Recent Independent Aspartame Research Results & News
(1998 – 2007)
The results of recent independent research continue the trend of research not funded by the manufacturer finding serious problems with aspartame ingestion. Details about other independent research demonstrating the hazards of aspartame ingestion can be found in the Aspartame FAQs and Aspartame Scientific Abuse web pages.
Table of Contents
- Analysis Shows Nearly 100% of Independent Research Finds Problems With Aspartame
- Aspartame Ingestion Causes Formaldehyde Accumulation in the Body
- Aspartame and MSG Cause Painful Fibromyalgia Symptoms
- Aspartame and Brain Tumors (Swedish Study)
- Aspartame Causes Memory Loss
- Aspartame and Lymphomas / Leukemias / Kidney & Peripheral Nerve Cancer
- Aspartame and Weight Gain
- Aspartame and Combined Toxicity from Formaldehyde & Excitotoxins
- 12 Environmental Health Experts Call for Aspartame Review and Possible Ban
Analysis Shows Nearly 100% of Independent Research Finds Problems With Aspartame
An analysis of peer reviewed medical literature using MEDLINE and other databases was conducted by Ralph G. Walton, MD, Chairman, The Center for Behavioral Medicine, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. Dr. Walton analyzed 164 studies which were felt to have relevance to human safety questions. Of those studies, 74 studies had aspartame industry-related sponsorship and 90 were funded without any industry money.
Of the 90 non-industry-sponsored studies, 83 (92%) identified one or more problems with aspartame. Of the 7 studies which did not find a problems, 6 of those studies were conducted by the FDA. Given that a number of FDA officials went to work for the aspartame industry immediately following approval (including the former FDA Commissioner), many consider these studies to be equivalent to industry-sponsored research.
Of the 74 aspartame industry-sponsored studies, all 74 (100%) claimed that no problems were found with aspartame. This is reminiscent of tobacco industry research where it is primarily the tobacco research which never finds problems with the product, but nearly all of the independent studies do find problems.
The 74 aspartame industry-sponsored studies are those which one inveriably sees cited in PR/news reports and reported by organizations funded by Monsanto/Benevia/NutraSweet (e.g., IFIC, ADA). These studies have severe design deficiencies which help to guarantee the “desired” outcomes. These design deficiencies may not be apparent to the inexperienced scientist. Healthcare practitioners and scientists should print out the all of the documents on the Monsanto/NutraSweet Scientific Abuse web page, the Scientific FAQs web page and the Aspartame Toxicity Reaction Report Samples. Please refer scientific questions to .
Aspartame Ingestion Causes Formaldehyde Accumulation in the Body
Trocho, C., et al., 1998. “Formaldehyde Derived From Dietary Aspartame Vinds to Tissue Components in vivo,” Life Sciences, Vol. 63, No. 5, pp. 337+, 1998
“These are indeed extremely high levels for adducts of formaldehyde, a substance responsible for chronic deleterious effects that has also been considered carcinogenic.
“It is concluded that aspartame consumption may constitute a hazard because of its contribution to the formation of formaldehyde adducts.”
“It was a very interesting paper, that demonstrates that formaldehyde formation from aspartame ingestion is very common and does indeed accumulate within the cell, reacting with cellular proteins (mostly enzymes) and DNA (both mitochondrial and nuclear). The fact that it accumulates with each dose, indicates grave consequences among those who consume diet drinks and foodstuffs on a daily basis.” (Neuroscientist Russell Blaylock, MD)
Aspartame and MSG Cause Painful Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Ann Pharmacother 2001 Jun;35(6):702-6
Relief of fibromyalgia symptoms following discontinuation of dietary excitotoxins.
Smith JD, Terpening CM, Schmidt SO, Gums JG. Malcolm Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Gainesville, FL, USA.
BACKGROUND: Fibromyalgia is a common rheumatologic disorder that is often difficult to treat effectively. CASE SUMMARY: Four patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome for two to 17 years are described. All had undergone multiple treatment modalities with limited success. All had complete, or nearly complete, resolution of their symptoms within months after eliminating monosodium glutamate (MSG) or MSG plus aspartame from their diet. All patients were women with multiple comorbidities prior to elimination of MSG. All have had recurrence of symptoms whenever MSG is ingested. DISCUSSION: Excitotoxins are molecules, such as MSG and aspartate, that act as excitatory neurotransmitters, and can lead to neurotoxicity when used in excess. We propose that these four patients may represent a subset of fibromyalgia syndrome that is induced or exacerbated by excitotoxins or, alternatively, may comprise an excitotoxin syndrome that is similar to fibromyalgia. We suggest that identification of similar patients and research with larger numbers of patients must be performed before definitive conclusions can be made. CONCLUSIONS: The elimination of MSG and other excitotoxins from the diets of patients with fibromyalgia offers a benign treatment option that has the potential for dramatic results in a subset of patients. PMID: 11408989
Aspartame and Brain Tumors
A published study in Sweden that looked at various possible causes of brain tumors (e.g., cell phones, aspartame) found a link between use of diet drinks and certain types of large brain tumors in middle-aged and elderly population groups. http://www.medscape.com/MedGenMed/braintumors
Aspartame Causes Memory Loss
Title: DANGEROUS DIET DRINKS.
Subject(s): ASPARTAME — Physiological effect; NONNUTRITIVE sweeteners
Side effects; MEMORY
Source: Psychology Today, Mar/Apr 2001, Vol. 34 Issue 2, p20, 2/5p
Section: [Nutrition] Facts&Findings
MIND DANGEROUS DIET DRINKS
CAN’T REMEMBER WHAT YOU HAD FOR LUNCH?
WHAT YOU ATE OR DRANK MIGHT BE THE REASON.
New research suggests that the artificial sweetener aspartame may actually go to your head.
By Peter Rebhahn
Anecdotal evidence that aspartame disrupts memory has been growing since the sugar substitute was approved in the early 1980s, though attempts to prove the claim have so far been equivocal. Previous studies have tested memory by asking aspartame users to remember lists of words or numbers– tests of short-term memory. But according to Timothy M. Barth, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Texas Christian University, those studies focused on the wrong type of memory.
In his study of 90 students, Barth found that participants who regularly drank diet sodas containing aspartame performed as well as nonusers on laboratory tests. However, aspartame users were more likely to report long-term memory lapses like forgetting details of personal routines or whether or not a task had been completed.
“These people aren’t crazy,” says Barth. Instead, “the type of memory problems they report are not the type of memories that have been assessed in the typical laboratory study.”
After reporting his findings at a recent Society for Neuroscience meeting, Barth cautioned that he thinks it’s premature to condemn aspartame. But he does worry about the largely untested effects of long-term use. Already, he has made some converts. “Several of my graduate students who drank diet soda no longer do.”
Aspartame and Lymphomas / Leukemias
A long-term study linking aspartame ingestion to lymphomas and leukemias in animals. The full study can be read at: http://www.ramazzini.it/fondazione/docs/AspartameGEO2005.pdf. Neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock M.D. commented: “The new study released in the European Journal of Oncology by Morando Soffritti and co-workers should terrify mothers and all those consuming aspartame sweetened products. This was a carefully done study which clearly demonstrated a statistically significant increase in several types of lymphomas and leukemias in rats. Both of these malignancies have increased significantly in this country since the widespread use of aspartame.
“This study confirmed the previous study by Dr. Trocho and co-workers, which also found the formaldehyde breakdown product of aspartame to be damaging to cellular DNA and that this damage was accumulative. The type of damage was a duplicate of that associated with cancers. Along with this most recent study, this means that drinking a single diet cola sweetened with aspartame every day could increase one’s risk of developing a lymphoma or leukemia.
“They also found an increased incidence of malignant brain tumors, even though it was not statistically significant. This does not mean there is no association to brain tumors, since only the animals exposed to aspartame developed the tumors. With children and pregnant women drinking the largest amount of diet colas, this puts their children at the greatest risk of developing one of these horrible diseases. Their study found that even low doses of aspartame could cause these malignancies; yet, the higher the dose, the more cancers that were seen.”
A followup study was published in Environmental Health Perspectives showing that there was a significant increase in cancer of the kidney and peripheral nerves. The full published study can be found in PDF format at: http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/members/2005/8711/8711.pdf.
Aspartame and Weight Gain
A study conducted at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center reported a “41% increase in risk of being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink a person consumes each day.” The findings come from eight years of collecting data by Sharon P. Fowler, MPH and colleagues. The results of the study was reported at the 65th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association in San Diet on June 10-14, 2005 (Abstract 1058-P). While this study, by itself, does not prove that aspartame causes weight gain, it adds to the evidence seen in independent research. For example, a study conducted by Dr. H.J. Roberts found that 5% of subjects reporting symptoms from aspartame also reported a “paridoxic weight gain.” (Reactions Attributed to Aspartame-Containing Products: 551 Cases,” Journal of Applied Nutrition, Volume 40, page 85-94). Lavin found that females with eating restraint had a higher Calorie intake subsequent to aspartame intake as opposed to sugar or water intake. (Lavin, J.H., S.J. French, N.W. Read, 1997. “The Effect of Sucrose- and Aspartame-Sweetened Drinks on Energy Intake, Hunger and Food Choice of Female, Moderately Restrained Eaters,” International Journal of Obesity, Volume 21, pages 37-42, 1997.)
Aspartame and Combined Toxicity from Formaldehyde & Excitotoxins
A study published in Toxicology (2005 Jun 1; 210(2-3): 235-45. “Cytotoxic effect of formaldehyde with free radicals via increment of cellular reactive oxygen species.”) by Saito and colleagues demonstrates that formaldehyde is much more toxic to cells when free radical levels are increased. As has been demonstrated by Trocho, et al. in 1998, aspartame ingestion leads to the significant exposure to and accumulation of formaldehyde adducts in the organs and tissues. In addition, 40% of aspartame breaks down into an excitotoxic amino acid. As Neuroscientist Russell Blaylock points out, “Excitotoxins destroy neurons partly by stimulating the generation of large numbers of free radicals.”
12 Environmental Health Experts Call for Aspartame Review and Possible Ban
SCIENCE VOL 317 6 JULY 2007 page 31
Souring on Fake Sugar
Fearful it causes cancer, 12 U.S. environmental health experts last week asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review the potential health risks of the artificial sweetener aspartame, which appears in everything from medicines to diet sodas.
A study published last month in Environmental Health Perspectives found somewhat more leukaemias and lymphomas in male rats receiving less aspartame than the recommended maximum for humans; at higher doses, the rats had a marked increase in cancers throughout the body.
The letter from the 12 U.S. environmental health experts can be found at: