Asparatame Toxicity


Asparatame Toxicity NutraSweet

Aspartame Toxicity

My Sister's Story

Links Organizations Books

"Completely stop ingesting aspartame. Even a small amount is a slow poison. Check the labels carefully for the word "aspartame." Please be aware that aspartame can be hidden in gum, candy, over-the-counter medications (under "inactive ingredients"), prescription medications (check with the pharmacist), sugar-containing foods, soups, supplements, and many other items. So, please read the label."
- Quoted from 5 Simple Steps For Helping Yourself and Others Avoid Chronic Aspartame Poisoning

Avoiding Hidden Aspartame & Artificial Sweeteners
Aspartame can be found on the ingredients list in the following products:

Soft drinks, over-the-counter drugs & prescription drugs (very common and listed under "inactive ingredients"), vitamin & herb supplements, yogurt, instant breakfasts, candy, breath mints, cereals, sugar-free chewing gum, cocoa mixes, coffee beverages, instant breakfasts, gelatin desserts, frozen desserts, juice beverages, laxatives, milk drinks, shake mixes, tabletop sweeteners, tea beverages, instant teas and coffees, topping mixes, wine coolers, etc.

Source: Healthier Sweetener Resources

My Sister's Story

My sister has had increasing health problems over the past 16 years and has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, ADHD, Fibromyalgia, Bi-Polar Disorder and more, and once again her doctors are looking at the possibility of Multiple Sclerosis. She is 33 years old, is on Social Security Disability, and now has to use a wheel chair to get around most of the time.

She has numbness in her hands and feet, weakness all the time, severe weakness much of the time, intense muscle spasms and pain. She has difficulty sleeping, and has intense anxiety.

She takes numerous medications, many in large doses, just to be able to function at even a minimal level.

When I recently found out about the dangers of ingesting aspartame, and how similar the symptoms of toxicity are to my sister's condition, I knew I needed to spread the word. The similarity may just be a coincidence - there are certainly other factors, such as diet and stress, which could cause or exacerbate her illnesses. The migraine headaches began before aspartame was on the market, so certainly it wasn't the cause for those, at least back then.

What makes me suspicious is the striking similarity of her symptoms to those reported by people who improved remarkably after removing aspartame from their diets, the fact that she drinks so much Diet Coke and has for many years, that frequently her doctors have difficulty finding the causes of her symptoms and in reaching diagnoses, and her rapidly deteriorating condition.

Read and decide for yourself, and pass this information along to everyone you know who consumes aspartame.

Now (1/12/99) that my sister knows what aspartame can allegedly do, she is getting off it. We will see what happens with her health. (This page will be updated.) From what I have been reading, you must entirely eliminate aspartame from all sources, even hidden sources such as prescription drugs (see notes near the top of this page). Accounts of people who have quit aspartame report that it takes about 3 months before health begins to return.

Below is an account of her years of diagnoses with various diseases and disorders, along with the appalling amount of medication she has been prescribed.

This is followed by information and links relating to Aspartame toxicity and a section of resources, including books.

Aspartame was approved for

  • use in dry foods in 1981
  • use in carbonated beverages in 1983
  • bulk sales in 1992

My sister is a Coke Addict. Diet Coke, that is. She started drinking it almost exclusively in 1982, at age 17. She rarely drank water, sometimes she drank strong coffee. After completing bartending training, she would only take a job in a restaurant or bar if they gave her unlimited Diet Coke. ("I have to have the fizzy stuff!," she says.) She drinks Diet Coke - at least 3 liters Diet Coke per day - and has for the past 10 years. (She used to drink even more of it!)

Prior to becoming too disabled to work, she was able to care for herself and her son, and hold a normal job. Since childhood she has been a high-energy person. Childhood illnesses never held her down. She has a high tolerance for pain. She never complains about her pain or health problems, and when she does, you know it's really serious.

She has had increasing problems with numbness and pain in her hands and feet, serious bouts of depression, absence seizures, fibromyalgia, and Chronic Fatigue and Attention Deficit Disorder. She has been unable to work for several years and was granted Social Security Disability status.

Onset of my sister's symptoms and diagnosed conditions:

1 - Migraine headaches began in 1975 at age 10 (prior to the introduction of aspartame)
Rx: Tylenol #3, sometimes Percocet

2 - Fibromyalgia began in 1984 (age 19)
Rx: Fironal (barbiturate, narcotic) and Robaxin for 1 and a half years for pain (still on Robaxin (Methocarbomol) for muscle relaxant) very effective as muscle relaxant - only thing that helps. Robaxin: 500mg 3x day on and off since then.

3 - Mitral & Tricuspid Valve Prolapse diagnosed 1984 (possibly congenital)
Rx: none then, has been taking Atenolol 50 mg for angina for 1 year

4 - Severe Recurring Major Depression began in early March, 1992
Rx: Prozac 20 then 40 then 60 mg daily for the past 7 years. Helps with depression (better than Welbutrin (Bupropion HCL) a.k.a. Zyban, Buspar)

5 - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder began late March, 1992
Rx: tranquilizers: Buspar - didn't help, Klonopin (clonazetam diazipam) equivalent to 40 mg Valium, or Valium 40 mg for better part of 7 years; recently added 25 mg 3x daily of Chlorpromazine, the generic form of Thorazine. In 1993 one of her doctors started her on Ritalin, and that same year she nearly died from a toxic reaction to the combination of Clonipin, Melaril and Elavil after taking them together for about 3 weeks. She was suicidal 1 week after she started on Melaril again (her doctor insisted on prescribing it for her although she advised him of her prior reaction four months earlier, when she nearly died. That year they also tried Lithium - but she didn't like the way it made her feel. Around the same time she was diagnosed as having a Caffeine Addiction.

6 - Bi-Polar Disorder 1995 - no prescriptions added.

7 - Epilepsy was diagnosed in late 1995.
Rx: various medications, takes Gabatril now: 8mg 3x day for Absence Seizures; recently started passing out suddenly while sitting, even driving.

8 - Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome (FMS/MPS) July, 1998
Rx: Delaudid 4 mg every 4 hours around the clock (took off and on for 2 months interspersed with Mentadone as methadone made her sick at first) for severe pain of Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome (FMS/MPS) This causes bone and joint pain. The myofascia tissue swells and attacks itself. Her bones and joints feel like they have glass in them, like someone is cutting from the inside out, especially in her ankles; occurs frequently; she wakes up screaming from the pain about twice a week. She has also been prescribed Metadone, but it is not helping as much any more.

9 - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Rx: Ritalin 20 mg day, which was increased to 30, then 40 mg.

Prescription medications she was taking all at the same time:

Halcion .25 mg at bedtime to sleep.
Prilosec 40 mg daily for ulcers (3 small, very deep ulcers, not caused by bacteria)
Prozac 60 mg daily for the past 7 years
Imitrex injections for migraine headaches - only thing that works
Methadone 20 mg 4x day prescribed about 6 months ago for pain
Lortab 7.5 or occasionally Percocet for pain
Robaxin (Methocarbomol) 500 mg 3x day for muscle relaxant - only thing that helps
Atenolol 50 mg for past year for Angina
Gabitril 8 mg 3x day for past year for Absence Seizures
Ritalin takes total 40 mg day for Chronic Fatigue and Attention Deficit Disorder
Claritin 1 tab 2x day for allergy

She has used a cane since about June 1997, sometimes 2 canes. She has been using a wheelchair since June, 1998.

Currently she eats mostly dried fruit, bagels, crackers, nuts, bananas, cheese, and of course the 3 liters+ per day of Diet Coke, which she is now trying to eliminate. She cannot stay up long enough to cook (even to microwave Hot Pockets, which were the mainstay of her diet since becoming too ill to cook) and must spend most of her day semi-reclined. If she overdoes it (which takes very little!) she pays for it with several days of excruciating pain.

She feels like she will not live more than one year.

Update: September, 2002
Unfortunately my sister has been unsuccessful in her efforts to eliminate Asparateme from her diet. She's as much a consumer as ever. Though her condition is still declining, her psychological state has improved. She is happily married and has a baby daughter, who was born in excellent health, is adorable, and is very bright and responsive. My sister has been taking morphine for the pain since about a year before conception. Her obstetrician did not want her to get off it because the extent of her pain would risk miscarriage. He told her the baby would have to be detoxed after birth. Well, the baby was born healthy, a good weight, and needed no detoxing (although she was a little trembly the first day or two.) I'm very proud of my sister for her bravery and tenacity. Her current diagnosis is Parkinson's Disease.

Final Update, November 2004
After many years' battle with intense pain and illness, my sister died November 1st at the age of 39. Her last medical diagnoses were Parkinson's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. In spite of her incredible strength and will to carry on, she was never able to wean herself from her Diet Coke addiction, thus we never knew if this information might have helped alleviate her pain. We are very sad about losing her, and for the difficulty of her life. We are happy that she is free from her pain and at peace. Her light will shine forever in our hearts.

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"Aspartame is, by far, the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to foods. Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death as recently disclosed in a February 1994 Department of Health and Human Services report.[1] A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include:

Weight gain
Hearing Loss
Breathing difficulties
Slurred Speech
  Memory loss
Muscle spasms
Vision Problems
Heart palpitations
Anxiety attacks
Loss of taste
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
Parkinson's Disease
Mental retardation
Birth defects
  Chronic faigue syndrome

The book, Prescription for Nutritional Healing by James and Phyllis Balch lists aspartame under the category of 'Chemical Poison.' Aspartame is made up of three chemicals, aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol.

How to Report Adverse Reactions & Medical Product Problems to the FDA

Preapproval "Research" & History of Aspartame


"1983 Acting FDA Commissioner, Mark Novitch approved aspartame for use in carbonated beverages and carbonated beverage syrup bases (Federal Register 1983). FDA Commissioner, Arthur Hull Hayes was out of town the day that the approval was signed, but he worked closely with Mark Novitch on this issue (Gordon 1987, page 499 of US Senate 1987). Ignoring the FDA's own safety standards, they more than doubled the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of aspartame from 20 mg/kg to 50 mg/kg (Metzenbaum 1985)."

"Shortly after the FDA approval for aspartame in carbonated beverages, FDA Commissioner, Arthur Hull Hayes left the FDA under charges of improprieties, took a a position as the Dean of New York Medical Collage and was hired as an a consultant ($1,000 per day) with G.D. Searle's public relations firm, Burston Marsteller (Gordon 1987, page 499 of US Senate 1987)."

...6,900,000 pounds of aspartame were consumed in the U.S. in 1984 (USDA 1988).
...14,400,000 pounds of aspartame were consumed in the U.S. in 1985 (USDA 1988).
...15,700,000 pounds of aspartame were consumed in the U.S. in 1986 (USDA 1988).

"1992 NutraSweet signed agreements with the Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. "stipulating The NutraSweet Company as their preferred supplier of aspartame (Monsanto 1992)."

"NutraSweet stated that one of their options for increases [sic] sales in the carbonated soft drink market is to prepare "higher-concentration formulations that use more aspartame" (Monsanto 1992)."

"As detailed by investigative journalist Gregory Gordon (Gordon 1996):

'Between the early 1980s and 1994, scientists at the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) proposed at least four times that the government's leading program for toxicology research fund such studies.

The government scientists said they wanted the National Toxicology Program to conduct animal studies to resolve questions about the sweetener's cancer risks.

After each of these "nominations", NIEHS officials elected not to pursue the research at the urging of FDA officials, who said they were satisfied with industry-sponsored research that found no health risks.'"

The FDA's stance:

(from their page

Q. Does the low calorie sweetener aspartame carry adverse reactions?

A. There is no scientific evidence that aspartame causes adverse reactions in people. All consumer complaints related to the sweetener have been investigated as thoroughly as possible by federal authorities for more than five years, in part under FDA's Adverse Reaction Monitoring System. In addition, scientific studies conducted during aspartame's pre-approval phase failed to show that it causes any adverse reactions in adults or children. Individuals who have concerns about possible adverse reactions to aspartame or other substances should contact their physicians.

This was just after stating that a "small segment of the population...has been found to develop hives, nausea, diarrhea, shortness of breath or even fatal shock after consuming sulfites" and "FD&C Yellow No.5, or tartrazine...may cause hives in fewer than one out of 10,000 people." Apparently they consider aspartame to be safer than even the yellow dye!

Note: this section refers to a page/website that is no longer available.

(Yet a search of adverse reports indicated:
"In your search of the October 20, 1998 SN/AEMS Web Report there were 1 matches for Yellow No. 5"
"Sorry, there were no matches found for tartrazine" (the chemical name for FD&C Yellow No.5)
"In your search of the October 20, 1998 SN/AEMS Web Report there were 13 matches for aspartame in 11 AERs.")

Note that further down the same page ( I found the following:

"Q. What are some other food additives that may be used in the future?

A. Among other petitions, FDA is carefully evaluating ...a food additive petition for olestra, which would partially replace the fat in oils and shortenings."

Formaldehyde Poisoning from Aspartame

"In 1997 there was an increase in aspartame users reporting severe toxicity reactions and damage such as seizures, eye damage and vision loss, confusion, severe migraines, tremors, depression, anxiety attacks, insomnia, etc. In the same years, Ralph Walton, MD, Chairman, The Center for Behavioral Medicine showed that the only studies which didn't find problems with aspartame where those funded by the manufacturer (Monsanto)."

Aspartame Consumer Safety Network

Short excerpt about the effects of Aspartame

Includes lists of symptoms, lists of symptoms reported to the FDA's Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS), a listing of the adverse health effects study which appeared in a survey reported in the Journal of Applied Nutrition, and more, including the following exerpt:

"The danger to pilots of tunnel vision, blurred vision, seizures, vertigo and other serious adverse reactions, who may ingest large amounts of aspartame products during flight, are so great that articles and letters warning about aspartame have appeared in many aviation-related journals including The Aviation Consumer (1988), Aviation Medical Bulliten (1988), Pacific Flyer (1988), CAA General Aviation (1989), Aviation Safety Digest (1989), General Aviation News (1989), Plane & Pilot (1990), Canadian General Aviation News (1990), National Business Aircraft Association Digest (NBAA Digest 1993), International Council of Air Shows (ICAS 1995), Pacific Flyer (1995) and a paper warning about aspartame was presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the Aerospace Medical Association (Gaffney 1986)."

Radio Interview Transcript
1997 interview with Mary Nash Stoddard, Founder of ACSN
She is the author of the book Deadly Deception: Story of Aspartame.


"ERNIE: Why is Aspartame bad? What does it do? What are the qualities of it ... the compounds?

MARY: Okay. First of all, it's a synthetic compound. It's two amino acids: Phenylalanine 50% which lowers the seizure threshold in some individuals, and the head of Brain Science at MIT said that it causes seizures and can cause brain tumors. Aspartic Acid is 40% of the molecule and according to Dr. John Olney, the world expert on Aspartic Acid, who just held the News Conference in Washington, November the 18th, in connection with Aspartame and brain tumors, said that it caused lesions in the brains of lab animals. What's more, it changed the DNA ... which means that it will affect future generations. It skipped a generation and went on to the third generation in the lab animal experiments ... producing morbidly obese and sexually dysfunctional lab animals.

MARY: ...saccharin...has been around for a hundred years and no deaths reported ... only six complaints about saccharin had been reported to the FDA as of a couple of years ago, versus thousands and tens of thousands of complaints reported to the FDA about Aspartame. In fact, it's the most complained about additive in history. Aspartame has the most complaints on record. And, yet, the FDA refuses to do anything... *

MARY: I have established a pilot's hotline in regard to this because an F-16 pilot asked me to do so when we were both in Washington testifying at the Senate Hearings. Working with pilots is an amazing thing. They lose their jobs. They lose, in some cases: their marriages, their homes, their families ... everything. And, in some cases ... their lives. I just finished filming a 60 Minutes segment for Australian TV for their 60 Minutes show. In it I had a pilot who was interviewed because he had a grand mal seizure in the cockpit in flight on a commuter airline in Alaska. This made national headlines about three years ago. Since he stopped using the artificially sweetened, ah, I think he was using Equal in his coffee and some drinks as well, he's been seizure-free. And, so he's been interviewed by the TV crew because it's such an astonishing story. Dozens of pilots have lost their medical certification to fly and one FAA Medical Examiner said, 'The FDA has its foot caught in a bucket, and it can't get it out.' And, so they don't know what to do. So, we're going to try to help them."

*According to the FDA's web page the "FDA operates an Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS) to help serve as an ongoing safety check of all activities. The system monitors and investigates all complaints by individuals or their physicians that are believed to be related to food and color additives; specific foods; or vitamin and mineral supplements. The ARMS computerized database helps officials decide whether reported adverse reactions represent a real public health hazard, so that appropriate action can be taken." - quoted from

Articles on Nutrasweet(tm) from Usenet

Information and Postings, a November, 1995 interview with Mary Nash Stoddard, "Consumer Information On Aspartame."

Exerpt from interview:

"Q: What's in this stuff?

A: Among other things, it's about 10% methanol (wood alcohol,) famous for causing blindness in alcoholics. In the body, methanol metabolizes into formaldehyde, a neurotoxin; formic acid, a venom in ant stings; and diketopiperazine, which causes brain tumors in animals. It's so bad that in July of 1983, the National Soft Drink Association presented official objections to putting aspartame in beverages. I'll read you one of their objections: "It is well established under Section 402(a)(3) that a food which contains a decomposed subject to seizure by FDA." It's thoroughly established that after a number of weeks and at temperatures over 85 degrees F, there's no aspartame left in a soft drink, only breakdown products. So, why isn't FDA seizing it under Section 402 (a)(3)?"

Mary Nash Stoddard is the author of the book Deadly Deception: Story of Aspartame.

Aspartame Is Dangerous For Everyone

"Long-Term Damage
It appears to cause slow, silent damage in those unfortunate enough to not have immediate reactions and a reason to avoid it. It may take one year, five years, 10 years, or 40 years, but it seems to cause some reversible and some irreversible changes in health over long-term use."

5 Simple Steps For Helping Yourself and Others Avoid Chronic Aspartame Poisoning

"Stevia is a good low-calorie replacement for diabetics and the general population. I prefer the taste of the Sunrider brand, but other brands are good. Some extracts are more suitable for cooking than other extracts. Purchase the new book about stevia by Linda Bonvie from Body Ecology Diet for more information."

Other links you may be interested in:

Neotame Toxicity Information Center

Neotame is a new sweetener by Monsanto

Sucralose Toxicity Information Center
Sucralose is a chlorinated sucrose derivative

The Official Mad Cow Disease Home Page

Animal Rights Resource Site

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Aspartame Consumer Safety Network
P.O. Box 780634
Dallas, Texas 75378

Aspartame Toxicity Information Center
If your your health has improved after removing aspartame from your diet, forward your aspartame toxicity reaction to:
Mark Gold
Aspartame Toxicity Information Center
35 Inman St.
Cambridge, MA 02139

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Asparatame: Nutrasweet Is it Safe?)Asparatame (Nutrasweet) Is it Safe?
by H. J. Roberts

Aspartame Disease: An Ignored EpidemicAspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic
by H. J. Roberts

Deadly Deception: Story of Aspartame: Shocking Expose of the World's Most Controversial Sweetener
by Mary Nash Stoddard
(Recommended by pediatritian Lendon Smith, M.D.)

Excitotoxins: The Taste That KillsExcitotoxins: The Taste That Kills
by Russell L. Blaylock

Sweet Poison: How the World's Most Popular Artificial Sweetener Is Killing UsSweet Poison: How the World's Most Popular Artificial Sweetener Is Killing Us
by Janet Starr Hull

Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function: Proceedings of the First International Meetings on Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function
by Richard J. Wurtman

Sweet Talk: Media Coverage of Artificial Sweeteners (Media in Society Series)
by Philip F. Lawler

The Clinical Evaluation of a Food Additive: Assessment of Aspartame
by Christian Tschanz (Editor), Harriett H. Butchko (Editor), W. wayn Stargel

by Lewis D. and Filer, L.J., Jr. Stegink (Editor)

Toxic Sludge Is Good for You!: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations IndustryToxic Sludge Is Good for You!: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry
by John C. Stauber, Sheldon Rampton (Contributor)

Prescription for Nutritional Healing: A Practical A-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements
by James F. Balch, Phyllis A. Balch

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Related Reading:

In Bad Taste: The MSG Syndrome
by George R. Schwartz, M.D

Mercury-Free: The Wisdom Behind the Global Consumer Movement to Ban 'Silver' Dental Fillings
by James E. Hardy

It's All in Your Head: The Link Between Mercury Amalgams and Illness
by Hal Huggins, DDS

Fluoride: The Aging Factor
by John Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D.

The Food That Would Last Forever: Understanding the Dangers of Food Irradiation
by Dr. Gary Gibbs

A Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives
by Ruth Winter, M.S.

Don't Drink Your Milk!: New Frightening Medical Facts About the World's Most Overrated Nutrient
by Frank A. Oski
Professor of Pediatric, John Hopkins School of Medicine

Milk: The Deadly Poison
by Robert Cohen, Jane Heimlich, Brian Vigorita

Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat
by Howard F. Lyman, Glen Merzer (Contributor)

Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry
by Gail A. Eisnitz

Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating
by Erik Marcus

Dead Meat
by Sue Coe

150 Vegan Favorites: Fresh, Easy and Incredibly Delicious Recipes You Can Enjoy Every Day
by Jay Solomon

The Stevia Story: A Tale of Incredible Sweetness & Intrigue
by Linda Bonvie, Bill Bonvie, Donna Gates, Donna Gates
(Stevia is a natural herbal sweetener.)

Health and Light: The Effects of Natural and Artificial Light on Man and Other Living Things
by John N. Ott

Light, Radiation, and You How to Stay Healthy
by John N. Ott

Light Years Ahead: The Illustrated Guide to Full Spectrum and Colored Light in Mindbody Healing
by Brian J. Breiling (Editor), Bethany Argisle (Editor)

Light: Medicine of the Future
by Jacob Liberman

Take Off Your Glasses and See: A Mind/Body Approach to Expanding Your Eyesight and Insight
by Jacob Liberman

The Power Behind Your Eyes: Improving Your Eyesight With Integrated Vision Therapy
by Robert-Michael Kaplan

The Bates Method for Better Eyesight Without Glasses
by William Horatio Bates

Improve Your Vision Without Glasses or Contact Lenses: A New Program of Therapeutic Eye Exercises
by Steven M. Beresford (Editor), David W. Muris, Merrill J. Allen (Contributor), Francis Young (Contributor)

Seeing Without Glasses: Improving Your Vision Naturally
by Robert Michael Kaplan

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