you to investigate with your physician those possibilities, because whether or not you use aspartame, your family’s health is still susceptible to the underlying issues.

    As to your opinion, neither I or 90+ nation’s regulatory agencies believe a word you or your questionable cohorts say either!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercola

    http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/mercola.html

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Joseph_Mercola

    As to the others often cited as aspartame sources, consider this post : – http://quackfiles.blogspot.com/2005/06/dr-jim-bowen-on-nutra-sweet-politricks.html

  25. Dqavid says:
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    Dear “Dr.” Martini
    Nice anti science / conspiracy theory web site you have there.
    Is it true that your Dr. is an honorary doctorate in humanities?
    Maybe you can use your education to explain just how Aspartame is bad for you given the info below

    A 330 ml can of aspartame-sweetened soft drink will yield about 20 mg methanol
    A 330 ml can of fruit juice produces 40 mg methanol
    and an alcoholic beverage about 60-100 mg.
    The yield of phenylalanine is about
    100 mg for a can of diet soft drink
    300 mg for an egg
    500 mg for a glass of milk
    900 mg for a large hamburger (1)

    1. Aspartame. In: Gelman C R, Rumack B H, Hess A J, eds. DRUGDEX® System. Englewood, Colorado: MICROMEDEX, 1998. Edition expires 1999

  26. Dqavid says:
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    Here is the full text of the info given above

    Aspartame, a dipeptide composed of phenylalanine and aspartic acid linked by a methyl ester bond, is not absorbed, and is completely hydrolyzed in the intestine to yield the two constituent amino acids and free methanol. Opponents of aspartame suggest that the phenylalanine and methanol so released are dangerous. In particular, they assert that methanol can be converted to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, and thus cause metabolic acidosis and neurotoxicity.

    Although a 330 ml can of aspartame-sweetened soft drink will yield about 20 mg methanol, an equivalent volume of fruit juice produces 40 mg methanol, and an alcoholic beverage about 60-100 mg. The yield of phenylalanine is about 100 mg for a can of diet soft drink, compared with 300 mg for an egg, 500 mg for a glass of milk, and 900 mg for a large hamburger (1). Thus, the amount of phenylalanine or methanol ingested from consumption of aspartame is trivial, compared with other dietary sources. Clinical studies have shown no evidence of toxic effects and no increase in plasma concentrations of methanol, formic acid, or phenylalanine with daily consumption of 50 mg/kg aspartame (equivalent to 17 cans of diet soft drink daily for a 70 kg adult) (1, 2).

    The anti-aspartame campaign purports to offer an explanation for illnesses that are prominent in the public eye. By targeting a manufactured chemical agent, and combining this with pseudo-science and selective reporting, the campaign makes complex issues deceptively simple. Sensational web site names (e.g., aspartamekills.com) grab the browser’s attention and this misinformation is also widely disseminated via chat groups and chain e-mail.

    People consult the internet about medical issues for various reasons and many users regard online sources as being authoritative and valid. The medical profession has a role in teaching our patients to be discriminating consumers of the information offered there.

    330 ml ≈ 12 oz.
    20mg = 0.0007oz
    17 Cans = more than 1½ gal

    References

    1. Aspartame. In: Gelman C R, Rumack B H, Hess A J, eds. DRUGDEX® System. Englewood, Colorado: MICROMEDEX, 1998. Edition expires 1999.
    2. Anon. ADA position statement: use of noncaloric sweeteners. Diabetes Care 1991.

    http://www.aspartame.net/resourcesprint/aspartame_and_the_internet.htm

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    Dear John,

    First here is my article “No Safe Dose of Aspartame” http://www.thenhf.com/article.php?id=3442

    Secondly my doctorate is honorary. Yes, I started off in Pre-med and didn’t finish because I had 5 emergency medical clinics and over 200 doctors who worked for me over the years. I’ve been founder of Mission Possible Intl with branches in 43 countries for 20 years doing nothing but researching aspartame and warning people off. I’ve spoken to and gotten emails from probably 50,000 cases as one person. The 1000 page medical text, Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic, http://www.sunsentpress.com is dedicated to me. For the attorney on this page it has trial lawyer information. Dr. Roberts died a few weeks ago, the world expert, but before he died he gave me his 30 years of records on aspartame which I am happy to share with Greg Webb. Lane Shore, Mission Possible Chicago has had 8 members of his family die of it. Now they want to put it in 17 dairy products without labeling which is absolutely against the law. Aspartame requires a PKU warning. Please everyone check out my web site http://www.mpwhi.com and be sure to click on peer reviewed research, Almost 100 per cent of independent peer reviewed research shows aspartame to be a killer. I’ll add my article next.

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    Article reference: http://www.laleva.org/eng/2013/03/question_to_efsa_how_can_aspartame_be_considered_safe.html

    Question to EFSA: How can Aspartame be considered safe?
    Does the European Food Safety Authority have ‘an inbred conflict of interest’ in the matter of the artificial sweetener Aspartame?

    Betty Martini of Mission Possible International definitely seems to think so. She asks “How can aspartame be considered safe when independent scientific peer reviewed research consistently shows it is deadly?”

    And she reminds EFSA of studies that show Aspartame to be a danger to health, while the agency has apparently decided to look the other way.

    See Betty’s letter to EFSA’s Jeffrey Moon…

    Mr. Jeffrey Moon,
    European Food Safety Authority

    Dear Jeffrey:

    I have a question that really needs to be answered.

    How can aspartame be considered safe when independent scientific peer reviewed research consistently shows it is deadly?

    Has EFSA decided to ignore all damning research and only accept studies funded by the aspartame industry?

    Example: EFSA uses the Ajinomoto-funded Burdock “study” by industry flacks with conflict of interest and disregards enormous contrary scientific research.

    To assist EFSA to understand the coverup methods of industry, researcher Mark Gold scrupulously detailed their scientific abuse in aspartame seizure studies:

    Scientific Abuse in Seizure Research Related to Aspartame

    and scientific abuse and possible fraud in Monsanto aspartame research:

    Abuse of the Scientific Method Seen in Monsanto Aspartame Research

    Scientific Abuse in Migraine/Headache Research Related to Aspartame

    There is also abundant evidence of scientific abuse in aspartame Parkinson’s studies, methanol toxicity, etc.

    For a government agency to be unbiased, it must eschew conflict of interest and only consider independent scientific peer reviewed research by qualified experts worldwide. These uniformly show aspartame is deadly. EFSA’s modus operandi is to ignore such real science. Shame!

    It was the European Parliament who requested a new review because they saw voluminous research showing aspartame is unsafe such as the Denmark Study on 60,000 women showing aspartame jumps preterm births up by 78%, and three studies by Dr. Morando Soffritti of the Ramazzini Institute, showing aspartame is a “Multipotential carcinogen” causing lung and liver cancer as well as leukemia and mammary cancer.

    Greenmedinfo lists several additional damning studies on this page

    More are listed on our site, http://www.mpwhi.com, under “Peer Reviewed Research” at the top of the page.

    Another paper lists even more research showing diet soda destroys kidney function, causes heart attacks & strokes.

    Parliament is Right: Independent aspartame studies prove it’s not safe.

    Egyptian research revealed the effects of memory destruction and oxidative stress in the brains of mice

    Gender Dimorphism in Aspartame-Induced Impairment Of Spatial Cognition And Insulin Sensitivity; July 13, 2012

    At the American Diabetes Assoication’s 71st Scientific Sessions in San Diego a study was presented; Aspartame Consumption Is Associated with Elevated Fasting Glucose in Diabetes-Prone Mice; Sharon Parten Fowler, M.P.H., et al.; June 24-28, 2011 (the study has been removed from the internet and is no longer accessible)

    In 1993, Walton et al published a study showing aspartame causes severe depression

    Adverse reactions to aspartame: double-blind challenge in patients from a vulnerable population. (The reactions in the aspartame group were so severe that the Institutional Review Board halted the study after only 13 individuals in the aspartame group had completed the study.)

    A Harvard Study proved aspartame can cause non-Hodgkin lymphona, multiple myeloma and leukemia confirming Dr. Soffritti’s work.

    Another study linked aspartame to diabetes, something that has been known for 30 years. Endocrinologist Dr. H. J. Roberts said aspartame not only precipitates diabetes but aggravates and simulates diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy, converting to methanol which destroys the optic nerve and causes convulsions. It even interacts with insulin. (http://www.dorway.com/betty/diabetes.html)

    These are recent studies!

    You realize I could continue with scientific peer reviewed research on aspartame showing over and over and over that it is a killer. So if you remove all the conflict of interest and industry bribed “research”, what is left defines aspartame as an addictive, excitoneurotoxic, genetically engineered, carcinogenic drug and adjuvant. You are well aware of the Trocho Study which showed aspartame embalms living tissue and damages DNA.

    Formaldehyde derived from dietary aspartame binds to tissue components in vivo.

    Dr. Woodrow Monte authored: “While Science Sleeps” Here is the last chapter:

    Continue http://www.mpwhi.com click on aspartame news

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    Here is the propaganda rebutted with medical references:

    http://www.dorway.com/offasprt.html

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f3ia21LShU

    Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World

    See the experts on aspartame

  31. Dqavid says:
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    Dear Betty

    Thanks for confirming your lack of scientific education.

    Wow! That’s a really deep rabbit hole!! Awesome conspiracy theory content! Most of it doesn’t seem to mean what you think it means though. The rest is just taken out of context or made up out of whole cloth.

    I know a friend who has a saying, you can spend all day collecting cow pies but at the end of the day all you’ll have is a really big mound of cow pies.

    Want to find massive doses of the ingredients in aspartame? Ok, they are commonly found in the supplement section in Health Food Stores! You can find high dose capsules of the two breakdown amino acids in question. (See below) Apparently they are “good” for you in high-dose health food store supplements, but bad for you in the low-dose byproducts of artificial sweetener metabolism. People who believe in these sorts of health hysterias cannot be convinced by evidence since they cannot accept any evidence that contradicts there firmly held Beliefs!

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    Dear John, Too much for you! Let’s see 22 years in the medical field before founding Mission Possible Intl and researching and working with world experts for over 20 more years. So 45 years and over 20 of them researching the science of aspartame. Maybe you can’t read well. Plus I now haqve 4 crates of Dr. H. J. Roberts records on his 30 years of research – you know the world expert who wrote the 1000 page medical text.

    John, you don’t even know that aspartic acid and phenylalanine cannot be isolated??? Shame on you. I suspect you do know and just lie about it because aspartic acid is an excitotoxin and phenylalanine a neurotoxin. Read Dr. Wurtman’s testimony to Congress. Also read “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills by neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D.

    Hard to believe telling all these lies about aspartame, trying to make people believe this chemical poison is safe and don’t even know anything about the ingredients. Wow John, and you admit it…

  33. Barbara says:
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    I don’t have any respect for people who say that aspartame is fine. It is definitely not fine. And that is THE TRUTH.

    I have spent too many years meeting people sickened by aspartame. And I am not an uneducated person.

    I care about the health of people unlike some other people!!!