By Joseph Mercola, MD
Dr. Morando Soffritti and his international team of researchers have been investigating the link between aspartame and leukemia for a number of years. Last fall, we received the first tidbits about his long-term study of aspartame on rats and more horrible health risks.
His study is finally published, and the news is as bad as expected. More than 200 million people consume aspartame in their foods, drinks, vitamins and toothpaste, among other things, and their exposure to it frequently begins in the womb, so there’s simply no telling how massive the problem truly is.
Will Dr. Soffritti’s latest findings provoke far more scrutiny about the debatable safety of artificial sweeteners? I certainly hope so.
However, it will probably retain its profit-motive driven defenders, such as former G.D. Searle CEO Donald Rumsfeld. But despite their claims, the evidence is quite compelling that artificial sweeteners are not good for you; leukemia is just one of more than 90 different related symptoms that have been documented in humans who ingest aspartame.
If you are time pressured like me and just don’t have the time to read the enormous amount of compelling evidence that makes the case for why you or anyone you love should never consume aspartame, then I would strongly recommend ordering the video “Sweet Misery.” (http://www.soundandfuryproductions.com)
Without question, it is the single best summary of the issues of aspartame toxicity and some of the leading crusaders for bringing the truth to the public are in the film.
The phenylalanine in aspartame dissociates from the ester bond and increases dopamine levels in your brain. This can lead to symptoms of depression because it distorts the serotonin/dopamine balance. It can also lead to migraine headaches and brain tumors through a similar mechanism. Furthermore, the aspartic acid in aspartame is a well-documented excitotoxin. Excitotoxins are usually amino acids, such as glutamate and aspartate. These special amino acids cause particular brain cells to become excessively excited, to the point they will quickly die. Excitotoxins can also cause a loss of brain synapses and connecting fibers.
Then the ester bond in aspartame is broken down to formaldehyde and methanol, which have their own toxicities. So it is absolutely no surprise that leukemia is associated with using it.
If you are having trouble kicking the, in this case, “diet” soda habit, then please read our recent article on how to easily get rid of your soda addiction (go to http://www.mercola.com).
And if you’re drinking diet drinks in an attempt to lose weight, they won’t help you; diet soft drinks can double your obesity risks. If you want to lose weight, eat according to your metabolic type and start an appropriate exercise plan.
Dr. Mercola is proponent of health freedom through informed consent and hosts one of the world’s most dynamic and comprehensive health information websites at http://www.mercola.com. Those who have an interest in medical issues affecting themselves and their families are encouraged to visit the site to obtain cutting edge news and health information.
Letter to the Alabama Board of Education
By Dr. Betty Martini
July 12, 2005: To the Alabama Board of Education and Press:
Suppose someone offered you this deal: “Let us feed your children products that trigger learning and behavioral problems, cause obesity, interact with drugs and vaccines, precipitate diabetes, trigger brain fog, blindness, retardation, seizures and produce 92 symptoms including death, by FDA report? Would you consent? And by the way an ingredient is an addictive narcotic that hooks them for life, and shortens it. Student athletes will suddenly drop dead when it damages their cardiac conduction systems. It also is a chemical hypersensitization agent. No member of the Board would allow such an atrocity.
But what if they offer you money? What is a fair price for the lives and health of your children? This question is before you now, and the soft drink vendors are right outside the door with their checkbooks. Am I telling the truth? Listen to these authorities:
The long National Soft Drink Association petition to Congress against the approval of aspartame was published in the May 7, 1985 Congressional Record: “Searle has not met its burdens under section 409….to demonstrate that aspartame is safe and functional for use in soft drinks…The extensive deficiencies in the stability studies conducted by Searle to demonstrate that aspartame and its degradation products [methyl alcohol, formaldehyde, formic acid, diketopiperazine, etc] are safe in soft drinks intended to be sold in the United States, render these studies inadequate and unreliable.
“There have been hundreds of reports from consumers around the country suggesting a possible relationship between their consumption of NutraSweet and subsequent symptoms including headaches, aberrational behavior, slurred speech, etc. … Aspartame has been demonstrated to inhibit the carbohydrate-induced-synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin (Wurtman affidavit). Serotonin blunts the sensation of craving carbohydrates and thus is part of the body’s feedback system that helps limit the consumption of carbohydrate to appropriate levels. Its inhibition by aspartame could lead to the anomalous result of a diet product causing increased consumption of carbohydrates.”
Causing obesity! Read the entire protest at http://www.dorway.com/nsda.html
Dr. Louis Elsas, Professor of Genetics and Pediatrics at Emory University, in Congressional testimony stated: “I have considerable concern for the increased dissemination and consumption of the sweetener aspartame in our world food supply. This artificial dipeptide is hydrolyzed by the intestinal tract to produce L-phenylalanine which in excess is a known neurotoxin. … In the rapidly growing post natal brain (children of 0-12 months) irreversible brain damage could occur.”
Dr. H. J. Roberts, F.A.C.P., F.C.C.P., named the “best doctor in the country” by a national medical publication in his paper “Warning School Children at Risk“: “Aspartame induced disorders in children include headache, confusion, convulsions, irritability, depression, intellectual deterioration, antisocial behavior, rashes, asthma and unstable diabetes. Addiction to aspartame products has also become a problem.”
Dr. Roberts authored three medical texts on aspartame toxicity, including “Aspartame Disease, and Ignored Epidemic,” 1,038 pages.
Today I was in contact with Certified Neurodevelopmentalist Kay Ness, (ICAN) who warned: “All my work is trying to help children overcome attention and learning problems. A big part is basic nutrition to help them function better. It is no myth that improved nutrition improves brain function. Parents try hard to improve the diets of their children and despair when they have easy access to junk food and soda pop at schools. One principal, while drinking a diet soda, told me it meant $6,000/year in cash for the school, so he’d keep the machine. So we have the spectacle of children on psychoactive medications, parents trying to help them, and schools undermining the best interests of the children. If the school board truly cares for the children they will eliminate these chemicals, especially since the only motive for keeping these machines is money.”
What happens when pop and vending machines are removed. A 2002 report from the Feingold Association’s True Facts newsletter reveals:
“In Appleton, Wisconsin, a revolution has occurred. It’s taken place in the Central Alternative High School. The kids now behave. The hallways aren’t frantic. Even the teachers are happy. The school used to be out of control. Kids packed weapons. Discipline problems swamped the principal’s office. But not since 1997. What happened?
“In 1997 a private group called Natural Ovens began installing a healthy lunch program. Fast food burgers, fries and burritos gave way to fresh salads, meats prepared with old-fashioned recipes and whole grain bread. Fresh fruits were added to the menu. Good drinking water arrived. Vending machines were removed.
“As reported in a newsletter called Pure Facts: Grades are up, truancy is no longer a problem, arguments are rare, and teachers are able to spend their time teaching.”
Pure Facts is published by The Feingold Association, part of its mission to generate public awareness of the potential role of foods and synthetic additives in behavior, learning and health problems. Feingold banned aspartame.
The report continues: If what happened in Appleton, Wisconsin takes hold in many other communities across America, perhaps the ravenous corporations who invade school space with their vending machines and junk food will be tossed out on their behinds. It could happen. And perhaps ADHD will become a dinosaur. A non-disease that was once attributed to errant brain chemistry. And perhaps Ritalin will be seen as just another toxic chemical that was added to the bodies of kids in crazed attempt to put a lid on behavior that, in part, was the result of a subversion of the food supply.”
Why even think of allowing our children to drink products that break down to a brain tumor agent, DKP, which triggered brain tumors in original studies, as well as pituitary, testicular, mammary, ovarian, pancreatic and thyroid tumors. The Calorie Control Council, a front group for the aspartame industry, wrote The Miami Herald which published the letter pushing aspartame on pregnant women and phenylketonurics, who are specifically prohibited from aspartame.
Neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock responded to this propaganda: “Fully a third of all babies born to PKU carrier mothers consuming aspartame foods and drinks risk varying degrees of brain damage. It is also known that the amount of toxic phenylalanine reaching the baby is twice as high as that in the mother’s blood because the placenta concentrates the toxin. In addition, numerous metabolic breakdown products of aspartame are known to damage the developing infant’s brain, including methanol, formaldehyde, formic acid, diketopiperizine and phenylacetate. Aspartame has been shown by several studies to damage DNA, which can lead to cancer and degenerative brain disorders later in life. The risk of increased brain tumors in such a child would be enormous. Similar mechanisms of damage would be expected in those with liver disease. Studies on aspartame safety have shown that the product increases tumors throughout numerous organs, especially the brain. It was shown that brain tumor incidence increased over 47 times in animals exposed to aspartame.
“With the public concern over childhood obesity and diabetes, few are being told of the overwhelming evidence that early exposure to excitotoxins (as found in aspartame) consistently produce gross obesity and insulin resistant diabetes, just as we are seeing in our youth. The promoters of aspartame use have been lying from the beginning and continue to use their money and political clout to cover up the real and present dangers of this toxic product.”
Have there been studies on young children and aspartame? After 25 years of knowing how deadly aspartame is, nobody would ask children to sign up for a study on sweet arsenic. But a study was accidentally done by Dr. Miguel Baret Daniel in the Dominican Republic. Working with a pediatrician they decided to remove milk from the diet of 360 children because it can precipitate diabetes. Instead he provided juice laced with aspartame. The pediatrician noticed that most of the children were having what he called a kind of “brain allergy” showing abnormal restlessness, lack of concentration, irritability and depression. Dr. Baret then removed the aspartame and within 4 days all the 360 children went back to normal .
Why was aspartame approved by the FDA? For 16 years FDA not only refused to approve it, but asked to have G. D. Searle indicted under Title 18, Section 1001 for “their willful and knowing failure to make reports to the FDA required by the Act 21 USC 355 and for concealing material facts and making false statements in reports of animal studies conducted to establish the safety of aspartame.”
Both U.S. Prosecutors hired on with the defense team and the statute of limitations expired. But Don Rumsfeld, who was CEO of G D Searle, said he would call in his markers and get aspartame approved even though the FDA said no. He was on President Reagan’s transition team. The incredible story of how he accomplished this is told by Washington, D.C. attorney, James Turner in the documentary on aspartame called “Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World.” You can get a copy from http://www.docworkers.com but here is a clip where you can see and hear Attorney Turner tell one of the most incredible stories of political clout in getting a deadly chemical, a neurotoxic drug marketed for human consumption.
See the clip on Rumsfeld & aspartame at http://www.soundandfury.tv/pages/Rumsfeld2.html
We are taking case histories of aspartame brain tumors for litigation in New York, New Jersey, Madison County, Illinois and Mississippi. Does any parent want their children consuming a brain tumor agent?
Psychiatrist Ralph Walton, M.D., in a paper said: “The neurochemical impact of aspartame on the brain is fairly complicated. Not only does it decrease the availability of the building block for serotonin (L-tryptophan), but one of the two amino acids that comprise aspartame, phenylalanine, is a precursor for another very important neurotransmitter, norepinephrine. Papers which I published in 1986 and 1993 discuss what I believe is the clinical impact (accentuating depressive illness) of altering the balance between these 2 neurotransmitters (norepinephrine and serotonin). “There is evidence that the therapeutic effect of antidepressants can be blocked by parachlorophenylalanine – a form of phenylalanine- one of the major constituents of aspartame. Administration of this substance has also been associated with aggression and bingeing.
Dr. Walton continues by discussing the association of aspartame use and weight gain: “Food-seeking behavior and satiety are driven by an area of the brain known as the hypothalamus. Stimulation of the medial hypothalamus in a laboratory rat leads to eating. Stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus leads to satiety and cessation of eating. Placing a lesion in the lateral hypothalamus produces an obese rat. The lateral hypothalamus is driven by serotonin. There are many papers in the current literature demonstrating that antidepressants which increase serotonin (but not antidepressants which act on other neurotransmitters) are useful in treating binge eating disorders. I believe that consuming large amounts of aspartame decreases the availability of serotonin and is thus analogous to placing a lesion in the lateral hypothalamus. Although much of this work is recent, clinical suggestions that aspartame can lead to a paradoxical increased appetite date back to Blunder’s work of 1986.
An evolving view in modern psychiatry is that although depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, impulse control disorders and eating disorders have historically been viewed as separate entities, in fact they should be viewed as a continuum of disorders all involving some degree of dysregulation of serotonin. I believe that at this time there is overwhelming evidence that aspartame contributes to this dysregulation.
For the entire report go to: http://www.dorway.com/walton2.txt and read his research on scientific peer reviewed studies and funding which was discussed on 60 Minutes when Dr. John Olney made world news on the aspartame brain tumor association in l996 (http://www.dorway.com/peerrev.html ) Schools should have Doctors H. J. Roberts and Russell Blaylock’s books which explain the dangers aspartame presents to the brains of our children, and show the documentary Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World – Once this knowledge is known no school with a conscience would allow anything with aspartame.
There is an epidemic of obesity in America, and we’ve known that diet pop with aspartame and in other products has caused it. And now it has been shown by a new study and 7 to 8 years of data by Sharon P. Fowler, MPH and colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio: (Diet Soda Drinkers Gain Weight at http://aolsvc.health.webmd.aol.com/content/article/107/108476.htm
In this Fowler says it shows that “Something linked to diet soda drinking is also linked to obesity.” How true! That product is aspartame (NutraSweet/Equal/Spoonful/Canderel, E951).
An earlier study found weight gain among 78,694 women using artificial sweeteners: Stellman SD, Garfinkel L. Artificial Sweetener Use and One-Year Weight Change Among Women. Prev Med l985; 15: 195 – 202.
Another toxin, Splenda, is a chlorcarbon: The Lethal Science of Splenda (http://www.wnho.net/splenda_chlorocarbon.htm)
Stevia, found in health food stores, helps metabolize sugar and is ideal for diabetics. It’s a natural herb, has been used for centuries.
Children should be warned about gum because Wrigley’s now puts aspartame in their products. It is particularly dangerous because like nitroglycerin, goes through saliva straight to the brain. Several have had grand mal seizures on aspartame-laced gum. Dr. Roberts has an excellent report on http://www.wnho.net
Listerine Strips also have aspartame and there are many reports of seizures from them.