Monday, April 25, 2011
[I had eosinophilia myalgia syndrome [EMS: blood disorder considered the life threatening form of Fibromyalgia syndrome which dozens of aspartame-users have died from] I have been fighting to have aspartame recognized as a chemical trigger for both EMS and FMS for 25 years. Now, my theory has gained credibility in mainstream science publications. -- Mary Stoddard]
Annals of Pharmacotherapy: Vol. 35, No. 6, pp. 702-706.
Jerry D Smith, Chris M Terpening, Siegfried OF Schmidt, and John G Gums
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.
Fibromyalgia syndrome occurs in 3-6 million patients in the US.1 It is the third most commonly diagnosed rheumatologic disorder (after osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis). Most patients are women, with a median age of onset of 29-37 years; the median age of formal diagnosis is 34-53 years.2
This disabling disorder is characterized by widespread pain and tenderness, fatigue, morning stiffness, and sleep disturbance (Table 1) .1 ,3 Diagnosis criteria have been developed by the American College of Rheumatology (Appendix I),3 but, unfortunately, the cause of fibromyalgia syndrome is unknown. Theories have included alterations in neurotransmitter regulation (especially serotonin); hormonal control problems (especially of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and growth hormone axes); immune system dysfunction; problems in sleep physiology; abnormal perception of bodily sensations; stress; viral pathologies; local hypoxia; and disturbances in muscle microcirculation, adenosine monophosphate, and creatine concentrations.1 Current evidence4-6 most strongly supports a neurochemical or neurohormonal hypothesis.
We describe four patients who experienced a dramatic recovery from fibromyalgia syndrome by eliminating certain preservatives and food additives, mainly monosodium glutamate (MSG), from their diet. All four patients had fibromyalgia syndrome characterized by tenderness and pain at all tender points, fatigue, sleep disorders, and irritable bowel syndrome (Table 1) . This appears to be the first such report in the medical literature, based on the absence of results in a MEDLINE search.
A 40-year-old Caucasian woman was diagnosed in 1987 with moderately aggressive fibromyalgia symptoms that had been very difficult to manage with traditional approaches. She also had atypical chest pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. This patient did a tremendous amount of reading in the lay press regarding fibromyalgia, allergies, food allergies, and "food toxins." She treated her daughter, who had a number of skin allergies, with a diet that was basically additive-free, with an emphasis on corn derivatives and MSG. When her daughter's allergy problem resolved, the woman decided to follow the same dietary regimen. The patient had, over time, what she and her physician considered complete resolution of fibromyalgia symptoms. The carpal tunnel symptoms disappeared, she began to sleep better, and believed that her memory improved as well. The patient rechallenged herself with the food products she felt were the offending agents, and the symptoms returned. She restricted her diet again, and the symptoms resolved.
A 37-year-old Caucasian woman, the sister of the patient described above, had multiple medical problems including fibromyalgia syndrome affecting all 18 tender points, allergic rhinitis, irritable bowel syndrome, dysuria, stress reaction, depressive disorder, temperomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, facial pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, anxiety, mitral valve prolapse, and dyslexia. She underwent a total hysterectomy in 1991 and surgery to open her left nasal passage. This woman was in a basically nonfunctional condition, much worse than her sister. She reported pains she had experienced since she was 15 years old. She did not recall a traumatic or emotional event prior to the onset of the pain.
The pains progressively worsened, especially after the birth of her first child in 1979, and never completely resolved. She underwent several tender point injections with bupivacaine, with temporary relief. The patient then began a corn-free diet and was able to decrease her amitriptyline dose from 100 to 25 mg/d and discontinue sertraline and lorazepam. After several months of using a diet free of aspartame and MSG, she had no pain in any of the tender points, no further abdominal or facial pain, no carpal tunnel syndrome, and no further depression or anxiety; a reevaluation also showed no sign of dyslexia. The woman also reported improvement in her memory. Symptoms of fibromyalgia recur when she unknowingly eats foods that contain MSG or aspartame. At times, she experiences an episode for 24-48 hours, and then researches if anything in her foods could have caused it. She often calls a food manufacturer to learn more details about the ingredients. Both the number of medications and number of office visits were markedly reduced after elimination of aspartame and MSG. On reevaluation, she had no further findings consistent with fibromyalgia, allergic rhinitis, irritable bowel syndrome, dysuria, stress reaction, chronic depressive disorder, TMJ disorder, or chronic fatigue issues.
A 57-year-old Caucasian woman had a past medical history of chronic musculoskeletal pain (very diffuse), chronic fatigue, migraine and tension headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, allergic rhinitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, anxiety and depressive disorder, as well as a diagnosis in 1994 of fibromyalgia syndrome involving 16 of 18 tender points. Despite a major workup and extensive therapies, including physical therapy, electro-acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, injection treatment, counseling, medication, and lifestyle adjustment, her condition severely worsened, and she was placed on a diet to eliminate MSG and aspartame.
Within two months, she improved partially with no further headaches, allergic symptoms, or irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Within three months, she had no further diffuse musculoskeletal pain and only continued to have very localized lower back and bilateral shoulder pain attributed to osteoarthritis. By seven months, she experienced no pain, but had achieved marked improvement of the chronic fatigue, and reported feeling "very good." If she inadvertently uses MSG, the symptoms recur. The number of medications she takes was reduced from 15 to only estrogen for hormone replacement.
A 37-year-old African-American woman was diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome involving all 18 tender points in 1985. Furthermore, she had ongoing diffuse multiple symptoms including severe fatigue, epigastric pain, retrosternal pain, precordial pains, symptoms consistent with some reflux (none could be substantiated with a 24-h pH study), major depressive episodes, chronic migraine and tension headaches, chronic musculoskeletal pain with costochondritis and myofacial pain component, chronic TMJ dysfunction, emphysema, chronic postnasal drip, hyper chol esterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, and obesity. At that time, she was receiving fluoxetine, triamterene/hydrochlorothiazide, nasal triamcinolone, fluticasone metered-dose inhaler (MDI), ipratroprium bromide MDI, albuterol MDI as needed, ranitidine twice daily, isosorbide dinitrate, buspirone, lorazepam, simvastatin, and propoxyphene/acetaminophen, along with repeated trigger point injections of bupivacaine.
The patient was told to try to eliminate MSG from her diet. After two months, she stated that she had improved dramatically. The headaches, as well as shoulder, neck, and abdominal pain, decreased from 8 of 10 to 3 of 10 in severity. After another month of elimination of MSG, the woman experienced even further pain improvement and believed that she was at 70% of her normal health. Her ranitidine dose was cut to once daily, the buspirone dose was decreased by half, propoxyphene/acetaminophen use decreased, and isosorbide dinitrate was discontinued. Secondary to her financial situation, she was unable to adjust her diet completely; whenever she uses certain foods, especially those that include MSG, she develops recurrent pain. She intermittently tried to stop buspirone completely, but felt very anxious and restarted the medication.
MSG, the sodium salt of the amino acid glutamic acid or glutamate, is an additive used to enhance the flavor of certain foods. It does not have a flavor of its own, but is believed to enhance the taste of other foods by stimulating glutamate receptors on the tongue.
MSG was classified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) substance in 1959, after the 1958 Food Additives Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act required approval for new food additives. This classification meant that MSG and other GRAS substances, such as salt and baking powder, were grandfathered as harmless food substances due to their history of safe use. Since then, several expert committees have investigated MSG and determined that it is safe for use by the general public.7-9
Between 1980 and 1994, the Adverse Reaction Monitoring System in the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition received 600 reports of problems due to MSG. Complaints, since verified in susceptible individuals,10 included symptoms such as headache, weakness, muscle tightness, numbness or tingling, and flushing. Collectively, these symptoms have been termed the MSG symptom complex. The complaints submitted to the FDA, several books, and a television news show reporting the possible dangers of MSG prompted a review of the safety of the additive by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). The 1995 FASEB report11 reaffirmed the FDA's belief that MSG and related substances are safe food additives for most people.
However, that report11 identified two groups of people who may develop complications from MSG. One group may be intolerant of MSG when the substance is eaten in large quantities, and develop the MSG symptom complex. The second group contains patients with severe, poorly controlled asthma, whose asthma may worsen after they eat foods containing MSG, in addition to being prone to MSG symptom complex.
Aspartame was first marketed in 1981. It is a dipeptide of aspartate and phenylalanine used in foods, beverages, and drugs. In animal models, aspartame has been associated with an increased incidence of brain tumors.12 Anecdotally, aspartame use in humans has been linked with head aches, seizures, dizziness, movement disorders, urticaria, angioedema, and anaphylaxis. However, in placebo-controlled trials, only the potential for headache has been verified, even among self-identified susceptible patients.13
With the discovery of excitatory amino acid (EAA) transmitter systems and identification of EAA receptor subtypes (N-methyl-d-aspartame [NMDA], kainic acid, and amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole-4-proprionic acid) and their antagonists, it has become widely accepted that glutamate, aspartate, and other environmental substances have neurotoxic (excitotoxic) effects in the human nervous system.14
The adverse reactions to MSG have been theorized to be due to MSG's actions at glutamate receptors in glutamate-responsive tissues. Studies have shown that glutamate acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain, and abnormal function of glutamate receptors has been linked to neurologic disorders such as Alzheimer disease and Huntington's chorea.15 Injections of glutamate in laboratory animals have resulted in damage to nerve cells in the brain.
Aspartate is equipotent to glutamate in destroying hypothalamic neurons and has additive neurotoxic effects when the two are combined. Aspartate is derived from the gut hydrolyzation of aspartame. It is a much more potent flavoring agent than glutamate and is, therefore, used in smaller doses. However, even in small amounts, aspartate has additive effects to any glutamate.14
Normally, people can consume large amounts of dietary glutamate, and the body can produce and eliminate glutamate efficiently. Glutamate is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream after oral administration. In fact, when compared with mice and monkeys, humans demonstrated higher plasma peaks and AUCs after receiving MSG 150 mg/kg.14 Glutamate crosses the blood-brain barrier only by active transport, and concentrations in the brain are kept low and independent of plasma concentrations. However, glutamate freely enters brain regions that lack blood-brain barriers (circumventricular organs, e.g., the hypothalamus). It has been shown14 that glutamate can destroy circumventricular organ neurons by an excitotoxic mechanism (via the NMDA receptor) in all animal models appropriately tested (cats, chickens, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, monkeys, rabbits). In fact, much of the research performed proving that glutamate was safe for human consumption may have been flawed. Tests using infant monkeys anesthetized these animals with phencyclidine, now known to inhibit the neurotoxic effects of glutamate on the hypothalamic neurons by its potent antagonism of the specific subtype of NMDA receptor.14
As the etiology of fibromyalgia remains unclear, it is difficult to pinpoint an exact role for glutamate in its exacerbation or induction. However, several potential hypotheses can be envisioned. For example, when glutamate enters the endocrine hypothalamus, it interacts with EAA receptors on the surface of the hypothalamic neurons, which then stimulate the release of hypophysiotrophic-releasing factors. These factors trigger the release of pituitary hormones into the general circulation, which can disturb hormonal biorhythms. The use of intravenous glutamate or related analogs in prepubertal monkeys induces a release of growth hormone, luteinizing hormone, and prolactin.14 However, recent tests16 in healthy adult humans showed no increases in pituitary or cortical hormones in response to orally administered MSG. These findings do not preclude the possibility that a different response might occur in subsets of fibromyalgia patients. Up to 35% of subjects with fibromyalgia in various studies demonstrate abnormal suppression to the nighttime administration of dexamethasone. Additionally, patients with fibromyalgia have reduced 24-hour free cortisol excretion in the urine, loss of diurnal variation of cortisol concentrations, and exaggerated adrenocorticotrophic hormone, but blunted cortisol response to administration of corticotropin-releasing hormone or to insulin-induced hypoglycemia, and reduced adrenocortical activation in response to exhaustive exercise.17
Another plausible explanation involves the role of glutamate in chronic pain sensitization.18 Prolonged firing of certain peripheral nociceptor neurons causes release of glutamate. This acts on central NMDA receptors to produce chronic sensitization at the level of the spinal cord. Perhaps exogenous glutamate may act to produce similar sensitization in a small subset of patients. Alternatively, MSG may represent a specific chemical intolerance, yielding a fibromyalgia-like picture as a result of some cross-sensitization.19 Without further prospective studies in susceptible patients, clarifying the mechanism of glutamate toxicity remains, at best, difficult.
Obviously, this case series does not establish a cause-effect relationship between excitotoxins and fibromyalgia syndrome. The potential relationship is further complicated by the often inconsistent manner in which fibromyalgia syndrome is diagnosed and documented in common practice. However, the Naranjo probability scale20 places this drug reaction in or near the probable range. As MSG is nearly ubiquitous in processed food, appearing under many names, including gelatin, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, textured protein, and yeast extract, most people in developed nations are exposed to it from a very young age. The general population has less exposure to aspartame. None the less, it is the dominant artificial sweetener on the market, and has been since its approval in 1981. In the four patients reported here, the adverse reaction improved on discontinuation and reappeared under retrial. As the patient in case 4 reduced, but did not eliminate, MSG and symptoms were reduced but not eliminated, one may argue a dose-response effect. Still, prospective, placebo-controlled trials are needed to verify the finding.
As the mystery of fibromyalgia syndrome unfolds and the diagnosis gains greater acceptance and awareness in both the medical and lay communities, one should remember that multiple etiologies of this syndrome exist. Our four patients were diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome that met the typical criteria. All also had allergic rhinitis symptoms and responded to a diet of mainly MSG elimination, aspartame elimination, or both with resolution of their symptoms. This excitotoxin-induced or -exacerbated fibromyalgia could be due to the mechanisms described above, but other mechanisms may remain unknown. We also do not believe that sensitivity to MSG is the cause of all cases of fibromyalgia syndrome, as many of our patients have not responded to our recommendations of elimination of the excitotoxins.
There may also be many more yet unknown, or widely unrecognized, excitotoxins that could also cause fibro myalgia syndrome. Even in the patients described here, we cannot state unequivocally that MSG caused their fibro myalgia. However, elimination of MSG and/or aspartame did result in striking improvements in their symptoms. Identification of similar patients and much more research must be performed before definitive conclusions concerning causation can be made. This subgroup of fibromyalgia syndrome patients needs to be identified by physicians and other healthcare providers to initiate appropriate dietary adjustments that may lead to significant improvement of symptoms, and to further delineate the mechanisms involved in their sensitivity.
1. Reiffenberger DH, Amundson LH. Fibromyalgia syndrome: a review. Am Fam Physician 1996;53:1698-704. [PubMed Citation]
2. Krsnich-Shriwise S. Fibromyalgia syndrome: an overview. Phys Ther 1997;77:68-75. [PubMed Citation]
3. Wolfe F, Smythe HA, Yunus MB, Bennett RM, Bombardier C, Goldenberg DL. The American College of Rheumatology 1990 Criteria for the Classification of Fibromyalgia. Report of the Multicenter Criteria Committee. Arthritis Rheum 1990;33:160-72. [PubMed Citation]
4. Russell IJ. Advances in fibromyalgia: possible role for central neurochemicals. Am J Med Sci 1998;315:377-84. [PubMed Citation]
5. Crofford LJ. Neuroendocrine abnormalities in fibromyalgia and related disorders. Am J Med Sci 1998;315:359-66. [PubMed Citation]
6. Neeck G, Riedel W. Hormonal perturbations in fibromyalgia syndrome. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1999;876:325-38. [PubMed Citation]
7. Select Committee on GRAS Substances. Evaluation of the health aspects of protein hydrolyzates as food ingredients. Supplemental review and evaluation. SCOGS-37b-supplement 1980b. Prepared for the Food and Drug Administration under contract no. FDA 223-75-2004 by the Life Sciences Research Office, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Available from Special Publications Office, FASEB, Bethesda, MD.
8. Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives L-glutamic acid and its ammonium, calcium, monosodium and potassium salts. In: Toxicological evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1987:97-161.
9. International Glutamate Technical Committee. Scientific literature review on glutamates. Atlanta, GA: The Glutamate Association, 1991.
10. Yang WH, Drouin MA, Herbert M, Mao Y, Karsh J. The monosodium glutamate symptom complex: assessment in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1997;99:757-62. [PubMed Citation]
11. Raiten DJ, Talbot JM, Fisher KD, eds. Life Sciences Research Office Report. Executive summary from the report. Analysis of adverse reactions to monosodium glutamate (MSG). J Nutr 1995;125 (suppl).:2892-906. s.
12. Olney JW, Farber NB, Spitznagel E, Robins LN. Increasing brain tumor rates: is there a link to aspartame?. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 1996;55:1115-23. [PubMed Citation]
13. Van den Eeden SK, Koepsell TD, Longstreth WT, van Belle G, Daling JR, McKnight B. Aspartame ingestion and headache: a randomized crossover trial. Neurology 1994;44:1787-93. [PubMed Citation]
14. Olney JW. Excitotoxins in foods. Neurotoxicology 1994;15:535-44. [PubMed Citation]
15. Choi DW. Glutamate neurotoxicity and diseases of the nervous system. Neuron 1988;1:623-34. [PubMed Citation]
16. Fernstrom JD, Pituitary hormone secretion in normal male humans: acute responses to a large, oral dose of monosodium glutamate. J Nutr 2000;130 (suppl 4S).:1053-7. S.
17. Demitrack MA. Neuroendocrine correlates of chronic fatigue syndrome: a brief review. J Psychiatr Res 1997;31:69-82. [PubMed Citation]
18. Bennett GJ, Update on the neurophysiology of pain transmission and modulation: focus on the NMDA-receptor. J Pain Symptom Manage 2000;19 (suppl 1):S.:2-6. [PubMed Citation]
19. Bell IR, Baldwin CM, Schwartz GE, Illness from low levels of environmental chemicals: relevance to chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Am J Med 1998;105 (suppl 3A).:74-82. S. [PubMed Citation]
20. Naranjo CA, Busto U, Sellers EM, Sandor P, Ruiz I, Roberts EA. A method for estimating the probability of adverse drug reactions. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1981;30:239-45. [PubMed Citation]
American College of Rheumatology Diagnostic Criteria for Fibromyalgia3
1 Jerry D Smith PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist, Malcolm Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Gainesville, FL
2 Chris M Terpening PhD PharmD, Clinical Pharmacy Fellow, Departments of Pharmacy Practice and Community Health & Family Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
2 Siegfried OF Schmidt MD PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Community Health & Family Medicine, University of Florida
4 John G Gums PharmD, Professor, Departments of Pharmacy Practice and Community Health & Family Medicine, University of Florida
Reprints: Chris M Terpening PhD PharmD, 625 S.W. 4th Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601-6430, FAX 352/392-7766, E-mail: cmt@fpmg. health.ufl.edu
Saturday, April 16, 2011
to Depression and Suicide
Mary Nash Stoddard
Founder Aspartame Consumer Safety Network  www.aspartamesafety.com
DALLAS - October 2, 2006 - For the record, 92 aspartame-related symptoms, including 5 deaths, have been reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Fully 75% of all complaints to the US FDA implicate the artificial sweetener, aspartame, better known as: NutraSweet, Canderel, Equal, etc.
At Aspartame Consumer Safety Network [Dallas-based all volunteer international organization], we are increasingly concerned with the more sinister reported psychological side effects of aspartame ingestion. One aspartame component, phenylalanine (50% of the molecule) has been shown in the laboratory to block production of a necessary neurotransmitter, serotonin, which controls sleep patterns and moods. Many daily users of products containing the sweetener such as diet drinks, gums, etc. report both manic and suicidal depressions among other their symptoms. Aspartame also breaks down in heat and in the body to the highly addictive depressant, methanol (10% wood alcohol), formaldehyde [embalming fluid], formic acid and diketopiperazine (a documented brain tumor agent.)
Even subtle alterations of brain patterns in aspartame users may be deemed significant, according to these prominent brain researchers:
Richard Wurtman, M.D., head of Brain Science at MIT says, "There is evidence that levels of serotonin or 5-HIAA are subnormal in CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) samples from violent psychiatric patients and in brains of people who died by suicide." 1
"In rats, the administration of glucose and aspartame by gavage increased brain levels of tyrosine and phenylalanine and decreased brain serotonin concentration. It has been argued that these changes in brain amino acid and biogenic amine levels in rats may have important behavioral implications for humans." 2
Ralph Walton, M.D., a respected researcher at the Department of Psychiatry, Northeastern Ohio Univ. College of Medicine and Director of Research Western Reserve Care System, states, "We conclude that individuals with mood disorders are particularly sensitive to this artificial sweetener and its use in this population should be discouraged." 3
Lane Lenard, Ph.D. wrote: "In one meta-analysis, five out of seven studies reported reduced levels of serotonin and/or 5-HIAA in the brain stems of suicide victims."
Neurologist, Russell Blaylock, writes that, "In the case of children, the damage done at the time of initial exposure produces no obvious outward effects. However, when the child reaches a later stage of development, the damage may present itself as an emotion control disorder [violent episodes, schizophrenia, paranoia]. Hundreds of millions of children are at great risk and their parents are not even aware of it. Early exposure to excitotoxins [aspartame] could cause a tendency for episodic violence and criminal behavior in later years." 5
Aspartame (aka NutraSweet/Equal), as shown in the literature, can be a powerful, mind-altering drug - driving some over the abyss into dark, sinister depressions they can not shake, even with the use of antidepressants. Suicide, for many individuals may seem to be the only way out.
On a brighter note, abstinence from aspartame has been reported to have a miraculous effect on some, allowing for a happier existence and the ability to cope with life's normal problems in a non threatening way. A clear understanding of this issue may mean the difference between life and death for some.
1 Wurtman, Richard J. M.D.; Effects of Dietary Amino Acids, Carbohydrates, and Choline on Neurotransmitter Synthesis; The Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine; Vol. 55, No. 1, January 1988. From the Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and The Clinical Research Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.]
2 JAMA, July 19,1985- Vol. 254, No.3, p.402
3 Adverse Reactions to Aspartame: Double-Blind Challenge in Patients from a Vulnerable Population, the Journal of Biological Psychiatry, 1993
4 Lane Lenard, Ph.D. as reported in Life Enhancement, January, 1998 5 Blaylock, Russell M.D., Excitotoxins - The Taste That Kills
Mary Nash Stoddard, Founder and President Aspartame Consumer Safety Network and Pilot Hotline [1987 - present]
* Author: "Deadly Deception - Story of Aspartame" [Odenwald Press 1998]
* Expert Medical Witness [1992-present]
* Guest Lecturer: U. T. Southwestern Medical School 
* Visiting Professor: American University  and Univ. of North Texas at Denton [1990 - 2005], University of Houston 
* Invited speaker: Hebrew Univ. Jerusalem - 
* Keynote speech: Mexican Government's Conference on Sweeteners 
* Appointed Judge - State of Texas Board [1977-1984]
* Broadcast Journalist - FCC Licensed - Texas Radio Hall of Fame - [1965-present]
* President's Council on Food Safety - [1998-1999]
* International Lecture Tours - [1996-present]
* Established/Operates Worldwide Pilot Hotline [1987 - present]
Mary Nash Stoddard, author of Deadly Deception - Story of Aspartame, [Odenwald 1998], can be reached at: Aspartame Consumer Safety Network - P.O. Box 2001 - Frisco TX 75034
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phenylalanine, 50% of the aspartame molecule, uses the same active transport channel as tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier, and, interferes with the production of serotonin.
Latest scientific study on Serotonin - the neurotransmitter phenylalanine in aspartame suppresses:
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
March 4, 2006
Serotonin May Play Role In Hardening Of The Arteries
A less active brain serotonin system is associated with early hardening of the arteries, according to a study presented today by University of Pittsburgh researchers at the 64th Annual Scientific Conference of the American Psychosomatic Society in Denver. These findings, which are the first to establish a link between serotonin messages in the brain and atherosclerosis, could lead to an entirely new strategy for preventing heart disease and stroke, say the researchers.
"Many of the known risk factors for heart disease and stroke -- high blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, smoking and lack of exercise -- can, to some extent, be controlled by our lifestyle choices," said Matthew F. Muldoon, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "Until now, no one had studied the possibility that brain abnormalities could explain why some people make these poor lifestyle choices and have multiple risk factors for heart disease."
In the study being presented today, which included 244 adult volunteers between the ages of 30 and 55 years, researchers measured serotonergic activity using a pharmacological approach and carotid artery thickness using ultrasonography. At the time of testing, participants were free of clinically evident vascular disease. Yet, those with low levels of serotonergic function were more likely to have thickening of the carotid artery than those with higher levels.
"If, through further studies, we can establish that risk factors for heart disease and stroke are, in part, controlled by the serotonin systems in the brain, it could open a whole new avenue for preventing heart disease and stroke," said Dr. Muldoon.
Serotonin is a type of neurotransmitter, a chemical that sends messages between neurons in the brain. It is thought to play an important role in the regulation of mood, appetite and blood pressure. Previous studies by Dr. Muldoon and colleagues have found that people who get little exercise, are overweight, have high blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol have low levels of serotonergic function. A number of research studies have established a link between serotonin and mood. However, until now, the relationship between the serotonin system and atherosclerosis had remained unstudied.
National Institute of Mental Health Statistics on Mental Health Conditions that may be triggered or exacerbated by low levels of the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which phenylalanine in aspartame blocks:
Mental Disorders in America
Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.1 When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people.2Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 — who suffer from a serious mental illness.1 In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for ages 15-44.3 Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. Nearly half (45 percent) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for 2 or more disorders, with severity strongly related to comorbidity.1
In the U.S., mental disorders are diagnosed based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV).4
Mood disorders include major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder.
Approximately 20.9 million American adults, or about 9.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year, have a mood disorder.1
The median age of onset for mood disorders is 30 years.5
Depressive disorders often co-occur with anxiety disorders and substance abuse.5
Major Depressive Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15-44.3
Major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.1
While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5
Major depressive disorder is more prevalent in women than in men.6
Symptoms of dysthymic disorder (chronic, mild depression) must persist for at least two years in adults (one year in children) to meet criteria for the diagnosis. Dysthymic disorder affects approximately 1.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.1 This figure translates to about 3.3 million American adults.2
The median age of onset of dysthymic disorder is 31.1
Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.1
The median age of onset for bipolar disorders is 25 years.5
In 2002, 31,655 (approximately 11 per 100,000) people died by suicide in the U.S.7,8
More than 90 percent of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder, most commonly a depressive disorder or a substance abuse disorder.9
The highest suicide rates in the U.S. are found in white men over age 85.8
Four times as many men as women die by suicide8; however, women attempt suicide two to three times as often as men.10
Approximately 2.4 million American adults, or about 1.1 percent of the population age 18 and older in a given year,11 have schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia affects men and women with equal frequency.12
Schizophrenia often first appears in men in their late teens or early twenties. In contrast, women are generally affected in their twenties or early thirties.12
Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias (social phobia, agoraphobia, and specific phobia).
Approximately 40 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 18.1 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have an anxiety disorder.1
Anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with depressive disorders or substance abuse.1
Most people with one anxiety disorder also have another anxiety disorder. Nearly three-quarters of those with an anxiety disorder will have their first episode by age 21.5 5
Approximately 6 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 2.7 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have panic disorder.1
Panic disorder typically develops in early adulthood (median age of onset is 24), but the age of onset extends throughout adulthood.5
About one in three people with panic disorder develops agoraphobia, a condition in which the individual becomes afraid of being in any place or situation where escape might be difficult or help unavailable in the event of a panic attack.12
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Approximately 2.2 million American adults age 18 and older, or about 1.0 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have OCD.1
The first symptoms of OCD often begin during childhood or adolescence, however, the median age of onset is 19.5
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Approximately 7.7 million American adults age 18 and older, or about 3.5 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have PTSD.1
PTSD can develop at any age, including childhood, but research shows that the median age of onset is 23 years.5
About 30 percent of Vietnam veterans experienced PTSD at some point after the war.13 The disorder also frequently occurs after violent personal assaults such as rape, mugging, or domestic violence; terrorism; natural or human-caused disasters; and accidents.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Approximately 6.8 million American adults, or about 3.1 percent of people age 18 and over, have GAD in a given year.1
GAD can begin across the life cycle, though the median age of onset is 31 years old.5
Approximately 15 million American adults age 18 and over, or about 6.8 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have social phobia.1
Social phobia begins in childhood or adolescence, typically around 13 years of age.5
Agoraphobia involves intense fear and anxiety of any place or situation where escape might be difficult, leading to avoidance of situations such as being alone outside of the home; traveling in a car, bus, or airplane; or being in a crowded area.5
Approximately 1.8 million American adults age 18 and over, or about 0.8 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have agoraphobia without a history of panic disorder.1
The median age of onset of agoraphobia is 20 years of age.5
Specific phobia involves marked and persistent fear and avoidance of a specific object or situation.
Approximately 19.2 million American adults age 18 and over, or about 8.7 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have some type of specific phobia.1
Specific phobia typically begins in childhood; the median age of onset is seven years.5
The three main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.
Females are much more likely than males to develop an eating disorder. Only an estimated 5 to 15 percent of people with anorexia or bulimia14 and an estimated 35 percent of those with binge-eating disorder15 are male.
In their lifetime, an estimated 0.5 percent to 3.7 percent of females suffer from anorexia, and an estimated 1.1 percent to 4.2 percent suffer from bulimia.16
Community surveys have estimated that between 2 percent and 5 percent of Americans experience binge-eating disorder in a 6-month period.15,17
The mortality rate among people with anorexia has been estimated at 0.56 percent per year, or approximately 5.6 percent per decade, which is about 12 times higher than the annual death rate due to all causes of death among females ages 15-24 in the general population.18
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD, one of the most common mental disorders in children and adolescents, also affects an estimated 4.1 percent of adults, ages 18-44, in a given year.1
ADHD usually becomes evident in preschool or early elementary years. The median age of onset of ADHD is seven years, although the disorder can persist into adolescence and occasionally into adulthood.5
Autism is part of a group of disorders called autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), also known as pervasive developmental disorders. ASDs range in severity, with autism being the most debilitating form while other disorders, such as Asperger syndrome, produce milder symptoms.
Estimating the prevalence of autism is difficult and controversial due to differences in the ways that cases are identified and defined, differences in study methods, and changes in diagnostic criteria. A recent study reported the prevalence of autism in 3-10 year-olds to be about 3.4 cases per 1000 children.19
Autism and other ASDs develop in childhood and generally are diagnosed by age three.20
Autism is about four times more common in boys than girls. Girls with the disorder, however, tend to have more severe symptoms and greater cognitive impairment.19,20
AD affects an estimated 4.5 million Americans. The number of Americans with AD has more than doubled since 1980.21
AD is the most common cause of dementia among people age 65 and older.22
Increasing age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's. In most people with AD, symptoms first appear after age 65. One in 10 individuals over 65 and nearly half of those over 85 are affected.23 Rare, inherited forms of Alzheimer's disease can strike individuals as early as their 30s and 40s.24
From the time of diagnosis, people with AD survive about half as long as those of similar age without dementia.
NIH Publication No. 06-4584
Mary Nash Stoddard, Founder
Aspartame Consumer Safety Network and Pilot Hotline
[Promoting FDA Recall of Aspartame - since 1987]
P.O. Box 2001 - Frisco, TX 75034 - U.S.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Breaking News on Food and Beverage in Asia Pacific
Indonesia consults on aspartame, sweetener use in food
By Dominique Patton
09/01/2007 - The Indonesian government is currently reviewing its laws on artificial sweeteners and will consider banning them from food if expert evidence suggests they present health risks, according to a report.
"We may remove artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame saccharin and cyclamate, from the Health Ministry's decree ... about allowable food additives," Husniah R.T. Akib, head of the country's food and drug authority (BPOM) told the Jakarta Post.
"We are looking at the various opinions around the world on these sweeteners. If stakeholders and people believe those three substitutes are health hazards, we will ban them," Husniah said.
The three sweeteners are permitted in food in the European Union and Codex Alimentarius, a set of internationally recognized food standards, also recognizes their safety. However within the Asia-Pacific region, Japan has banned aspartame and cyclamate while Malaysia prohibits cyclamate.
The use of aspartame as a sweetener was first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1981. But animal studies that were claimed to show a carcinogenic effect threw the sweetener's safety into doubt. These have however been criticized by several toxicologists and the EU food authority confirmed its safety last year. It is now the second most widely used artificial sweetener, after saccharin, contained in about 6,000 food products worldwide.
Both cyclamate and saccharin have also been linked to controversy, both banned by the FDA after studies linking it to cancer in animals but the FDA lifted its ban on saccharin in 1991.
The review in Indonesia is being carried out by the BPOM as well as the health and trade ministries and university experts. The food and beverage industry, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and several consumer groups are also involved in the process, according to the report.
It is expected to be completed later this month.
"In addition to Codex Alimentarius, we also refer to world agencies such as the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the FDA," Husniah told the paper.
The BPOM has already approved the sweeteners acesulfame-K, alitame, neotame and sucralose.
Mary Nash Stoddard, Founder
Aspartame Consumer Safety Network and Pilot Hotline
[Promoting FDA Recall of Aspartame - since 1987]
P.O. Box 2001 - Frisco, TX 75034 - U.S.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
-Hi Welcome to The Giving Zone, This is your host Bruce Painter.
-We are very fortunate today to have with us Celebrity and author Mary Nash Stoddard. In addition to being a News Anchor and Talk Show Host, she has been featured on 60 Minutes, Hardcopy, CBN News (700 Club), and BBC. Her topic is very timely for all of us, "How Eating Real Food, Not Artificial Food Will Help You Win in All Areas of Your Life."
Our special guest, Mary Nash Stoddard, is a food safety consultant, author (Deadly Deception Story of Aspartame) and wellness coach. She has very important and timely information for all of us. In addition to being a News Anchor and Talk Show Host, Mary has been featured on 60 Minutes, Hardcopy, CBN News (700 Club), and BBC. This high-profile consumer advocate earned international recognition through public appearances and media interviews as a pioneer of the burgeoning aspartame awareness campaign. Her multi-national lecture tours garner international media attention and standing ovations wherever she goes. Audiences learn proactive strategies for being a part of the solution, instead of helpless victims. Her message: "Eat real food," not artificial food.
First Segment of Questions
1. Mary, You are totally passionate about your work. It comes through as a genuine passion. Would you tell us about your passion in your work to help all of us improve our health?
A. Through personal experience from adverse reactions of close family members and my own life threatening blood disorder from aspartame poisoning, I determined to use my abilities, as an investigative journalist, to find out why the USFDA was insisting this was a 'safe' food additive, when I knew firsthand it was not! The answers I found in 1986 absolutely astounded me!
2. Q. What is the most important fact you want people to learn from your message?
A. "Eat REAL food!" Don't accept "fake" products like aspartame, neotame, msg, rbgh, etc. that falsely masquerade as "food."
3. Q. What do you tell people to drink when they want a beverage at work, with meals, etc.?
A. Drink water. Why should we think of re-hydration as dessert? Water is free at restaurants and far better for us as a beverage. Think of coffee, tea, fruit juice as a "treat" instead of something you reach for many times during the day. Start every day with a glass of water - then, if you want coffee or tea, have those after you've had your water. Try drinking all beverages without sweeteners of any kind.
4. Q. Mary, You do very important volunteer work connected to your work. What motivates you most to volunteer?
A. I believe one of the most important reasons we are on this planet is to help our fellow human beings. I grew up in a small town where everyone helped everyone else. I've just carried that feeling of "service" over into my adult life. It's a part of me and who I am. I don't think I could sleep at night if I didn't.
5. Q. Talk about what issues of health and wellness are doing to our economy.
A. Illness and disease are devastating our economy. The issue of aspartame related illness in the workplace is huge. Think about the loss of productivity created when workers have aspartame-induced migraine headaches. It's been proven that aspartame [the substance I know most about] is capable of causing at least five types of cancers [brain/uterine/mammary/pancreatic/kidney] plus lymphoma, leukemia and death. Treatment, of people who have these types of cancers, is done at enormous cost to society. And, these cancers from aspartame are preventable! In my mind, the key to all our health problems is not more money to find a "cure." We already know what can cause these cancers. The key is "Prevention."
6. Would you give other examples of how poor food choices effect our pocket books and the welfare of our careers and businesses?
A. We are affected by the poor food choices of others, since our Taxes are used to treat their illness, pay their disability payments, for example. We are affected if a pilot, or driver of a vehicle crashes a plane or truck, etc., from having an aspartame-induced seizure. We are affected in many ways by this sweetener being allowed to remain on the market.
7. How about our relationships – How do our food choices effect our marriages, our friendships, our family.
A. The Phenylalanine, which is 50% of the aspartame molecule, blocks production of Serotonin, the neurotransmitter which performs the following functions in the human body: Regulates Menstrual Cycles in females; Is Responsible for our Mood Levels; Regulates Sleep Patterns and Function. Severe blockage of Serotonin production for a prolonged length of time, can precipitate Mental Illness; Learning Disabilities and misfiring of synapses in the brain. It can drastically alter the function of the Central Nervous System in children and adults.
8.. Q. What surprises you about people's resistance to eat well?
A. I am amazed at the number of people who drive fancy cars, live in beautiful homes, think nothing of spending several hundred dollars a week in fancy restaurants, who think buying "organic" foods is too expensive because they cost a little more!
Friday, April 8, 2011
Hotline gets warnings about pilots and aspartame
Jennifer Tryon, CTV Food Specialist
Over the past eight years, sporadic warnings from consumer groups have appeared in Canadian aviation magazines, suggesting airline pilots call a hotline. There, they can confidentially report problems they've been having from eating or drinking the artificial sweetener aspartame.
"We've had hundreds and maybe thousands of calls that are pilot-related," said Mary Nash Stoddard, who has answered the Aspartame Pilots Hotline for more than a decade from her home in Dallas, Texas.
Stoddard is the founder of the Aspartame Consumers Safety Network, a group she founded in 1987, following her husband's death from brain cancer.
CTV News discovered the hotline number in a Health Canada Access to Information request. It was buried in a document submitted to Health Canada in 1995, warning health officials about the risks pilots may be under by consuming aspartame. The document warned of more than 90 symptoms that could be attributed to aspartame. More disturbingly, it also warned that pilots could suffer grand mal seizures in the cockpit after consuming the artificial sweetener.
In a letter obtained by CTV News, one Transport Canada doctor blames aspartame for a former Air Canada pilot’s grand mal seizure. The doctor fought his own department to have the pilot's licence reinstated. The doctor states: "Since his grounding, [the pilot] has eliminated foods containing aspartame... He has not experienced any further episodes of vision disturbances..."
One former Air Canada pilot told CTV News he saw memos on a bulletin board suggesting pilots not consume diet drinks. There was no scientific proof attached, just a warning.
So why aspartame and why pilots?
Some believe it's a coincidence. But others, such as Stoddard, say the amino acids that make up the sweetener, phenylalanine and aspartic acid, cause a reaction in the brain at high altitudes. The reaction can lead to hypoxia, also called "the bends," and sometimes seizure.
Aspartame is made up of two amino acids that form methanol ester, which becomes the substance known as Nutrasweet or Equal. It's 180 times sweeter than sugar and safe for diabetics. Repeated studies have found it to be safe.
Pilots are typically health-conscious and often choose to drink diet drinks to stay hydrated in the air and keep their weight down. Many say the reports on aspartame have been anecdotal in nature. The hundreds who call Stoddard's hotline every year are considered to be misdiagnosing themselves or part of a radical online movement to ban aspartame.
But Haynes Dunn, a former U.S. Air Force and Continental Airlines pilot, now living in Texas City, Texas, believes aspartame cost him his career. In 1990, he suffered a grand mal seizure which resulted in automatic termination of his flying status. Dunn says he's not epileptic and only has seizures when he ingests foods containing the sweetener.
"I've never had an abnormal EEG [brain scan]," says Dunn who, until he started using diet drinks to lose weight, boasted a clean bill of health. "I can't prove it one way or another. But all I know is that all my problems started once I started using diet drinks that were sweetened with aspartame."
Dunn says he believes that, ironically, the diet drinks he drank to keep his weight down to ensure he didn't lose his pilot's licence ended up costing him his licence.
"What I feel like I did was, basically, I committed occupational suicide," Dunn says.
Dunn says being grounded cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars in income, and contributed to his divorce. He says he now refuses to ingest aspartame of any kind and often has to carefully read labels on some foods and drink to ensure it's not in them.
Dunn is just one pilot CTV News found who had suffered seizures and attributed them to aspartame use. Two former Air Canada pilots wouldn't talk on the record. One said it was because he was still flying and didn't want to jeopardize his licence. But Dunn wanted to talk about the problems he's had with the sweetener.
Dunn took part in a clinical test to gauge his reaction to aspartame. He ingested 12 cans of diet cola and was seizure-free. However, he did break out in a rash.
Health Canada is firm in its decision that aspartame is safe in average amounts. Some studies show it would take 16 cans of diet cola for aspartame to become harmful.
John Salminen, Health Canada chief of the Chemical Health Hazards Division, said: "We don't rule out the possibility that there are individuals who cannot tolerate aspartame, I mean that is a possibility."
One in 16,000 people has a known intolerance to aspartame, suffering from phenyketonuria (PKU). For people with PKU, ingesting aspartame can bring on muscle and neurological problems, and they should avoid it. For everyone else, Health Canada suggests moderation. It would take 16 cans a day of diet cola with aspartame to cause any harm.
Aspartame Pilots Hotline: (214) 387-4001
Hotline gets warnings about pilots and aspartame (http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20020818/aspartame_pilots_020818/)
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Steve Jobs Latest Victim in Long Line of Pancreatic Cancer Deaths in High Profile Individuals (Pancreatic Cancer Prevention - What Is the Most Likely Trigger for Pancreatic Cancer since 1982? Are Aspartame Users Most Vulnerable?)
Palm Beach Post art. by Steve Dorfman. certain forms of diabetes significantly increase the likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer. (With November already being National Diabetes Awareness Month, perhaps it's time for advocates of both diseases t
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