Is Aspartame dangerous? Judging by the ingredient
lists of over 5,000 food products that list Aspartame or NutraSweet/Equal,
one of its name brand versions, the average American believes this product must
be completely safe and harmless. But according to Zoh Show guest, Mary Nash
Stoddard, founder of The Aspartame Consumer Safety Network and author of the
source book, The Deadly Deception, Aspartame has the potential of being
the deadliest neurotoxin known to man. Mary has become the point woman
for the citizens right to know about the dangers of Aspartame
and joined Zoh on July 2, 1997 to describe the work of the Aspartame Consumer
Safety Network (ACSN) and what we can do to avoid this dangerous substance.
Aspartame was discovered in the 60s as a drug for peptic ulcers,
Mary explained. What the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network is attempting
to do is to call the FDA into responsibility and act upon the fact that it was
discovered as a drug, still is a drug and [they should] recall and retest it
as a drug. It will never pass those tests, and that is the reason it wasnt
tested as a drug initially.... Aspartame is 50% Phenylalanine which lowers the
seizure threshold in individuals. Its 40% Aspartic Acid which caused lesions
in the brains of mice and lab animals, and it can cause silent lesions in the
brain according to the top scientists in the amino acid studies. That further
breaks down into methanol, 10% wood alcohol by weight, formaldehyde, formic
acid and DKP [diketopiperazine] which is the brain tumor agent. So its
a toxic mix we have here and it breaks down in anything above 85º Fahrenheit.
Remember [our] body temperature is 98.6º, so it breaks down within ten
minutes of ingestion.
Mary first got involved after her youngest child developed mysterious debilitating
symptoms. She began to develop migraine headaches which were so debilitating
that she couldnt get out of bed in the morning. [That] progressed into
heart attack symptoms, chest pains, arrhythmias, tachycardias and that progressed,
eventually, into a Grand Mal seizure. Over a period of months she had begun
to use something that had come to us free, as sample packets, in the mail. That
was Crystal Light, the Koolaid flavored drink sweetened with Aspartame.
It tasted metallic and kind of funny to me so I didnt drink it. She was
the only one using it and when she began to develop these very unusual, weird
health problems I began to look for answers. One of the answers I stumbled upon
was that particular substance in her life. When we took that out of her diet,
even though she had been to many specialists and nobody could identify her problem
or the source of her medical symptoms, the symptoms went away. That was twelve
Mary was also having simultaneous mysterious reactions to the Weight Watchers
products she was using with Aspartame in them. Weight Watchers also recommended
using Equal and diet soft drinks, and she was becoming ill. Mine
started with a knee joint problem which was arthritic in nature, I thought,
and progressed into severe muscle spasms, cramping, twitching, low grade fever
[and] fibromyalgia symptoms. Mary was eventually diagnosed with eosinophilia
myalgia, a potentially fatal condition. She began her exhaustive search for
answers for her child and herself, and one of the results was a compiled 200
page fact report which is simply reprints of articles from the medical
and science journals. [They] were very difficult to find. It was almost hidden
in the literature, but it was there, and thats how I got started.
Mary was asked to testify at the third Senate hearing on Aspartame safety in
Washington, D.C. While she was there she met a lot of other people who were
claiming the same symptoms. She remembered it being kind of like that
movie, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind where everybody got together
and said Wow, we thought we were the only ones. The long
list of symptoms on Marys website were compiled from her twelve years
of research and interviews with other sufferers. Aspartame can be the cause
of headaches, nausea, vertigo, hearing loss, tinitus, insomnia, numbness of
extremities, eye problems, blurred vision, blindness, memory loss, slurred speech,
mild to suicidal depression, personality changes, violent behavior, anxiety
attacks, hyperactivity, gastro intestinal disorders, seizures, skin lesions,
muscle cramps, joint pain, fatigue, PMS, menstrual irregularities, chest pain,
arrhythmia, edema and INCREASED appetite. Death is also listed as a symptom.
Marys website continues, Aspartame may trigger or mimic the following
illnesses: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Epstein-Barr, Post-Polio Syndrome, Lyme
Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, ALS Disease, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, EMS,
Hypothyroidism, mercury sensitivity from amalgam fillings, Fibromyalgia, Graves,
Lupus, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and ADD.
With the variety of symptoms and conditions Aspartame can trigger, Mary says
it is essential for doctors to remove if from patients diets before conducting
neurological tests. She says they should take all of their patients off
of this substance and then do their MRIs, their CAT scans, their PET scans and
diagnostic testing full speed ahead, but dont do that until the patient
is taken off of Aspartame.
BRAIN TUMOR REGISTRY
After looking at lab animal studies, The Aspartame Consumer Safety Network created
a brain tumor registry. Lab animals fed Aspartame had brain tumors, mammary
tumors, which translates into breast cancer in humans, they had uterine tumors
and they had pancreatic cancer tumors. So the brain tumor registry is very interesting,
she says. We have discovered a 10% rise in the advent of the very kinds
of brain tumors that occurred in the lab animals and those are Astrocytomas
and Glioblastomas [glio cell cancers]. These have become almost epidemic in
the population. If you go on the Internet and get into any brain tumor news
group, youll find that almost everybody there started with Astrocytomas
and these people have been using the diet sodas and the powdered sweetener,
Equal.... Maybe that got them [started] into what they have developed.
READ THE LABELS
Aspartame is included in 5,000 products across 60 countries, so avoiding it
is increasingly difficult. Become a careful label reader, advises Mary. Even
labels of over the counter medications and prescription meds, which it is in....
The Deadly Deception contains a list of some of the childrens prescription
medications its in, like their pain medications that theyre given
for fevers, and their antibiotics that theyre given for infections, ear
infections and such, its in those. You have got to either ask your pharmacist
or see it on the label. Please, reject anything that has the word Aspartame
[or] Phenylalanine on it. Sometimes it is listed as Phenylalanine.
Diabetics are some of the most insidiously affected people, Mary
warned, because they are not being told that Aspartame will harm them.
Theyre being told that its their lifeline [when] just the opposite
is true. She suggests diabetics test themselves by drinking two
or three, preferably warm [room temperature], diet drinks and then begin testing
about an hour later. Youll find [that] the blood sugar levels are not
in control with Aspartame.
There are many alternatives for diabetics, however. Raw unrefined honey, tubinado
sugar, which is an unrefined sugar, Stevia, a sweet, dietary supplement, and
rice syrup, a grain sweetener that does not metabolize like a raw sugar. These
and many others can be found in the health food stores in most areas.
WHERE IS THE HEALTH
Zoh reports the trouble had by medical researcher, Dr. Roberts, M.D., in publishing
his brief study called Aspartame Associated Confusion and Memory Loss:
A Possible Human Model For Early Alzheimers Disease. None of the
standard medical peer reviewed journals would publish it. This was peculiar,
he thought, considering the increasing magnitude of Alzheimers Disease
and the relevance of my observations to newer biochemical findings and avenues
of research. He can personally vouch for the enormous difficulty
in getting published [any] articles concerning reaction to Aspartame products....
The options are generally limited to burying the findings in a small circulation
journal such as the bulletin of a county medical society, reporting the results
as a letter to the editor or, unfortunately, discarding the project.
Unfortunately, the peer reviewed journals are not always about the latest findings
in research. More often than not, the articles and research are slanted to benefit
the companies who underwrite the studies. The articles that appear in the journals
are censored by those who sit on the peer review panels, often the same people
who sit on the boards of major chemical and drug manufacturing companies--the
real control of health care in this country. This monopoly over research and
publishing may in part explain why foundations such as the Epilepsy Institute
and the diabetic organizations endorse a product that is really injurious to
the consumer. Its funding, says Mary Nash Stoddard succinctly.
The Diabetic Association is funded by all the diet soft drink and sweetener
companies. She has a photo showing an oversize check for $75,000 presented
to the American Dietetic Association from the NutraSweet Co. The American
Dietetic Association is the board that oversees all registered dietitians and
the food served in institutions, hospitals and care facilities. These
are licensed professionals and they have prostituted themselves to the artificial
sweetener companies.... They have allowed, because of this funding, the NutraSweet
PR people to write their facts in their fact sheet on artificial sweeteners
-- on their own product! They are definitely in bed together. You cant
get around that. The Epilepsy Association, the Diabetic Association, the Dietetic
Association and many, many other [health organizations] are beholden to the
Virtually all of the research that has been done since the 80s has been
tainted by Monsanto and NutraSweet funding of the studies, continued
If you go into the political scenario behind it, which we do in our report
called The Deadly Deception, you will see all of the intrigue up to the Supreme
Court with the former Monsanto Chemical [attorney] now seated on the Supreme
Court, Judge Clarence Thomas.... Its definitely a horrible web of political
and scientific intrigue.
PILOTS AT RISK
Mary says she met an F16 pilot in Washington, DC who asked her to continue her
public fight against Aspartame because it poses a serious risk for pilots. She
says he reported Were having seizures. Were losing our medical
certification to fly. This is a danger that the flying public needs to know
about... and theyre not being told. You know, the FAA will talk about
just about anything except the danger to the flying public associated with the
pilot using Aspartame or the controller in the tower using it and getting blurred
vision at the wrong time. This has caused many accidents, I believe, in aviation.
In our Deadly Deception we have a whole section, reprints from flying magazines,
including The U.S. Air Force Flying Safety Magazine which warned its pilots,
two different times in 1992, to stay away from diet drinks and Aspartame if
you want to keep your medical certification to fly. If you dont get seizures
from it, you may have heart attack problems and youll lose your medical,
youll lose your job and all that training and all that money for your
license is down the drain. Believe me, pilots do not want to lose that.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
One of the top priority poisons in our food supply today, and that of
our children, Mary maintains, is Aspartame. Beyond a doubt, it has
the potential of being the deadliest neurotoxin known to man. She advises
the first thing we do is to eliminate this poison from your diet. Dont
buy any product that has the word Aspartame, NutraSweet or Equal
listed in the ingredients. Also keep an eye open for a new product coming out
called Joe Sweet which is a combination of sugar and Aspartame.
Mary also urges us to return the products with these ingredients that we already
have in our homes to the store, even if they are already opened. That way the
manufacturer, not the grocer, will absorb the cost. The manufacturer needs to
know that a growing number of concerned consumers will not buy anything with
this poison in it.
You can join The Aspartame Consumer Safety Network and order The Deadly Deception
for a $25.00 membership fee. This 200 page fact report by Mary Nash Stoddard
is an excellent resource for information. Call 1-800-969-6050 or write to ACSN,
P.O. Box 780634, Dallas, Texas 75378. Visit them on the web at http://web2.airmail.net/marystod/index.html.
This article was prepared by Sally OHara.