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Aspartame, Brain Cancer and the FDA

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Millions of people are eating and drinking aspartame and have been doing so for several decades now. If you are one of these millions consuming some of the 6,000 products that contain aspartame, or know someone who is, please keep reading as the information that follows is crucial to your health.

There have been more reports to the FDA for aspartame reactions than for all other food additives combined. This amounts to over 10,000 complaints, but by the FDA’s own admission, less than 1 percent of those who experience a reaction to a product ever report it. This means that the 10,000 documented accounts probably mean that there are roughly a million people who have experienced reactions to aspartame.

While a variety of symptoms have been reported, almost two-thirds of them fall into the neurological and behavioral category consisting mostly of headaches, mood alterations, and hallucinations. The remaining third is mostly gastrointestinal symptoms.

Aspartame and Your Brain: What Did Early, and Present Day, Tests Reveal?

From the very beginning, the risks of this toxic artificial sweetener were presenting themselves loud and clear (it’s just too bad the policymakers chose to ignore them).

In a two-year study conducted by the manufacturer of aspartame, twelve of 320 rats fed a normal diet and aspartame developed brain tumors while none of the control rats developed tumors, and five of the twelve tumors were in rats given a low dose of aspartame.

Other studies have shown that aspartic acid, one of the main ingredients in aspartame, causes damage to the brains of infant mice.

In 1981, an FDA statistician stated that the brain tumor data on aspartame was so "worrisome" that he could not recommend approval of NutraSweet.

And a late FDA toxicologist testified before the U.S. Congress that aspartame was capable of producing brain tumors. He stated in his testimony that G.D Searle's (the maker of aspartame) studies were "to a large extent unreliable" and that "at least one of those studies has established beyond any reasonable doubt that aspartame is capable of inducing brain tumors in experimental animals ... "

Moving forward to present day, a review conducted in 2008 by scientists from the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo found that consuming a lot of aspartame may inhibit the ability of enzymes in your brain to function normally, and may lead to neurodegeneration.

According to the researchers, consuming a lot of aspartame can disturb:

" The metabolism of amino acids
" Protein structure and metabolism
" The integrity of nucleic acids
" Neuronal function
" Endocrine balances

Further, the breakdown of aspartame causes nerves to fire excessively, which can indirectly lead to a high rate of neuron depolarisation.

How, then, did this clearly harmful chemical make it to the market?

Fraud, plain and simple.

The evidence that showed aspartame was harmful was ignored or falsified, and it was pushed through the FDA’s approval process by a select few who stood to benefit handsomely from its profits.

Why Else Might You Want to Avoid Aspartame?

If a risk of brain tumors isn’t enough to sway you, you may be interested to know that aspartame is 40 percent aspartic acid. When aspartic acid is consumed, it significantly raises your blood level of aspartate, which leads to a high level of those neurotransmitters in certain areas of your brain, where they slowly begin to destroy neurons.

But you likely would not notice the symptoms until 75 percent or more of your neurons are already gone. Then, chronic illnesses such as the following, which may by caused by long-term exposure to excitatory amino acid damage, may occur:

" Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
" Memory and hearing loss
" Hormonal problems
" Epilepsy
" Brain lesions
" Neuroendocrine disorders

And there’s more. Aspartame is 50 percent phenylalanine. Excessive levels of phenylalanine in your brain can cause the levels of serotonin in your brain to decrease, leading to emotional disorders such as depression. It can also cause schizophrenia or make you more susceptible to seizures.

As for the other 10 percent, well that’s methanol, also known as wood alcohol. Not only is methanol on its own a poison, but it breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde -- a deadly neurotoxin -- in your body. Methanol poisoning can lead to a variety of symptoms such as:

" Vision problems
" Headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness
" Nausea and gastrointestinal disturbances
" Weakness, numbness and shooting pains in your extremities
" Behavioral disturbances
" Memory lapses

Aside from the damage it can do to your brain, aspartame can cause cancer. One well-controlled, peer-reviewed, SEVEN-year study even found that as little as 20 mg per day can cause cancer in humans.

One 12-ounce diet soda contains about 180 mg of aspartame, so you do the math on that risk!

Ready to Give up Your Diet Soda (and Aspartame) Habit?

Diet soda is a major source of aspartame in many people’s diets. If diet soda is the culprit for you, be sure to check out Turbo Tapping, which is an extremely effective and simple tool to get rid of your soda addiction in a short period of time.

There are, of course, many other sources of aspartame as well. Sold commercially under names like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, Equal-Measure and Canderel, aspartame is found in:

" Diet sodas, juice drinks, and flavored waters
" Chewing gum
" Table-top sweeteners
" Diet and diabetic foods
" Breakfast cereals, such as Fiber One
" Fiber supplements, such as orange flavored Metamucil
" Jams
" Sweets
" Certain vitamins (including childrens) as well as prescription and over the-counter drugs such as Alka Seltzer Plus, and some Tylenol medications

So avoiding this product means reading labels on everything you buy to make sure it’s aspartame-free.

If you’d like to learn more about this dangerous artificial sweetener, or perhaps convince one of your loved ones to stop using it, there are several resources I recommend. First, I spent years researching and writing Sweet Deception. It is the most comprehensive book on the market addressing this issue, and if you or your loved ones drink diet beverages or eat diet foods, please read it sooner rather than later.

I also highly recommend watching Sweet Misery, which is part documentary, part detective story that sheds much-needed light on the controversy surrounding aspartame. Finally, H.J. Roberts’ three-pound tome, Aspartame Disease -- An Ignored Epidemic, is another must-read if you’re anywhere near the fence on this issue.

Please also help us to get the word out about this toxic substance by sharing this article with your friends and family. Millions of people are putting themselves at risk every day -- all because they don’t have access to the truth.

Related Articles:

 Aspartame: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

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