Aspartame withdrawal and side effects explained - Here's how to protect
Friday, March 02, 2012 by: Aurora Geib
(NaturalNews) If you have been drinking diet soda and chewing gum, chances
are you have been enjoying aspartame in generous quantities. Aspartame is a
popular sugar substitute that can be found in diet soda drinks, chewing gum,
fruit spreads and sugar-free products to name a few. It is also known by the
brand names, Sweet One, NutraSweet and Spoonful. Despite its popularity in the
market, what many do not know is that aspartame accounts for 75 percent of side
effect complaints received by the Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS) of
the US Food and Drug Administration.
Can aspartame be addictive?
Yes, according to Dr. Betty Martini, popular anti-aspartame advocate. She
explains that it is an "addictive, exitoneurotic, carcinogenic, genetically
engineered drug and adjuvant that damages the mitochondria." Moreover, Dr. Janet
Hall, another famous advocate against aspartame, shares on her website that all
artificial sweeteners create an artificial need for more sweetness. She goes on
to add that forced sweetness, being a class of altered food, is a trap that
cause people to become addicted to sweeter tasting food with no nutritional
Recent studies have shown that aspartame is addictive because it affects the
absorption of dopamine in the brain.
Side Effects of Aspartame
Aspartame is made up of 3 components: phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol.
Understanding the effects of aspartame will require us to look into its genetic
In its website, manufacturers of aspartame continue to assure the public that
low-calorie sweeteners are effective for weight reduction, weight maintenance,
reduction of tooth decay, management of diabetes and reduction of risks
associated with obesity. They claim that consumers of low-calorie, sugar-free
beverages were able to incorporate these products into a healthy lifestyle not
because they need to manage their weight (since a majority of people use
low-calorie foods and beverages for reasons other than dieting) but because use
of low-calorie products is part of a healthy lifestyle.
Despite the benefits cited in the aspartame website, independent studies have
been shown that aspartame is not as safe as it appears to be. In a recent study
conducted by researchers from the University Of Miami Miller School Of
Medicine and at Columbia University Medical Center, it was discovered
that those who drank diet soft drinks on a daily basis were more likely to
contract vascular diseases compared to those who took none.
Supporters of aspartame insist that aspartic acid and phenylalanine are found in
many foods. What they have conveniently left out, however, is that the said
neurotoxins are harmless only when consumed with other nutrients like fats,
amino acids (protein) and carbohydrates. On their own, they are absorbed by the
nervous system in large concentrations causing the stimulation of brain neurons
and cell death. Symptoms of the conditions include headaches, confusion, balance
problems and seizures.
Methanol, on the other hand, is also a highly toxic substance. It is released in
the small intestine gradually with the assistance of chymotrypsin and then
broken down into formaldehyde: a chemical used for embalming which is a
carcinogen that causes birth defects, retinal damage and DNA replication.
Again, supporters of aspartame insist that methanol is safe because it is found
in vegetables and fruit juices. What they neglect to mention, however, is that
methanol in vegetables and fruit juices is bound with pectin and the body does
not possess the digestive enzyme to break down pectin and release ethanol into
the body. Furthermore, ethanol, the methanol toxicity antidote, is found in
natural sources of methanol, inhibiting the metabolism of methanol and giving
the body sufficient time, through the lungs and kidneys, to clear it. Methanol
found in aspartame is easily absorbed because it is in a free form.
Aspartic acid, methanol and phenylalanine and their breakdown in the body are
cumulative because of their fast absorption and slow excretion.
In 1984, studies conducted revealed that the toxicity of NutraSweet (aspartame)
to living organisms. The State of Arizona arrived at findings which showed that
aspartame in carbonated drinks can break down into free methanol in temperatures
of 99 degrees Fahrenheit. On May 13, 1998, the University of Barcelona
also arrived at results revealing that aspartame was transformed into
formaldehyde in the bodies of living creatures, and on later examination
formaldehyde had spread through the vital parts of the body.
"Artificial sweetener disease"
The US Food and Drug Administration has received reports of 92 medical
health problems resulting from aspartame, ranging from abdominal pain to
migraines, dizziness and hives. Aspartame poisoning is often misdiagnosed
because its symptoms mock other syndromes. It changes the ratio of amino acids
in the blood, lowering or blocking levels of hormones like dopamine and tyrosine
that are necessary for bodily function.
Since aspartame cannot be detected through lab tests and x-rays, these diseases
and disorders may actually be a toxic load. Below are some specific health
conditions that are associated with aspartame you might want to recall next time
you open a can of diet soda:
1. Cancer - The Ramazzine Foundation, a European Cancer Research
Center, conducted a study on aspartame which revealed that aspartame increases
the risk of cancers (lymphoma, leukemia and breast cancers). Despite the
National Cancer Institute's stand that no such connection was ever firmly
established between aspartame and cancer, it might well be worth thinking that
what is harmful to rats is also harmful to humans. Moreover, the dismissive
stand of regulatory bodies concerning aspartame is merely based on the absence
of data that can conclusively support such a connection and NOT on a finding
that establishes that aspartame does not cause cancer.
2. Mental disorders and degeneration of brain cells - Excessive ingestion
of artificial sweeteners, according to researchers from the University of
Praetoria and the University of Limpopo, may lead to various mental
disorders and the degeneration of the brain. Publishing in the European
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers noted that aspartame appeared to
cause excessive signals, damage and even death to nerve cells. Since aspartame
disrupts the functioning of the cell's energy source, it will lead to a cascade
of effects on the whole system.
3. Headaches - As early as 1994, a study conducted published on
PubMed.gov showed that ingestion of aspartame was associated with headaches.
Subjects in the study revealed that they experienced headaches 33 percent of the
time when taking aspartame compared to 24 percent when on placebo treatment.
Moreover, Dr. Robert Milne and Blake More in their book "Headaches" report that
headaches are the most reported side effect given by those who take products
containing aspartame. They add that in a University of Parkinson's at
Florida study, it was found out that the incidences of migraines doubled for a
majority of test subjects who took aspartame. Their headaches lasted longer and
were marked by significant signs of shakiness and diminished vision.
4. Weight gain and increased blood sugar - Aspartame is not a healthy
alternative for diabetics or those wanting to lose weight. Contrary to popular
belief, a recent study has shown that regular consumption of diet soft drinks is
strongly connected with abdominal obesity and that aspartame can increase blood
sugar. Researchers from the University of Texas Health Center San Antonio
reported in a study that, as a group, 70 percent of those who drank diet soft
drinks gained weight as opposed to those who did not. Moreover, those who drank
2 or more diet sodas regularly experienced an increase in their waist
circumference by 500 percent more than those who did not drink them.
In another related study that analyzed a possible relationship between intake of
aspartame and fasting glucose and insulin levels among 40 diabetes-prone mice,
one of the researchers in the study, Dr. Gabriel Fernandes, revealed that heavy
aspartame exposure might potentially contribute to the associations noticed
between soda consumption and the risk of diabetes in humans.
The above health conditions are just some of the 92 reported medical health
problems reportedly associated with aspartame. Despite the stand of aspartame
manufacturers that their product has been declared safe for human consumption,
it is still strange that there are still reports from sectors who do not stand
to benefit from such declarations that aspartame is not safe. Prudence would
dictate that avoiding a product may be better in the long run than to discover
firsthand that all that was said about it was true. Why? Because you happen to
be living proof of it.
How to protect yourself
To keep yourself safe from contracting "artificial sweetener syndrome," it is
suggested that you stop taking all products containing this chemical.
If you have brought or stocked up on products containing aspartame, you can
arrange to return the products so you can get a refund of your money. If you
feel that you may need professional help in getting over the disease, please see
your doctor as soon as possible. Take a proactive approach to being healthy.
Finally, for those taking aspartame simply because they want to observe a
healthy diet, replace your aspartame habit with real sugar. Although it may have
more calories, it offers a far better solution than being poisoned. Those who
want to manage their weight problems are advised to seek a healthier course of
action like eating more whole foods, vegetables and fruits and getting regular
exercise. True and sustainable weight loss cannot be achieved through a quick
fix without a change in lifestyle. Set a personal example to be healthy and
watch yourself regain your life.
Sources for this article