Diet soda poisoning.
See the Coke and Terrorism artical (for the comments, not the artical).
And heres vital info. about Aspartame, Nutrasweet, MSG etc... More atrocities
of the American corporate culture.
For More Information GO TO
Aspartame (NutraSweet) Toxicity Home Page:
This is the first article I wrote about aspartame. Versions of this
article have been edited and published in two different newsletters.
It is not very well written, but I don't have the edited versions
on-line (I had some excellant editors). It does, however, contain
quite a bit of important information about aspartame (NutraSweet).
Since I wrote this article, I have looked into the history and
science of aspartame in more detail and have begun to document those
details in a much longer piece entitled "Aspartame Review."
Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names, NutraSweet,
Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. Aspartame was discovered by
accident in 1965, when James Schlatter, a chemist of G.D. Searle
Company was testing an anti-ulcer drug. Aspartame was approved for
dry goods in 1981 and for carbonated beverages in 1983. (Actually,
it was originally approved for dry goods on July 26, 1974, but
objections filed by neuroscience researcher Dr. John W. Olney and
Consumer attorney James Turner in August 1974 as well as
investigations of G.D. Searle's research practices caused the FDA to
put approval of aspartame on hold). In 1985, Monsanto purchased
G.D. Searle and made Searle Pharmaceuticals and The NutraSweet
Company separate subsidiaries.
Aspartame is, by far, the most dangerous substance on the market that
is added to foods. Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the
adverse reactions to food additives reported to the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration (FDA). Many of these reactions are very serious
including seizures and death as recently disclosed in a February 1994
Department of Health and Human Services report. A few of the 90
different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by
Numbness Muscle spasms
Weight gain Rashes
Insomnia Vision Problems
Hearing Loss Heart palpitations
Breathing difficulties Anxiety attacks
Slurred Speech Loss of taste
Memory loos Joint Pain
According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects
of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or
worsened by ingesting of aspartame:
Brain tumors Multiple sclerosis
Epilepsy Chronic faigue syndrome
Parkinson's Disease Alzheimer's
Mental retardation Lymphoma
Birth defects Fibromyalgia
Aspartame is made up of three chemicals, aspartic acid,
phenylalanine, and methanol. The book, "Prescription for Nutritional
Healing" by James and Phyllis Balch lists aspartame under the category
of "Chemical Poison." As you shall see, that is exactly what it is.
Aspartic Acid (40% of aspartame) & Glutamic acid (99% of MSG)
Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, a professor of Neurosurgery at the
Medical University of Mississippi, recently published a book
thoroughly detailing the damage that is caused by the ingestion of
excessive aspartic acid from aspartame and glutamic acid from MSG.
Dr. Blaylock uses almost 500 scientific references to prove how excess
free excitatory amino acids such as aspartic acid and glutamic acid
in our food supply are causing serious chronic neurological
disorders and a myriad of other acute symptoms.
Summary of How Glutamate and Aspartate Cause Damage
Aspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain by
facilitating the transmittion of information from neuron to neuron.
Too much aspartate or glutamate in the brain kills certain neurons
by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This
influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals which kill the
cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive
aspartate and glutamate is why they are referred to as
"excitotoxins." They "excite" or stimulate the neural cells to
Aspartic acid is an amino acid. Taken in its free form (unbound
to proteins) it significantly raises the blood plasma level of
aspartate and glutamate. The excess aspartate and glutamate in
the blood plasma shortly after ingesting aspartame or products
with free glutamic acid (glutamate precursor) leads to a high
level of those neurotransmitters in certain areas of the brain.
The blood brain barrier (BBB) which normally protects the brain from
excess glutamate and aspartate as well as toxins 1) is not fully
developed during childhood, 2) does not fully protect all areas of the
brain, 3) is damaged by numerous chronic and acute conditions, and
4) allows seepage of excess glutamate and aspartate into the brain
even when intact.
The excess glutamate and aspartate slowly begin to destroy neurons.
The large majority (75%+) of neural cells in a particular area of
the brain are killed before any clinical symptoms of a chronic illness
are noticed. A few of the many chronic illnesses that have been
shown to be contributed to by long-term exposure excitatory amino
acid damage include:
The risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and
persons with certain chronic health problems from excitotoxins are
great. Even the Federation of American Societies For Experimental
Biology (FASEB), which usually understates problems and mimmicks the
FDA party-line, recently 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
deleterious effects on the body as glutamic acid.
The exact mechanism of acute reactions to excess free glutamate and
aspartate is currently being debated. As reported to the FDA, those
reactions include :
Fatigue (blocks sufficient glucose entry into brain)
One common complaint of persons suffering from the effect of
aspartame is memory loss. Ironically, in 1987, G.D. Searle, the
manufacturer of aspartame, undertook a search for a drug to combat
memory loss caused by excititory amino acid damage.
Dr. Blaylock is one of many scientists and physicians who are
concerned about excititory amino acid damage caused by ingestion of
aspartame and MSG. A few of the many experts who have spoken out
against the damage being caused by aspartate and glutamate include:
- Adrienne Samuels, Ph.D. -- an experimental Psychologist
specializing in research design.
- John W. Olney, MD -- a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry,
School of Medicine, Washington University. He is a
Neuroscientist and researcher, and one of the world's foremost
authorities on excitotoxins. (He informed Searle in 1971 that
aspartic acid caused holes in the brain of mice.)
- Francis J. Waickman, MD -- a recipient of the Rinkel and Forman
Awards and Board certified in Pediatrics, Allergy and
- John R. Hain, MD -- Board Certified Forensic Pathologist
- H.J. Roberts, MD, FACP, FCCP -- Diabetic Specialist, Who's Who in
American, The World, Science and Technology, and selected by a
national medical publication as "The Best Doctor in the U.S."
- John Samuels -- Compiled a listed of scientific research
sufficient to show the dangers of ingesting excess free glutamic
and aspartic acid.
... and many more.
Phenylalanine (50% of aspartame)
Phenylalanine is an amino acid normally found in the brain. Persons
with the genetic disorder, phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize
phenylalanine. This leads to dangerously high levels of
phenylalanine in the brain (sometimes lethal).
It has been shown that ingesting aspartame, especially along with
carbohydrates can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine in the
brain even in persons who do not have PKU. This is not just a
theory, as many people who have eaten large amounts of aspartame
over a long period of time and do not have PKU have been shown to
have excessive levels of phenylalanine in the blood. Excessive
levels of phenylalanine in the brain can cause the levels of
seratonin in the brain to decrease, leading to emotional disorders
such as depression. It was shown in human testing that phenylalanine
levels of the blood were increased significantly in human subjects
who chronically used aspartame. Even a single use of aspartame
raised the blood phenylalanine levels. In his testimony before the
U.S. Congress, Dr. Louis J. Elsas showed that high blood
phenylalanine can be concentrated in parts of the brain, and is
especially dangerous for infants and fetuses. He also showed that
phenylalanine is metabolised much more effeciently by rodents than by
One account of a case of extremely high phenylalanine levels caused
by aspartame was recently published the the "Wednesday Journal" in an
article entitled "An Aspartame Nightmare." John Cook began
drinking 6 to 8 diet drinks every day. His symptoms started out as
memory loss and frequent headaches. He began to crave more
aspartame-sweetened drinks. His condition deteriorated so much that
he experienced wide mood swings and violent rages. Even though he
did not suffer from PKU, a blood test revealed a phenylalanine level
of 80 mg/dl. He also showed abnormal brain function and brain
damage. After he kicked his aspartame habit, his symptoms improved
As Dr. Blaylock points out in his book, early studies measuring
phenylalanine buildup in the brain were flawed. Investigators who
measured specific brain regions and not the average throughout the
brain notice significant rises in phenylalanine levels. Specifically
the hypothalamus, medulla oblongata, and corpus striatum areas of the
brain had the largest increases in phenylalanine. Dr. Blaylock
goes on to point out that excessive buildup of phenylalanine in the
brain can cause schizophrenia or make one more susceptible to seizures.
Therefore, long-term, excessive use of aspartame may provided a
boost to sales of seratonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac and
drugs to control schizophrenia and seizures.
Methanol (aka wood alcohol/poison) (10% of aspartame)
Methanol/wood alcohol is a deadly poison. Some people may remember
methanol as 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
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.
Symptoms from methanol poisoning include headaches, ear buzzing,
dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo,
chills, memory lapses, numbness and shooting pains in the
extremities, behavioral disturbances, and neuritis. The most
well knowm problems from methanol poisoning are vision problems
including misty vision, progressive contraction of visual fields,
blurring of vision, obscuration of vision, retinal damage, and
blindness. Formaldehye is a known carcinogen, causes retinal
damage, interferes with DNA replication, 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
He was so concerned about the unresolved safety issues that he
filed suit with the FDA requesting a hearing to address these issues.
He asked the FDA to "slow down on this soft drink issue long enough
to answer some of the important questions. It's not fair that you
are leaving the full burden of proof on the few of us who are
concerned and have such limited resources. You must remember that
you are the American public's last defense. Once you allow usage (of
aspartame) there is literally nothing I or my colleagues can do to
reverse the course. Aspartame will then join saccharin, the
sulfiting agents, and God knows how many other questionable compounds
enjoined to insult the human constitution with governmental
approval." Shortly thereafter, the Commissioner of the FDA, Arthur
Hull Hayes, Jr., approved the use of aspartame in carbonated
beverages and then left for a position with G.D. Searle's Public
It has been pointed out that some fruit juices and alcoholic
beverages contain small amounts of methanol. It is important to
remember, however, that methanol 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 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.
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 F (30 C).
DKP is a breakdown product of aspartame. DKP has been implicated
in the occurance of brain tumors. Dr. John Olney noticed that DKP,
when nitrosated in the gut, produced a compound which was similar to
N-nitrosourea, a powerful brain tumor causing chemical. G.D.
Searle conducted animal experiments on the safety of DKP. The FDA
found numerous experimental errors occured, including "clerical
errors, mixed-up animals, animals not getting drugs they were supposed
to get, pathological specimens lost because of improper handling," and
many other errors. These sloppy laboratory procedures may explain
why both the test and control animals had sixteen times more brain
tumors than would be expected in experiments of this length.
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