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Must Read Regarding Aspartame

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

I posted this in response to another post on "Canadian Red Dye" and felt very strongly about informing everyone of the dangers of Aspartame, an artificial sweetener in over 6000 products that never should have been approved by the FDA. If you are using it and you don't know it's in your food it might explain some unexplained symptoms you might be having. Check labels of everything you are eating if you feel dizzy, having headaches, seizures or any other strange symptoms your doctor can't explain.

Below is a youtube new video related to the subject. I stopped drinking Diet Coke many years ago when I suffered from Bi-Polar Depression, Headaches and fatigue. I had heard about this when a friend of mine told me that she knew the daughter of the man that "invented" this artificial sweetener. Even he wouldn't ingest it and did not recommend it for consumption. It is said to cause many types of problems including cancer. While you are here you can see other related videos on the subject.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvFRLIjOLOU

Here is an interesting article worth reading if you are drinking/consuming artificial sweeteners and are having symptoms you can not explain.

http://www.321recipes.com/aspartame.html

Blessings,
Julie-SunnyAZ

MarinMark
Posts: 139
Joined: Aug 2011

One learns in science and medical studies that there is always another side to the story.

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2010/03/18/is-aspartame-safe/

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20070911/expert-panel-aspartame-sweetener-safe

http://www.aspartame.org/aspartame_faq3.html

http://answers.hhs.gov/questions/3011

JC_hama
Posts: 14
Joined: Dec 2010

I can not eat or drink anything that has aspartame in it. It gives me the most horrible headaches. I realized it about a year and a half ago when I started drinking crystal light. I began to have horrible headaches. They started out small, I could take advil and be ok. Then they started to get worse. Nothing was helping. I had a headache for 6 days straight. When I mentioned it to a friend, she asked if there was anything I was doing differently, any new foods I was eating. I mentioned the crystal light. She told me that studies had showed aspartame (which is used in some, not all, crystal light beverages) caused headaches and suggested I stop drinking it. I did and the headaches stopped.I checked the labels and sure enough, aspartame was used in the ones I had been drinking. Ever since then, I avoid it. I dont think it would hurt if I had it infrequently, but why test that theory right?

Cathy

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Hi Cathy,

I can't ingest anything with Aspartame either. I get the headaches also. Now I check every label to make sure nothing I eat or drink has it. I also suffered from extreme Bi-Polar disorder for years and didn't know why. It wasn't until my friend told me that Aspartame could cause these symptoms that I looked very closely at what I was eating. A great deal of the foods I thought were healthy for me had aspartame. I never lost a pound on those so called "healthy" foods. When I started eating natural foods and using small amounts of real sugar I began loosing weight, the headaches went away and my moods were more regular.

My daughter was eating light yogurt when her seizure disorder began. Turns out it had Aspartame. There was also a juice at her school she was drinking at lunch time that had it. She isn't eating them anymore but the seizures have not stopped, but her headaches have. She is still on seizure medication and will be for at least another year. She will be hospitalized this coming summer and hooked up to an EEG for seven days while we take her off of the medication to see where the seizures are originating in her brain. The current medication she is on can only be taken for five years before it starts causing damage to her bones. The more expensive medication will not cause damage to her bones but it isn't covered under insurance until we can prove the seizures won't stop without medication.

Blessings,
Julie-SunnyAZ

MarinMark
Posts: 139
Joined: Aug 2011

Never had side effects from Equal. One day I had 34 packets. BUT like anything, if you have side effects, don't take it.

jegarst
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2011

Following are facts people don't understand about aspartame. Stated health issues like headaches may well be associated with aspartame, but to suggest that aspartame causes them could not be further from the truth. These issues likely reside in preexisting personal issues. Let me explain.

First, the fundamentals of toxicology (the science of poisons) say “everything is toxic” and dose alone separates a food/drug from a poison. For example botulinum toxin, perhaps the most toxic substance known, is used extensively in cosmetic procedures. High toxicity cyanide found in plant products we all consume is, however, innocuous at those doses. In contrast low-toxicity water drowns hundreds yearly. Any claim a chemical substance is “toxic” or poison is by itself is MEANINGLESS. Such claims MUST include a specific toxic response and specific dose. Aspartame critics cannot do this!

Second, aspartame is GI-degraded to its three components; they are more abundant in common foods and two are even essential for life. Food-borne methanol whatever its source is oxidized to formaldehyde and then formate. Formate is recycled (reduced) by the folate-B12 vitamins into methyl groups used to synthesize (thymine, in DNA), methylate (regulate) DNA, and detoxify truly-toxic homocysteine. Phenylalanine is used to biosynthesize epinephrine, etc. These ingredients are simply not a toxicological issue at the allowed doses of aspartame.

Third, aspartame has been extensively studied; adverse claims have been consistently disproven time after time, one of the latest being last year in New Zealand. Anti-aspartame arguments fostered by internet conspiracy theorists, who profit from books, false detoxification kits, etc., all predate 1998. In 1998 in the USA and in Canada, and Chile folate vitamin supplementation was mandated for cereal grain products, because of population-wide deficiency. That was not done in Europe, however.

So any health connections for aspartame most likely reside instead in personal folate deficiency (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19005123 or http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18208952) or related underlying biochemical issues (well-known folate- or related enzyme polymorphisms, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methylenetetrahydrofolate_reductase). These personal problems are often mistaken for arguments against aspartame, because they subside after aspartame use is ended. But really aspartame was the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back, not the tons of cargo already there.’ Of course folate (and B12 status) or associated polymorphisms are a major 'cargo'. High blood homocysteine (a known health issue) presents yet another preexisting straw, but it is often evidence of folate issues. Other cargos include caffeine and alcohol, which provide twice the formaldehyde/formate of aspartame (per molelcule) or act to inhibit folate-mediate enzyme reactions (fetal alcohol syndrome), respectively.

Aspartame critics cite every practically health issue under the sun as being connected to aspartame, the latest of which is diabetes. But like virtually all the other claimed issues, aspartame linkage to diabetes is highly suspect too for the same reason. Two highly publicized presentations (one in humans the other in diabetic mice) both neglected even to consider folate status in their subjects. Folate deficiency is a substantial issue with regard to insulin resistance and insulin issues (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=folate%2Cinsulin; over 345 references). And obese/diabetic mice have serious known issues with folate, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=folate%2Cdiabetes%20mice. It is therefore very likely that people who think think they are affected by aspartame are affected by real medical (folate, B12) vitamin issues, not aspartame per se.

So in summary, aspartame is perfectly safe used as recommended, but issues with it are likely because of hidden, but real risks from the now-known and potentially population-wide folate deficiency or related enzyme issues that are also known to be connected to many types of cancer, as well as migraines and other acute issues.

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

amorriso
Posts: 186
Joined: Oct 2010

I've come to the point where I dont bother with all the studies claiming things are safe or dangerous. What I now do is decide for myself...and my decision is not to use artificial sweeteners.

I'll go with real sugar - made by nature. Its one small change I've made for ME. And how I choose to be healthy is up to me. My choice.

Andree

jegarst
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2011

Andree:

And you choosing sugar over artificial sweeteners is your right. No one is holding a gun to your head making you choose aspartame, sucralose (Splenda) or real sugar. I actually have no stake in this fight at all; I was an academic scientist. What I share are the facts, so I really don't care if you use or don't use aspartame.

On the other hand I will comment on your implicit argument that "made by nature is better." Botulinum toxin and aflatoxin B1 are perhaps the most poisonous substances known and both are made by nature and are present in foods we eat. That of course is not to mention totally natural cantaloupes, Romaine lettuce, etc. that have been in the news recently. So my point is that being natural has absolutely nothing to do with safety.

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

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Yes, it is a choice, just like everything else in life the government doesn't force on us. I CHOOSE to believe the arguments I have read AGAINST the safety of Aspartame. (Besides the fact that it tastes like crap!) Those arguments, combined with personal experience have my vote. I work in the Medical field and I see patients every day that are improving MANY unexplained symptoms by removing Aspartame from their diet. I can't even count on both hands how many doctors I associate with that take their patients off of ALL artificial sweeteners at their first visit.

Quoting Chris McKee CNC (one whom John E. Garst, Ph.D argues his point)
From Sweet Poison?

"Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death. A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and 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 fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes."

To: John E. Garst, Ph.D
I am surprised to find your post here. Do you have investment in a product containing Aspartame? I have seen/read your arguments with other health professionals on line and can't help but think that maybe you are somehow "vested" in trying to convince people that Aspartame is safe. I DONT buy it, I never will; and I will oppose it until the day I die or it is taken off of the market. Your justification for the lack of B-12 or Folate in the diet doesn't convince me. If this is the case, should there not be a warning to those who are lacking in these supplements.

Why are you on our boards? Are you a cancer survivor or patient? If neither, why did you join? This is not a forum for your arguments pertaining to any vested interests, it is a discussion of "peers". It is not an open forum for whatever your agenda may be. We are all adults and we are able to research for ourselves. In fact, many of us are very well versed in research due to our illness.

BTW, the cantaloupes were contaminated with Listeria. This IS due to natural causes, POOP! Yes, poop. Animals poop and it gets in our food. Does it mean we should manufacture it in small doses if it tastes good so that we can slowly poison the population without their knowledge for our own profit?

Good Day!

amorriso
Posts: 186
Joined: Oct 2010

Thanks for the reply to that guy's post.

Cheers

A

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Found this on line:

Uncensored Magazine | Aspartame: Sweet Misery
uncensored.co.nz/2010/11/20/aspartame-sweet-misery/Cached - Block all uncensored.co.nz results

Nov 20, 2010 – need to know that John E. Garst, Ph.D. posts in much the same way. ... there is something very fishy about “John E. Garst, Ph.D.” in such haste ...

Cheers Andree!

CherylMike
Posts: 118
Joined: Oct 2009

Thank you for your post Sunny. This site is for cancer survivors, caregivers or patients. If John E Garst fits into one of the above catagories, then he is welcome to join in our discussions. If not, he has absolutely NO business being on this board. This is a forum that people who are touched by cancer can ask questions about their disease, express how they are dealing with all that cancer entails. It is a place where people feel safe among others who will not judge, but will help. I really take offense to someone who would use this site as a means to pursue a personal agenda. ~Cheryl

amorriso
Posts: 186
Joined: Oct 2010

Can we do like they do on the show Survivor and vote him off - unless he truly belongs here.....

cheers

andree

jegarst
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2011

As to why I am writing to this cancer site, it is the underlying folate and related issues I am writing that about are the cause of much cancer. (Type folate deficiency, cancer into the search line at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez). And as I said above, I strongly suspect that any personal sensitivity to aspartame reflects not safety issues with aspartame per se, but pre-existing personal problems with folate deficiency, folate polymorphisms, and related issues like accrual of homocysteine and vitamin B12 deficiency amongst still others. People with such a sensitivity should not use aspartame. Whether aspartame sensitivity could become a test for susceptibility to disease associated with these folate and related issues is a really good question. But these issues do associate with many types of cancer, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2592326/pdf/0541545.pdf (Table 1).

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

jegarst
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2011

Each of you that respond to aspartame with some perceived health issue seriously need to read what I have written here and at http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive/2011/10/why-the-fda-doesnt-ban-food-colors-bpa-and-other-chemicals/246011/. I strongly suspect that any personal sensitivity to aspartame reflects not true aspartame safety issues, but some pre-existing personal problems with folate deficiency, folate polymorphisms, and related issues like vitamin B12 deficiency and/or accrual of homocysteine amongst still other possibilities. All are closely intertwined (see the actual biochemical cycles and their overlap point at, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3129576/figure/F1/). That means people sensitive to aspartame may be more susceptible to the many cancers and disease issues associated with these underlying issues I describe--whether one regularly uses aspartame or not.

The cited "researchers and physicians" criticizing aspartame are not qualified to make judgments on toxicological and safety issues. But check out more about many of them at http://whatdoesthesciencesay.wordpress.com/2011/07/08/sweet-misery-fact-check-part-1/ (along with a rebuttal of the disease claims you make). There are virtually no qualified scientists that question aspartame safety, but there is a conspiracy theory (see Snopes, etc) to which you evidently subscribe.

The fact is that I have independently studied the safety claims you and critics cite: "Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes." None of the claims hold up. But every disease you list is covered by the folate deficiency and related issue paradigm that I share with you here and at the atlantic.com link. Space prevents a detailed comment on each disease, but consider a sampling below. Don’t believe me? Then go here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez and type folate deficiency, “your cited disease from above” and see what turns up.

Parkinson's disease
I addressed the Parkinson's disease comments here recently, http://www.altmeds.com/parkinsons-disease/articles/parkinsons-and-aspartame (check it out quickly; sites often censor or delete comments). [Also a copy and paste entry cut off some words, so good luck reading it).

Brain cancer
I could direct you to a site where I refuted the brain cancer argument, but it doesn't exist anymore. So I copied much of my comment below. Think and judge for yourself. (For the references go here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez and type the following numbers into the search line.)

Olney et al, 1996 (PMID 8939194) … conclude “the artificial sweetener aspartame is a promising candidate to explain the recent increase in incidence and degree of malignancy of brain tumors”. Hardly proof! And it was strongly criticized and refuted by actual data that you can obtain and read.

Besides associations between meningiomas and hormones and/or HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), the documented association between folate issues and meningiomas or gliomas is very relevant (Bethke et al, 2008; PMID: 18483342). They conclude that “the results of our study are consistent with an increased risk in subjects with reduced conversion of homocysteine to methionine due to either reduced MTRR enzyme activity or reduced activity upstream at the MTHFR enzyme [both folate enzymes], which could result in aberrant promoter methylation. The biological basis of PBT [primary brain tumors]; development is unclear. The role of aberrant methylation has, however, been documented in both gliomas and meningiomas (16-19). Given that studies have shown that the MTHFR 677TT genotype can be associated with decreased global DNA methylation and promoter-specific methylation in tumors (20), it is entirely plausible that the variants we have studied will affect the risk of PBT.” Semmler et al, 2008; PMID: 18447718 and Sirachainan et al, 2008; PMID: 18406541 both found similar associations.

Fibromyalgia
I am working on this issue at this very time to respond to an article in my online local paper suggesting aspartame causes fibromyalgia. Aspartame has been cited in connection with the disease, but again, aspartame sensitivity merely indicates serious underlying issues. Here, however, the underlying issue is less likely folate than of homocysteine and vitamin B12 deficiency. My second link shows how they are related, but iron deficiency is also likely involved. Here are some documenting snippets from my in progress discussion.

But homocysteine accumulating in blood, often as a consequence of folate issues and/or B12 deficiency, is a sign of serious health concerns. Those include heart issues (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=homocysteine%2Cheart), but also fibromyalgia (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9310111).

...vitamin and related associations ... provide a much better explanation than aspartame for fibromyalgia. In that light I encourage the reader to consider various possible causes. Weight seems a significant factor (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=weight%2Cfibromyalgia; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21972124; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21476098). As the latter reference suggests, it is unclear, which comes first fibromyalgia or weight gain. However, weight-related issues like sleep disorders (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17268733) and some interestingly sleep-disorder-associated medical issues like low ferritin (a form of iron), http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20087382, and coeliac disease that affects (GI) iron absorption may play a big role too, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15361320. Still other citations also link fibromyalgia to iron issues (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18404239 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21176208). All of these may actually be related in that iron and folate interact in scientifically still unclear ways; low iron may foster folate insufficiency, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=iron%2Cfolate and even vice versa.

I refute all claims that aspartame causes disease as I am doing here. For more about me and my reasons go here (http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive/2011/10/why-the-fda-doesnt-ban-food-colors-bpa-and-other-chemicals/246011/); look for my response to Michael Bulger, who asked about my writing web sites, etc.

As to why I am writing to this cancer site, it is the underlying folate and related issues I am writing that about are the cause of much cancer. (Type folate deficiency, cancer into the search line at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez). And as I said above, I strongly suspect that any personal sensitivity to aspartame reflects not safety issues with aspartame per se, but pre-existing personal problems with folate deficiency, folate polymorphisms, and related issues like accrual of homocysteine and vitamin B12 deficiency amongst still others. People with such a sensitivity should not use aspartame. Whether aspartame sensitivity could become a test for susceptibility to disease associated with these folate and related issues is a really good question. But these issues do associate with many types of cancer, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2592326/pdf/0541545.pdf (Table 1).

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

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

You can argue your point all you want, I still won't use it. I have never had a deficiency of Folate, B-12 or any other vitamin or mineral and I have experienced horrible affects from it. In fact, I take supplements and have taken them for many years. Since I have deleted it from my diet I have never felt better. So, I still believe that if a problem exists with a food or drug, ie. an interaction, there should be a warning on the label of any product containing it, just like on prescriptions and food products. Producers of food products and drugs are legally responsible for detailing every ingredient including amounts in their products, i.e. peanuts or peanut oil for those that are allergic or sensitive to it. It shouldn't be any different with Aspartame.

So again, your arguments are understood, I still won't use the product and I will never recommend that anyone use products containing Aspartame. As for "Don't buy the rhetoric, regulatory agencies have the facts" I believe what I choose to believe because of personal experience and my own educational knowledge.

Case in point; I have a patient that was experiencing horrible bouts of chronic diarrhea. I did stool cultures along with ova and parasite tests. Nothing came back positive on repeated occasions. Then I asked her about Aspartame in the products she was ingesting. She was drinking diet Soda with Aspartame and chewing gum with Aspartame after quitting smoking. In less than two weeks after discontinuing diet soda and all Aspartame products (as she was instructed to check all labels) her symptoms began to subside and she has never been more grateful for the help and information. I checked her most recent labs today, she was not deficient in any vitamins including Vitamin D, Folate, Transferritin, Ferritin or B-12. No problems with Iron or vitamin counts what-so-ever.

This is the end of my part in this discussion. People can believe what they want and do their own research. As for me, I stand on my perspective that Aspartame is not okay. I still haven't been able to determine what your "agenda" is with Aspartame or why you feel the need to defend it. I am sure that I will figure it out eventually, although it's not a priority.

Thank you for your time and information for those that find it useful, and I am sure there are some that do. But, I respectfully ask that you please refrain from participation in our forums unless you are a cancer patient, survivor or caregiver like the rest of us.

Sincerely,
Julie-SunnyAZ

iggymurphy
Posts: 34
Joined: Sep 2011

I keep looking for the "like" button...lol too much facebook.

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

LOL! And Andree wants to "Vote Him Off." Too bad we don't have both options.

I guess it would be different if he spoke in terms most people could understand. His language is not that of the average person, so most people aren't likely to finish his posts or entertain going to the sites if they can't understand them. One of the sites was mostly regarding Pregnant women and the need for Folate in the diet that can cause birth defects if it's too low. A small portion referred to cancer but no reference to Thyroid cancer, only head and neck.

Maybe this is why my patients love me. I speak in terms they understand. I.e. it's not a "urine cup" it's a "pee pee" cup. And, you don't fill it with 3-4 cc's, just give me about a third to a half of the cup. (Men like to be overachievers and try to fill the cup just because they can.) Show offs!

If I see a confused look on someone's face, I ask them if they understand what I am saying. It they say no or look hesitant, I choose different words or draw a picture until I see the light pop on in their eyes and know that they understand. Most of us are not Medical minded and we need to hear things in terms that make sense to us for us to be interested or understand. I hope Gurst gets a clue about this. The reason other's don't respond or argue his point is that they don't speak his language. You know, it's the baffle them with bullsh-- theory because they can't think on their own.

Blessings,
Julie-SunnyAZ

MarinMark
Posts: 139
Joined: Aug 2011

delete

MarinMark
Posts: 139
Joined: Aug 2011

Not taking sides here. Have seen others with diarrhea, and not one has had it due to aspartame. Did you check for, or treat for, giardia ? Just because diarrhea stopped after two weeks is not diagnostic that any diarrhea was due to aspartame. "Correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation".

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Of course, we checked for everything including doing a C-Diff. We have a team of Physicians and assistant's and didn't discount or rule out anything. The only constant was the artificial sweetener. When she was hospitalized for dehydration and put on IV fluids she did not get artificial sweetener or soda in the hospital and the diarrhea subsided. As soon as she resumed her daily rituals including diet soda and chewing gum at home, it came back.

I am not arguing that Aspartame is bad for everyone. I am saying that there are people that can not tolerate it for "whatever reason". This is a proven fact. There is something missing in the information we are getting from the manufacturers.

jegarst
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi all and Sunnyaz:

I have said in many of my commentaries, whether or not I said it here, that aspartame sensitivity only arises from problems with folate or folate related issues. Let's take a look at Sunnyaz’s comment in light of this paradigm.

One needs not go far. Try http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20301716 for a straight genetic issue or http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20670066, just for example of one problem (Coeliac disease) that can strongly affect iron absorption. Iron and folate absorption are strongly linked too. So in answer to Sunnyaz’s point where the author says "I am saying that there are people that can not tolerate it for "whatever reason"', I say it is not because of aspartame, it is because of their own biochemistry. You cannot an antibiotic for a personal susceptibility, so you cannot blame aspartame either.

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

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