If you drink diet soda or eat any sugar-free foods, then you are probably aware of aspartame. Aspartame is the scientific name for artificial sweeteners such as NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful and Equal-Measure.
Unknown to most people, aspartame is responsible for 75% of adverse reactions to food additives that are reported to the FDA. These reactions are often severe including seizures and death. A sample of the 90 documented symptoms caused by aspartame sensitivity are: headaches/migraines, joint pain, memory loss, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia (abnormally rapid heartbeat), insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus and vertigo.
Researchers that have studied aspartame report that these chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened through the consumption of aspartame: brain tumors, diabetes, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, parkinson’s disease, alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma and birth defects.
In his book Excitotoxins: The taste that kills, Russell L. Blaylock professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi uses nearly 500 scientific references to describe the damage caused by free excitatory amino acids such as aspartic acid (40% of aspartame) and glutamic acid ( nearly 99% of MSG).
How Aspartate and Glutamate Inflict Damage
When aspartate and glutamate reach the brain, they act as neurotransmitters. A neurotransmitter is a neurochemical that transmits nerve impulses across a synapse. A large amount of aspartate or glutamate will kill certain neurons by allowing too much calcium into the cells. This also causes free radicals to appear, which ultimately kill the cells. This is why aspartate and glutamate are called excitotoxins, these substances stimulate the neurons till they die.
Aspartic Acid (40% of aspartame)
Aspartic acid is actually an amino acid. If ingested when not bound to a protein, aspartic acid dramatically raises blood plasma levels of aspartate and glutamate. The blood brain barrier normally protects the brain from excesses of aspartate and glutamate and other toxins. The blood brain barrier is not fully developed in childhood, which causes aspartate and glutamate to be even more damaging to children.
Neurons are slowly deteriorated by these toxins. Before any symptoms are noticed, 75% or more of a specific area of the brain, notably the hypothalamus, is destroyed. The following are a few of the chronic illnesses worsened by long-term exposure to these toxins: Multiple sclerosis (MS), ALS, memory loss, hormonal problems, hearing loss, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Hypoglycemia,AIDS, Dementia, brain lesions and neuroendocrine disorders.
The elderly, pregnant women, infants and people with chronic health problems are at greater risk.
Phenylalanine (50% of aspartame)
Phenylalanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that is found in the brain. However, people that suffer from phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize phenylalanine. This can cause abnormally high levels of phenylalanine, sometimes even lethal, in the brain. Studies have shown that eating aspartame, especially in the presence of carbohydrates, can lead to raised levels of phenylalanine even in persons that do not have PKU. These high levels of phenylalanine can cause the levels of serotonin in the brain to decrease which can cause emotional disorders such as depression. The build up of phenylalanine in the brain can cause schizophrenia and make a person more susceptible to seizures.
Methanol (10% of aspartame)
Methanol/wood alcohol is a deadly poison. Methanol is released in the small intestine as the methyl group of aspartame reacts with chymotrypsin. The body absorbs methanol much more quickly when free methanol is eaten. When aspartame is heated above 86 degrees Fahrenheit, free methanol is created. This may happen if an aspartame containing food is mishandled or heated, such as sugar free gelatin.
Methanol is metabolized into formic acid and formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a deadly neurotoxin. The EPA says of 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 EPA recommends that methanol consumption be limited to 7.8 mg/day. One liter of a beverage sweetened with aspartame contains approximately 56 mg of methanol. People that consume large amounts of aspartame may be ingesting 250 mg os more of methanol each day. Methanol poisoning symptoms 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 known 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.
Humans do not synthesize some key enzymes that are necessary to safely metabolize methanol that animals do create. This means animal testing of aspartame or methanol cannot accurately reflect the danger they have for humans.
The consumption of aspartame has been shown to be hazardous to humans. Any products that contain aspartame should be removed from your home. Good health to you!
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