Aspartame, an artificial sweetener commercially known as Nutrasweet, Spoonful and Equal, has infiltrated the world market and has become almost as ubiquitous as the sugar it seeks to replace. From soda drinks to chewing gum, it offers a low-fat, low-calorie and no-sugar option enticing to diabetics and people who are trying to lose weight.
Strangely, diet products containing aspartame has been shown to actually cause weight gain, and the components that make up aspartame have also been found to be toxic in themselves. Why then, despite the numerous studies conducted on this substance finding it to have potentially harmful effects, is it still considered safe for human consumption?
Interview with Russell Blaylock
In an interview conducted by Betty Martini and Jon Baum over Personal Achievement Radio, Dr. Russell Blaylock, a respected neurosurgeon and author of the book "Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills," speaks about excitotoxins and shares his thoughts on why he believes aspartame is dangerous.
According to Dr. Blaylock, excitotoxins are substances that excite brain cells or neurons to the point of exhaustion and death. Normally, these substances act as transmitters, a substance allowing brain cells to relate with one another. However, these compounds are so harmful that the body keeps them in low concentrations. Anything that alters or increases these substances can cause neurodegeneration, degeneration of the spinal cord and the brain. Excitotoxins are normally found in plant substances, and, where most people are concerned, in food additives.
One of the components of NutraSweet or aspartame is aspartic acid, a powerful excitotoxin similar to glutamate. Moreover, phenylalanine, one of its components, an amino acid and a neurotoxin at high levels in the rain, has been known to cause seizures.
Dr. Blaylock goes on to add that what makes aspartame so dangerous is that it contains three neurotoxins: methanol, phenylalanine and aspartic acid. Methanol is a powerful neurotoxin whose exposure is carefully allowed by the EPA in minute levels in food and environmental exposure. Nutrasweet, however, provides levels that are seven times the amount the EPA will allow anyone to use. It's been known to produce blindness and cellular destruction in the brain and spinal cord, particularly the optic nerves.
Aspartic acid, on the other hand, produces cellular excitation. It
is an excitotoxin that causes cell death in the brain and significantly affects neural developments in
infants, resulting in behavioral changes and even hyperactivity in children. Phenylalanine, like aspartic acid, can also alter brain development during fetal formation and create a lowering of the seizure threshold.
Phenylalanine and aspartic acid are both well-recognized neurotoxins and according to Dr. Blaylock, three neurotoxins in one mix are just unbelievable.
Neurological side effects
Today, aspartame is found in over 6,000 products and consumed by 250 million people world wide. There has been more report for aspartame reactions to the FDA than all other food additives put together. In 1988, 80 percent of complaints to the FDA about food additives were aspartame related. After more than 8,000 complaints on the side effect of NutraSweet, the FDA released a list of 92 side effects associated with aspartame consumption.
This is without taking into account other findings that show what aspartame can cause:
Destruction of kidney function - In a study conducted by scientists from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, it was discovered that subjects who drank more than two artificially sweetened beverages daily increased their risk of rapid kidney decline.
Headaches/migraines - In a study published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, it was discovered that ingestion of aspartame by those who suffer migraines caused a significant increase in headache frequency for some subjects.
Increase of hunger and body weight - In an article published in the UT Health Science Center, it was revealed that diet soft drink consumption seemed much more related to the chances of becoming more overweight or obese.
Increase of the risk of preterm delivery - In a study funded by the Center for Fetal Programming, Division of Epidemiology, a connection was discovered between the intake of artificially carbonated drinks and increased risk of preterm delivery.
Seizures and Convulsions - As early as 1987, a study was already conducted by Timothy Maher and Richard J. Wurtman who, through their work, discovered that aspartame potentially induces seizures.
Cancer - In a remarkably recent study conducted by the Ramazzini Institute, it was discovered that in rodents, aspartame was a carcinogenic agent in multiple sites with autopsies that showed a significant risk to lung and liver cancer.
Why is it still legal?
Laws were meant to protect people from harm. Despite this, the FDA has continued to ignore years of research pointing to aspartame's negative effects and continue to declare that aspartame is safe for use. This artificial sweetener openly sold in the market has caused many recorded health issues and was never tested in humans prior to its approval. We are now the unwitting subjects in a grand experiment whose results have long been foretold by the questionable way this additive came to be approved. It's about time we stop relying on the government and do our own thinking. Perhaps, if we are not complacent, we can choose not to be victims.