Aspartame – the bad news

Article courtesy of: Mark Gold mgold@tiac.net

   Aspartame was not approved until 1981, in dry
foods. For over eight years the FDA refused to approve
it because of the seizures and brain tumors this drug
produced in lab animals. The FDA continued to refuse
to approve it until President Reagan took office (a
friend of Searle) and fired the FDA Commissioner who
wouldn’t approve it. Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes was
appointed as commissioner. Even then there was so
much opposition to approval that a Board of Inquiry
was set up. The Board said: “Do not approve aspartame”.
Dr. Hayes OVERRULED his own Board of
Inquiry. Shortly after Commissioner Arthur Hull Hayes,
Jr., approved the use of aspartame in carbonated beverages,
he left for a position with G.D. Searle’s Public
Relations firm.
   Long-Term Damage. – It appears to cause slow, silent
damage in those unfortunate enough to not have
immediate reactions and a reason to avoid it. It may
take one year, 5 years, 10 years, or 40 years, but it
seems to cause some reversible changes in health
over long-term use.

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. Methanol is
gradually released in the small intestine when the
methyl group of aspartame encounter the enzyme
chymotrypsin. The absorption of methanol into the
body is sped up considerably when free methanol is
ingested. Free methanol is created from aspartame
when it is heated to above 86 Fahrenheit (30
Centigrade). This would occur when aspartame-containing
product is improperly stored or when it is heated
(e.g., as part of a “food” product such as Jello).
   Methanol breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde
in the body. Formaldehyde is a deadly neurotoxin.
An 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 recommend a limit of consumption of 7.8 mg/day. A
one-liter (approx. 1 quart) aspartame-sweetened beverage
contains about 56 mg of methanol. Heavy
users of aspartame-containing products consume as
much as 250 mg of methanol daily or 32 times the
EPA limit. The most well known problems from
methanol poisoning are vision problems.
   Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, causes retinal
damage, interferes with DNA replication, and causes
birth defects.
   Due to the lack of a couple of key enzymes, humans
are many times more sensitive to the toxic effects of
methanol than animals. Therefore, tests of aspartame
or methanol on animals do not accurately reflect the
danger for humans. As pointed out by Dr Woodrow C.
Monte, Director of the Food Science and Nutrition
Laboratory at Arizona State University, “There are no
human or mammalian studies to evaluate the possible
mutagenic, teratogenic, or carcinogenic effects of
chronic administration of methyl alcohol.”
   It has been pointed out that fruit juices and alcoholic
beverages contain small amounts of methanol. It is
important to remember, that the methanol in natural
products never appears alone. In every case, ethanol
is present, usually in much higher amounts. Ethanol is
an antidote for methanol toxicity in humans. The
troops of Desert Storm were “treated” to large
amounts of aspartame-sweetened beverages which
had been heated to over 86 degrees F. in the Saudi
Arabian sun. Many of them returned home with
numerous disorders similar to what has been seen in
persons who have been chemically poisoned by
formaldehyde. The free methanol in the beverages
may have been a contributing factor in these illnesses.
Other breakdown products of aspartame such as
DKP, may also have been a factor. In a 1993 act that
can only be described as “unconscionable”, the FDA
approved aspartame as an ingredient in numerous
food items that would always be heated to above
86°degrees F (30°Degrees C). Much worse, on 27
June 1996, without public notice, the FDA removed all
restrictions from aspartame allowing it to be used in
everything, including all heated and baked goods.
The truth about aspartame’s toxicity is far different
than what the NutraSweet Company would have you
readers believe. In February of 1994, the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services released
the listing of adverse reactions reported to the FDA
(DHHS 1994). Aspartame accounted for more than
75% of all adverse reactions reported to the FDA’s
Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS). By the
FDA’s own admission fewer then ONE PERCENT of
those who have problems with something they consume
ever report it to the FDA. This balloons the
almost 10,000 complaints they once had to around a
million.
   Most victims don’t have a clue that aspartame may
be the cause of their many problems! Many reactions
to aspartame were very serious including seizures and
death. Those reactions included: Abdominal
PainAnxiety attacks, arthritis, asthma, Bloating,
Edema (Fluid Retention), Blood Sugar Control
Problems (Hypoglycemia or Hyperglycemia), Brain
Cancer (Pre-approval studies in animals), Breathing
difficulties, burning eyes, (full list is in authro’s article
– please Email him)
   Free methanol begins to form in liquid aspartame-containing
products at temperatures above 86
degrees F.. also within the human body. The methanol
is then converted to formaldehyde. The formaldehyde
converts to formic acid. Toxic formic acid is used as an
activator to strip epoxy and urethane coatings.
Imagine what it does to your tissues! Phenylalanine
and aspartic acid, 90% of aspartame, are amino acids
normally used in synthesis of protoplasm when supplied
by the foods we eat. But when unaccompanied
by other amino acids we use [there are 20], they are
neurotoxic. That is why a warning for Phenylketonurics
is found on EQUAL and other aspartame products.
Phenylketenurics are 2% of the population with
extreme sensitivity to this chemical unless it’s present
in food. It gets you too, causing brain disorders and
birth defects!
   Finally, the phenyalanine breaks down into DKP, a
brain tumor agent. In other words: Aspartame converts
to dangerous byproducts that have no natural
countermeasures. A dieter’s empty stomach accelerates
these conversions and amplifies the damage.
   Components of aspartame go straight to the brain,
damage that causes headaches, mental confusion,
seizures and faulty balance. Lab rats and other test
animals died of brain tumors.
   Despite the claims of Monsanto and bedfellows: 1.
Methanol from alcohol and juices does not get converted
to formaldehyde to any significant extent. There
is very strong evidence to confirm this fact for alcoholic
beverages and fairly strong evidence for juices.
2. Formaldehyde obtained from methanol is very toxic
in *very small* doses as seen by recent research.
3. Aspartame causes chronic toxicity reactions/damage
due to the methanol to formaldehyde and other
break down products despite what is claimed otherwise
by the very short, industry-funded experiments
using a test substance that is chemically different and
absorbed differently than what is available to the general
public. “Strangely enough”, almost all independent
studies show that aspartame can cause health
problems.
    A common ploy from Monsanto is to claim that
aspartame is “safe” yet a few select people may have
“allergic” reactions to it. This is typical Monsanto nonsense,
of course. Their own research shows that it
does not cause “allergic” reactions. It is their way of
trying to minimize and hide the huge numbers of toxicity
reactions and damage that people are experiencing
from the long-term use of aspartame.
   The amount of methanol ingested from aspartame
is unprecedented in human history. Methanol from
fruit juice ingestion does not even approach the quantity
of methanol ingested from aspartame, especially
in persons who ingest one to three liters (or more) of
diet beverages every day.
   Unlike methanol from aspartame, methanol from
natural products is probably not absorbed or converted
to its toxic metabolites in significant amounts as
discussed earlier.
   Lack of laboratory-detectable changes in plasma
formic acid and formaldehyde levels do not preclude
damage being caused by these toxic metabolites.
Laboratory-detectable changes in formate levels are
often not found in short exposures to methanol.
   Aspartame-containing products often provide little
or no nutrients which may protect against chronic
methanol poisoning and are often consumed in
between meals. Persons who ingest aspartame-containing
products are often dieting and more likely to
have nutritional deficiencies than persons who take
the time to make fresh juices.
   Persons with certain health conditions or on certain
drugs may be much more susceptible to chronic
methanol poisoning.
   Chronic diseases and side effects from slow poisons
often build silently over a long period of time. Many
chronic diseases which seem to appear suddenly have
actually been building in the body over many years.
Formic acid has been shown to slowly accumulate
in various parts of the body. Formic acid has been
shown to inhibit oxygen metabolism.
   The are a very large and growing number of persons
are experiencing chronic health problems similar to
the side effects of chronic methanol poisoning when
ingesting aspartame-containing products for a significant
length of time. This includes many cases of eye
damage similar to the type of eye damage seen in
methanol poisoning cases.
   It often takes at least sixty days without any aspartame
to see a significant improvement.
   Finally, avoid getting nutrition information from junk
food industry PR organizations such as IFIC or organizations
that accept large sums of money from the junk
and chemical food industry such as the American
Dietetic Association.
   Please get involved to get this neurotoxin off the
market. Write a letter to the FDA. Write your congressmen.
Return products containing aspartame to the
point of purchase… for a FULL refund. Make a big stink
if they WON’T give you a full refund! Tell all your friends
and family… and if they stop using aspartame and
also “wake up well”… get them involved in the same
way. Aspartame is an “approved sweetener” because
of a few greedy and dishonest people who place profits
above human life and well-being. With the FDA and
our Congress culpable, only an INFORMED and ACTIVE
public will affects its reclassification from “food additive”
to TOXIC DRUG, and removed from the human
food chain.

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