The Dangers Of Aspartame Discussed And Validity

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The Dangers Of Aspartame Discussed And Validity Of Relevant Studies Questioned Essay, Research Paper The Federal Drug Administration approved aspartame, an artificial sweetener surrounded by controversy, for widespread consumption in 1983. Its brand name, NutraSweet, is a division of Monsanto, a major drug company who acquired G.D. Searle, the original drug company affiliated with aspartame. Aspartame is used in everything from diet food to sugarless gum, but its major use is in diet drinks. There have been studies done to determine what dosage of aspartame and it’s by products, aspartic acid, methyl alcohol or methanol, and phenylalanine, is safe to consume or if the amount is unlimited. Dr. Mark Gold (1995), a researcher involved with aspartame for over twenty years,

found that seventy-five percent of the complaints reported to the FDA are related to aspartame and that aspartame led to a variety of symptoms. Some of these include arthritis, hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, inability to think clearly, confusion, dizziness, headaches or migraines, inability to concentrate, joint pain, memory loss, rapid heartbeat, and brain tumors among. This paper will take a closer look at how aspartame could physically cause such symptoms and discuss the validity and relevancy of the scientific studies presented in the case for aspartame use. To understand why aspartame can possibly cause symptoms like memory loss, headaches, and brain tumors, one must look at how aspartame is used in the body. These effects have been outlined in quite a few studies, three of

which are Carolyn Orange’s study entitled “Effects of Aspartame on College Student Memory and Learning,” and Jennifer Cohen’s study “How Diet Soda Turns to Poison,” and Devoli et al.’s study, “Serum Methanol Concentrations in Rats and Men after a Single Dose of Aspartame.” Once ingested aspartame breaks down into aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methyl alcohol or methanol. These chemicals convert to formaldehyde and diketopiperazine (DKP), two types of neurotoxins, at 86 degrees Fahrenheit, which is way below the average human body temperature (Cohen 2). The chemicals “cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) ? and chang[e] the chemistry of the brain (Orange 2)” which keeps the brain able to regulate the amount of amino acids allowed in the brain. This affects

the hippocampus or the area of the brain that pertains to memory. Methanol is also “released in the small intestine when the methyl group of aspartame encounters the enzyme chymotrypsin (Stegink 1984, p 143),” as quoted on the Holistic Medicine website in the well sourced article “Scientific Abuse in Methanol/ Formaldehyde Research Related to Aspartame.” While Monsanto may be correct in saying in a statement on July 1, 1999 that “It is physiologically impossible for aspartame to cause brain tumors because it never enters the blood stream and thus cannot travel to essential organs, including the brain,” aspartame’s byproduct methanol is absorbed into the blood stream and once there it breaks down into formaldehyde and methanol. On the Holistic Medicine website in the

article “Scientific Abuse in Methanol/ Formaldehyde Research Related to Aspartame” Kavet (1990), Monte (1984), and Posner (1975) are cited as finding that methanol causes: …headaches, dizziness, nausea, ear buzzing, GI disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness and shooting pains, behavioral disturbances, neuritis, misty vision, vision tunneling, blurring of vision, conjunctivitis, insomnia, vision loss, depression, heart problems (including disease of the heart muscle), and pancreatic inflammation. (1-2) These symptoms are a result of long term, low-level exposure to methanol. When methanol is converted to formaldehyde, which then changes to formic acid. There are other more serious symptoms with formaldehyde according to the same article on the