Aspartame poisoning: fact or myth?

Aspartame poisoning: fact or myth?
November 8, 2014 12:19 PM

Aspartame is an artificial non saccharine sweetener that is used as substitute for sugar in foods and beverages. First discovered and synthesized by a chemist name James M. Schlatter in 1965 and was coded E951 by European Union. It is Methyl Ester of Aspartic Acid. Being an artificial sweetener it is 200 times sweeter than Sucrose (Table Sugar) was first sold in the market by name of NutraSweet. It is white and an odorless powder.

One gram of Aspartame when metabolized generates four kilocalories of energy. Among artificial sweeteners it comes closer than any and for that very reason it is mixed with other artificial sweeteners to taste more like sugar.

It is stable in dry state and in frozen products at pH 4.3 at room temperature with half life of about 300 days. Main impurity of it is D-ketopiperazine that has no sweetness. In liquid state at temperatures more than 30 degree Celsius it changes into D-iketopiperazine that is then degraded into Methanol, Aspartic Acid and Phenylalanine. Due to these conversions it is not used in baking because when heated it breaks down and loses its sweetness.

A product like medicines and beverages that has to be on shelf for long time has pH in between 3 to 5. For this, aspartame is often mixed with more stable sweeteners e.g. saccharin. The powdered beverages that have aromatic (producing sweet smell) compounds and aspartame in them sometimes result in Maillard reaction. The reaction is caused by the reaction of Amine in aspartame with the aldehydes of aroma compounds. To prevent this from happening, often Acetal is added to the mixtures. However, it is observed that solutions having aspartame have sweet as well as bitter aftertastes.

As it hydrolyzes at a fast rate in small intestine, the ingestion of aspartame in high doses is not traceable in blood. Under the trade names of NutraSweet, Equal and Canderel aspartame is being used in the following consumer foods and beverages.

  • Diet soft drinks
  • Cereals
  • Sugar free gums
  • Laxatives
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Pharmaceutical drugs and supplements
  • Teas, coffees and yogurt etc. 

Being the Methyl Ester of Natural Amino Acids it generates the following reactions:

  • In strong acidic or alkaline situations it forms Methanol by the process of Hydrolysis.
  • More extreme conditions hydrolyze the Peptide bonds thus generating free amino acids.

Aspartame is a mixture of three chemicals. Following ratio of substances is present in normal aspartame:
  • Aspartic Acid 40%
  • Phenylalanine 50%
  • Methanol (Wood Alcohol) 10% 

40mg/kg body weight per day is the ADI (Acceptable daily intake), as set by WHO (World Health Organization) and is not to be exceeded especially in children or diabetic patients. This ADI is not applicable to people suffering with Phenylketonuria (PKU).

What are the causes of aspartame poisoning?

As the Aspartame is being used in our daily food and beverages as a sugar substitute, we have become somewhat addicted to it. This daily intake of Asparatame is very injurous to human body as it causes a condition known as Aspartame Poisoning. There are millions of cases worldwide of aspartame poisoning but people are unaware of it for the following two main reasons.

  • Not knowing that their condition is caused or contributed by Aspartame.
  • Or they are not experiencing obvious clinical symptoms caused by the breakdown of Aspartame products. 

To provide information about aspartame risks there are no publicized studies yet many still suffer from its adverse reactions.

40% of the Aspartame is made up of Aspartic Acid. Intense conditions change the structure of aspartic acid changing it into something that is toxic for our endocrine system and causes visual impairments. Aspartic acid is generally a Neuroexciter i.e. it effects the central nervous system and somewhat excites it. It stimulates hyperactivity so it is prohibited for ADD/ADHD conditions and also not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Phenylalanine is another dangerous compound for those consuming Aspartame on daily basis as it makes up for 50% of it. The danger is that too much consumption of Phenylalanine is neurotoxin as it excites neurons in the brain to an end point of cellular death.

Although Aspartame is marketed as a diet product to help lose weight instead it causes an increase in weight. It is also poisonous resulting in a condition called Aspartame Poisoning. The reason for its poisonous nature is one of its toxic ingredients; Wood Alcohol (1). At temperature of 85 degrees F, Wood Alcohol in Aspartame converts into formaldehyde, which in turns converts into Formic Acid that causes Metabolic Acidosis.

Formaldehyde is placed in the same group as Cyanide (a known poison) but it deteriorates the human gradually as compared to cyanide. Formaldehyde in Aspartame causes damage to the nervous system, immune system and also causes irreversible long term genetic damage. For every 1 liter of aspartame ingested, the body is exposed to approximately 61.3 mg of formaldehyde- this amount is about 2 times more amount that is sufficient to cause irreversible genetic damage. This exposure also causes following symptoms: 

  • Neurological
  • Cardiovascular
  • Musculoskeletal 

Formaldehyde-chemical-structure

Aspartame intake results in changing of the ratio of amino acid in blood resulting in blockage of the release neurotransmitters from the brain (because neurotransmitters are mainly amino acids). Such neurotransmitters include:

  • Serotonin
  • Tyrosine
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinepherine
  • Adrenaline
 

Aspartame with its dissolution property in solution can travel throughout the body and deposit itself within tissues. Unlike Saccharin, body digests aspartame readily. Therefore, we are more prone to develop poisoning due to aspartame as compared to saccharin. This digestion causes Aspartame to accumulate in our body with end results of various health problems (2). Some of the main causes for Aspartame Poisoning are as follows.

  • Excessive use of Aspartame as a sugar substitute (3).
  • Use of Aspartame as a diet product to lose weight. 

Damage caused by Aspartame poisoning is also worsened by the breakdown of other aspartame chemicals like Aspartic Acid.

Aspartame Chemical Structure

How to tell aspartame poisoning from its signs and symptoms?

Aspartame leads to about 92 different signs and symptoms, which depending on their nature can occur gradually or immediately or can be just acute reactions (4). Aspartame symptoms depend on your genetic individuality and physical weaknesses. Aspartame poisoning is often misdiagnosed for the reason that they mock textbook disease symptoms like Grave’s Disease. Its symptoms cannot be detected in lab tests or on X-rays due to its nature of changing the ratio of amino acids in blood. Aspartame poisoning and its symptoms negative effects the functioning of different body organs and may result in irreparable loss. Here the signs and symptoms of aspartame poisoning are discussed according to separate body systems.

Eye

Some of the symptoms in the eye following aspartame poisoning may include:

  • Reduce vision specially at night
  • Blurriness
  • Tunnel vision. The person remains unaware of gradual loss of vision until there is complete deterioration of vision and is reduced to central vision only.
  • Throbbing pain in the eyes
  • The long term side effect, inevitably, is blindness
  • Eyes bulging out
  • Reduction of tears and drying of eyes, which can then lead to damage to cornea (keratitis). 

Ear

One of the most common symptoms of aspartame poisoning in ears includes Tinnitus i.e. ringing or buzzing sound in ears. Other symptoms include noise intolerance and loss of hearing.

Neurologic Symptoms

Nervous system, being a very delicate and important part of human body, is sensitive to even small amount of toxins. Aspartame poisoning causes negative effect on brain functions as well as triggers many serious diseases (5). Neurological conditions triggered by Aspartame poisoning are as follows.

  • Epilepsy
  • Migraines
  • Severe drowsing and sleepiness
  • Hyper activities like restlessness of legs
  • Tremors
  • Numb limbs
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Loss of memory and confusion
  • Slurred speech 

Psychiatric Symptoms

Aspartame poisoning results in serious psychiatric symptoms, which are as follows.

  • Aggression
  • Suicidal tendency
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Various phobias
  • Change in personality
  • Irritability of mind
 

Chest

The chest symptoms of aspartame poisoning may include:


Gastrointestinal symptoms

Intake of Aspartame can causes some of the following symptoms, especially in people who are sensitive to the side effects of aspartame or its constituent chemicals (6):

  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea often with blood
  • Aching stomach
  • Pain during intake of Aspartame
  • Nausea 

Skin Allergies

Skin allergies include the following conditions:

  • Urticaria (Hives)
  • Severe itching with no rash
  • Swelling of lips or mouth
  • Elevation of respiratory allergies like Asthma

Endocrine and Metabolic symptoms

Metabolism and hormones are the generators of energy in our body and also help in the regulation of almost all vital processes of the body. Symptoms of metabolic and endocrine dysfunctions due to Aspartame poisoning are as follows:

  • Loss of blood sugar control, which can ultimately lead to diabetes
  • Edema (water retention) in the body
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Changes in menstruation, either too much or too less menstrual bleeding or irregular cycles
  • Marked loss of weight
  • Gradual increase in weight
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Hair loss

Others

Beside the above mentioned symptoms some of the other symptoms are as follows:

  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Increase in urine frequency
  • Increase thirst
  • Fluid retention
  • Swelling and bloating of legs
  • Increased vulnerability to infections

Some of the critical and irreversible symptoms due to Aspartame poisoning are as follows:

  • Death
  • Brain damage
  • Birth defects in children like retardation who are born to or are fed by mother consuming too much aspartame
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Increased craving for sweets
  • Increased hyperactivities in children

What are the risk factors for aspartame poisoning?

Some of the health risks associated with Aspartame poisoning including its nature to trigger or cause the following illnesses.

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Epstein-Barr
  • Post polio Syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Grave’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • ALS
  • Lymphoma
  • ADD (Attention deficit disorder)
  • MS (Multiple Sclerosis)
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Thyroid disorder

Phenylketonuria (PKU)

One of the biggest risk factors for Aspartame poisoning is Phenylketonuria (PKU). It is a rare genetic inherited disease that prevents the proper metabolism of phenylalanine. This results in buildup of phenylalanine in the blood, thus preventing other important chemicals like amino acids to the reach brain. The disease causes mental retardation and various neurological disorders if not treated on time. Therefore people suffering from PKU are in danger from elevation of phenylalanine in their blood and must follow a phenylalanine restricted diet. They must avoid entire aspartame intake entirely due to its 50% phenylalanine level. This is the very reason why products including medicine having Aspartame have warning “Phenylketonurics; contains Phenylalanine”.

Cancer

Cancer cells cannot sustain without Phenylalanine and Aspartame has 50% of it. Research and studies are being done to find a link between Cancer and Aspartame. Results of a recent study inducting 125000 people found a link of aspartame to following in men but not in women.

  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Multiple Myeloma

However, the link is said to be by chance by researchers.

Root of Diseases

Doctors now a days call Aspartame Disease to be the root of all other diseases. The chemical structure of Aspartame mimics the symptoms of diseases but in the end it’s only Aspartame Disease. Some of the diseases associated with it are as follows:

  • Aspartame vaginal irritation
  • Aspartame induced bladder cancer
  • Tumors
  • Infertility
  • Parkinson’s disease

How to make a diagnosis of aspartame poisoning?

Aspartame poisoning is not to be taken lightly as it triggers many other illnnesses and must be treated as soon as possible after proper diagnosis. Some of the tests used to make a diagnosis of Aspartame poisoning are as following:

  • Blood test
  • Hair test

The steps of testing Aspartame poisoning are as follows:

  • Person suffering from the rare genetic disorder PKU should consult the doctor when the body exhibits symptoms.
  • Doctor can take a blood test of the PKU patient. Diagnosis includes the immediate cut down of amino acids that are not metabolized.
  • PKU patients who have health condition because of Aspartame should eliminate use of it.
  • Complete cut down of Aspartame for at least 60 days before patients can see results and relief from symptoms.
  • Doctor can also perform hair analysis as the hair protein stores chemicals and metals in them.
  • Doctors suggest a detox supplement while eliminating Aspartame from diet for body to get rid of all the chemicals left from Aspartame use.

How can aspartame poisoning be prevented?

The effects of Aspartame poisoning on human body’s different organ system and structure are in so abundance that it should be prevented at all cost for a healthy life. The question is how to prevent yourself from aspartame poisoning? The answer lies within your grasp. Some of the techniques to prevent yourself from Aspartame poisoning are as follows:

  • First of all you need to change your diet and cut loose Aspartame use in your daily life. Common example of aspartame products is diet includes colas, so give them up!
  • To prevent your children from the hazards of Aspartame poisoning talk to their schools and day care centers. Offer your information at parent teacher meetings.
  • Spread the information about aspartame poisoning at your work place for awareness because you and your coworkers drink a lot of aspartame containing coffee and energy drinks, right?
  • Seeing someone drinking diet drinks ask them about any of the aspartame poisoning effects. If they have the effects then encourage them to avoid its use by sharing the information.
  • Prevent the aspartame poisoning by sharing information on internet through different networks and sites.
  • Be an example for others of health and wellness.
  • File the complaints with FDA, the FAA and the NutraSweet Company telling them incidences of Aspartame poisoning.
  • Return all of the opened or unopened aspartame goods back to your grocer while telling him about the aspartame poisoning.
  • Spread awareness by publishing articles in newsletters of your neighborhood and work place.

What is the treatment for aspartame poisoning?

People suffering from Aspartame poisoning can restore their health by following a simple treatment protocol called the Aspartame Detoxification Program. This program is one of the most efficient ways of treatment as it has helped 9 out of 10 patients of aspartame poisoning to recover their health completely. The process starts with detoxifying your body from all the chemical residues of aspartame’s chemicals i.e. Phenylalanine, Aspartic Acid and Methanol and toxic byproducts produced by them. The detoxification program once started can help you by diminishing the symptoms within 30 days. The steps to follow for the Aspartame Detoxification Program are as follows:

  • Removing all of the aspartame containing sugar free products from your diet. Always check the labels of food before buying anything. If it has aspartame in it then just leave it. The weakest link of human body is its genetic weakness and this is where the toxins firstly attack breaking it more easily. By avoiding any aspartame in your diet, you can strengthen your weakness.
  • Second step is important, as it needs you to indentify the health changes in your own body. You must be able to read your own body for any health changes. Note your body if it feels more energetic when off the Aspartame.
  • Take a hair analysis to indentify the levels of chemicals and metals in our body. The hair protein stores all kind of chemicals and metals inside them. The reason for hair analysis is that it is a perfect road map to history of what’s going inside your body. A 3 inch hair strand can give information to about 6 months of your body’s chemistry.
  • Being happy with yourself is crucial as the sorry attitude puts a negative impact on your health. Ask yourself why you are using artificial chemical diets like Aspartame. Are you diabetic? Do you think your children are better off the sugar? Are you fat? The solution to all these problems is not to start an artificial chemical diet but revert to more natural one. If you are a diabetic use natural diets and artificial sweeteners other than aspartame. If your children are addicted to sugar than trace the amount of fat in their diets, food coloring and other chemicals they are exposed to and with all this also promote the habit of proper exercise in them.
  • This step includes detoxifying your body of all the toxins. The products that can help in detoxifying include French Green Clay, Ascorbic Acid, B3 (Niacin) and digestive enzymes. Use these supplements with your diets purely.
  • Restore the depleted nutrients as the result of detoxification. The question is what nutrients you are short of inside our body? The answer lies in the Hair Analysis, which tells us specifically what nutrients you are depleted in. Some vitamins are of low quality these days. Natural supplements are easily breakable by the snap between fingers. Another great way to help restore depleted nutrients is to balance your daily diet.
  • As aspartame poisoning aids in weight gain at an alarming rate, the best way to avoid this is to take exercise on daily basis. The other thing you need to take care of is to give your body proper rest and sleep on time. When we sleep, our body starts to repair, cleanse, eliminate all the toxins and also strengthen up our organ systems for next day’s activities. So, proper exercise and sleep also plays key role in body’s detoxification.
  • Promote yourself to eat 75% raw foods in every meal. Eat those foods that are naturally rich in vitamins. Although these vitamins are in minute amounts within food but they promote positive mental attitude. Deficiency of the vitamin rich food creates a feeling of run down that ultimately leads to low resistance to infections, nervousness, and loss of appetite. Human body has the ability to select substances from the food you eat to build flesh, blood, bones, teeth and also to maintain processes like respiration, circulation, metabolism, and digestion. So let your body perform its functions at its best. And for that you need to start taking raw foods (only raw fruits and vegetables, not meat) in your diet. The most important way for this is to have salads of different vegetables and fruits in every meal.
  • Drinking plenty of water. Human body is made of about two third of water but 75% is saline (water with salt). Also our body excretes about 7 to 8 cups of water daily by urinating, spitting, sweating and crying. For the reason of all the saltiness of this water and excretion we have to drink plenty of water. Drinking diet sodas don’t do any help in this process. You need to develop a habit of drinking water all day long. This will not only detoxify your body but will also keep you full, fresh and energetic.
  • Getting control of your own life. Cutting aspartame from your diet may be the first step to your health. But if you stay put to it you will begin to see the changes in your own body. For all this perhaps the most important step of all is to take control of your own life. You need not to worry about what other people say about you. When you do that you will no longer be a victim of suffering.

Aspartame Detoxification Components

The most important components play an important role in aspartame detoxification process are discussed in detail one by one as follows:

French Green Clay

French Green Clays detoxification potential can be measured by the fact that Russian Govt. distributed it by putting it inside chocolate bars for reducing the radiation effects from the meltdown of Soviet Nuclear power plant in Chernobyl. French Green Clay contains the following.

  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorous
  • Zinc aluminum
  • Silicon
  • Copper
  • Cobalt
  • Kelp and Phyto-nutrients

It has the ability to detoxify the body from any chemical residue, bacteria, and other blood toxins. It has no side effects like diarrhea, stomach aches or constipation. It can remove the following after six week use.

  • Radiations
  • Arsenic
  • Lead
  • And other toxic metals

However, do consult your health care provider before using it.

B-Complex

B-complex is the combinations of B vitamins. Take one B- 100 complex pill daily to replenish those depleted vitamins.

B3 Niacin

B3 is one of the 8 B vitamins also called Niacin (Nicotinic Acid). Firstly, start by taking 50 mg of it daily with a slightly full stomach. If your heartbeat increases or your face turns red then you do not need to panic. This is a sign showing that your blood is now pure and removing toxins successfully. Some people can take 500 mg niacin three times a day if they are not face any side effects with the normal dose. Niacin will work perfectly in your system if it’s taken with less food in stomach. If you have more amount of Niacin in your body than the toxins you will feel a burning sensation in ten to twenty minutes after taking it.

Digestive Enzymes

Take digestive enzymes after meal. Supplement following digestive enzymes with the following digestive aids.

  • Upper digestive aids; Papain, HCl
  • Lower digestive aids; Amalyse, lactase etc.

It is recommended to take enzymes right after the meal so body can produce its own acids for proper digestion. If stomach cannot produce something then it can be supplemented.

Vitamin C

Use of Vitamin C for bowel tolerance. Ascorbic acid is one of the most effective forms of vitamin C. To start, you should take 2000 to 3000 mg vitamin C every day and start increasing the dosage 1000mg daily. The pattern should be followed until you have loose stool. After that, don’t increase the dose further. Ascorbic acid helps to remove toxins from the water stores of body and as every cell of body is bathed in water so it cleans out your whole system. After removing the toxins from body the excess vitamin C just excretes out from your body through stool.

Multivitamin

As the agriculture is becoming more and more saturated with artificial fertilizers and pesticides, the food we now consume is becoming less and less organic. So, in order to insure your health you can take natural organic multivitamin supplements five times a week.

Other

Beside this, the detoxification process includes the following precautions.

  • Avoiding artificial food chemicals
  • Sea salt usage only
  • Less use of processed foods like ready to eat foods and junk food etc.
  • Avoiding white flour and white sugar
  • Use whole grains, Brewer’s yeast and bee pollen
  • Eat raw or steamed foods normally

Supplements and vitamins

Some of the supplements that can be used include Ezzeac herb tea and body oxygen dietary food supplement. Some of the vitamins include Niacin 50mg, Vitamin C 1000 and Wobenzym N.

Homeopathic treatment

There is homeopathic treatment for aspartame poisoning too. It is a detox formula with the name Homeopathic Artificial Sweetener Special (detoxing formula). It is safe to use with any medications or supplements you are already using. The usage includes two methods; 10 drops under tongue or ten drops in water. It contains the following ingredients:

  • Saccharin
  • Aspartame
  • Sodium Cylamate
  • Base 20% alcohol
  • Purified water

Conclusion

To conclude, our lives are getting more and more artificial as we’re addicted to colas and junk food, which means we’re addicted to aspartame too. Many of us might be suffering from aspartame poisoning even without knowing. The key to save yourself from this deleterious condition is by using organic and natural alternative like brown sugar and plenty of fresh vegetables and fresh, and drinking lots of water.

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Written by: Michal Vilímovský (EN)
Education: Medical student, 3rd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Article resources: Sweet Poison | FDA info on aspartame toxicity | Wikipedia | Pubmed and numbered references within the article.
Image resources: Dollarphotoclub.com
Published: November 8, 2014 12:19 PM
Last updated: April 30, 2015 12:50 AM
Next scheduled update: April 30, 2017 12:50 AM
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