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Saturday, August 13, 2011

ASPARTAME CONSUMER SAFETY NETWORK AND PILOT HOTLINE FOUNDERS - JAS. TURNER & MARY STODDARD

The Aspartame / NutraSweet Fiasco

By James S. Turner

Many health-conscious people believe that avoiding aspartame, found in over 5000 products under brand names such as Equal and NutraSweet, can improve their quality of life. The history of this synthetic sweetener's approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including a long record of consumer complaints and the agency's demonstrated insensitivity to public concern, suggests they're right.

In October 1980 the Public Board of Inquiry (PBOI) impaneled by the FDA to evaluate aspartame safety found that the chemical caused an unacceptable level of brain tumors in animal testing. Based on this fact, the PBOI ruled that aspartame should not be added to the food supply.

This ruling capped 15 years of regulatory ineptitude, chicanery and deception by the FDA and the Searle drug company, aspartame's discoverer and manufacturer (acquired by Monsanto in 1985), and kicked off another two decades of maneuvering, manipulating and dissembling by FDA, Searle and Monsanto.

In 1965, a Searle scientist licked some of a new ulcer drug from his fingers and discovered the sweet taste of aspartame. Eureka! Selling this chemical as a food additive to hundreds of millions of healthy people every day would mean many more dollars than limited sales to the much smaller group of ulcer sufferers.

Searle, a drug company with little experience in food regulation, began studies to comply with the law — but which failed to do so. Its early tests of the substance showed it produced microscopic holes and tumors in the brains of experimental mice, epileptic seizures in monkeys, and was converted by animals into dangerous substances, including formaldehyde.

In 1974, however, in spite of the information in its files, the FDA approved aspartame as a dry-foods additive. But the agency also made public for the first time the data supporting a food-additive decision. This data was subsequently reviewed by renowned brain researcher John Olney from Washington University in St. Louis, and other scientists.

Dr. Olney discovered two studies showing brain tumors in rats and petitioned FDA for a public hearing. Consumer Action for Improved Foods and Drugs (represented by the author of this piece) also petitioned for a public hearing based on the approval process having been based on sloppy science and the product's having reportedly caused epileptic seizures in monkeys and possible eye damage.

Dr. Olney had already shown that aspartic acid (one aspartame component) caused microscopic holes in the brains of rats after each feeding. Aspartame also includes phenylalinine, which causes PKU in a small number of susceptible children, and methyl, or wood, alcohol which is neurotoxic in large amounts.

Faced with this array of possible health dangers, FDA granted the hearing requests. In lieu of withdrawing its aspartame approval, the agency prevailed on Searle to refrain from marketing the sweetener until after completion of the hearing process. it then proposed that a Public Board of Inquiry (PBOI) review the matter.

In July of 1975, as the FDA prepared for the PBOI, an FDA inspector conducted a routine review of the Searle's Skokie Ill., testing facilities and found many deviations from proper procedures. This report led the FDA commissioner to empanel a Special Commissioner's Task Force to review Searle's labs.

In December of 1975 the Task force reported serious problem with Searle research on a wide range of products, including aspartame. It found 11 pivotal studies conducted in a manner so flawed as to raise doubts about aspartame safety and create the possibility of serious criminal liability for Searle.

The FDA then stayed aspartame's approval. It also contracted, over serious internal objection, with a group of university pathologists (paid by Searle) to review most of the studies, set up a task force to review three studies and asked the U.S. Attorney for Chicago to seek a grand jury review of the monkey seizure study.

The pathologists paid by Searle only reviewed failure to properly report data and not the study's design or conduct. They found no serious problems. The FDA task force found Searle's key tumor safety study unreliable, but was ignored. The U.S. attorney let the statue of limitations run out, then (along with two aides) proceeded to join Searle's law firm.

While these committees met, the FDA organized the PBOI. Searle, the petitioners and the FDA Bureau of Foods each nominated three members for the board and the FDA commissioner selected one member from each list. the board, which convened in January of 1980, rejected petitioners' request to include the commissioner's task force information in its deliberations. Still, in October 1980, based on its limited review, the board blocked aspartame marketing until the tumor studies could be explained. Unless the commissioner overruled the board, the matter was closed.

In November 1980, however, the country elected Ronald Reagan President. Donald Rumsfeld (former congressman from Skokie, former White House chief of staff, former secretary of defense and since January 1977 president of Searle) joined the Reagan transition team. A full court press against the board decision began.

In January 1981 Rumsfeld told a sales meeting, according to one attendee, that he would call in his chips and get aspartame approved by the end of the year. On January 25th, the day the new president took office, the previous FDA commissioner's authority was suspended, and the next month, the commissioner's job went to Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes.

Transition records do not show why the administration chose Hayes, a professor and Defense Department contract researcher. In July Hayes, defying FDA advisors, approved aspartame for dry foods — his first major decision. In November 1983 the FDA approved aspartame for soft drinks — Hayes' last decision.

In November 1983 Hayes, under fire for accepting corporate gifts, left the agency and went to Searle's public-relations firm as senior medical advisor. Later Searle lawyer Robert Shapiro named aspartame NutraSweet. Monsanto purchased Searle. Rumsfeld received a $12 million bonus. Shapiro is now Monsanto president.

Shortly after the FDA soft-drink approval, Searle began test marketing, and complaints began to arrive at the FDA — of such reactions as dizziness, blurred vision, headaches, and seizures. The complaints were more serious than the agency had ever received on any food additive, At the same time, scientists began looking more closely at this manufactured chemical sweetener.

In 1985, the FDA asked the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to review the first 650 complaints (there are now over 10,000). CDC found that the symptoms in approximately 25% of the complainants had stopped and then restarted, corresponding with their having stopped and then restarted, either purposely or by accident, aspartame consumption.

The CDC also identified several specific subjects whose symptoms stopped and started as they stopped and started consuming aspartame. The FDA discounted the report. The day the FDA released the CDC report, Pepsi Cola — having obtained an advance copy — announced its switch to aspartame with a worldwide media blitz.

Former White House Chief of Staff Rumsfeld owed a debt of gratitude to former White House confidante and Rumsfeld friend Donald Kendal, Pepsi's chairman. The Pepsi announcement and aggressive marketing (millions of gumballs, a red and white swirl, tough contracts) made NutraSweet known in every home.

At the same time, according to data released in 1995, human brain tumors like those in the animal studies rose 10% and previously benign tumors turned virulent. Searle and FDA's deputy commissioner said the data posed no problem. Two years later this same FDA official became vice president of clinical research for Searle.

From 1985 to 1995, researchers did about 400 aspartame studies. They were divided almost evenly between those that gave assurances and those that raised questions about the sweetener. Most instructively, Searle paid for 100% of those finding no problem. All studies paid for by non-industry sources raised questions.

Given this record, it is little wonder that many health-conscious people believe avoiding NutraSweet improves their quality of life. If and when a scientific consensus concludes that aspartame puts some, if not all, of its consumers at risk, it will be much too late. The point is to eat safely now. Remember: the brain you save may be your own.

James S. Turner, Esq., is a partner in the 27-year-old Washington, D.C. consumer-interest law firm of Swankin and Turner. He is the author of The Chemical Feast: The Nader Report on the Food and Drug Administration, Making Your Own Baby Food, and a number of law journal and popular media articles.

Courtesy STODDARDS POV:  http://marystod.blogspot.com/
{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }
Jeff July 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I have never looked at the facts but have not been happy with the taste of these products. I never started using these products because of the taste they have. I always said to people who drink theses products a lot, " cant you taste that"? They usually respond
" taste what?" The foul chemical taste from your drink. I think the more you use these foul products , the more you get used to the taste and might even get hooked on them. I know plenty of people hooked on diet soft drinks, think it is these chemicals? I do but I have nothing to support it. I just support it by what i see every day . People hear no sugar or loose weight and they flock like sheep, it will never change. People are to lazy and or content to do any investigating of there own. If as a nation we keep this attitude with all things we will loose control of it all cause nobody will care enough to find out or do anything about it. The government lies, about everything. It is set up that way and the people who lie make the rules of how to lie and get away with it. I for one am going to be more involved when it comes to anything that is in my food or drink, cause the health and health problems in this nation are getting worse not better and there are reasons for it.

REPLY

Victoria Hammond June 22, 2011 at 1:22 am

Just found this site, after being given an apparently dead stevia plant, which I am watering, because the leaves have not wilted, are still green, and I may be able to save it, and will plant it. For many years, I avoided aspartame, found that it was causing terrible problems in many people, and know that the corruption in government is crimes against humanity, and we do not charge them, they are given bonuses in the millions while killing us with their lies. Monsanto is evil, and needs to be dismantled, to start with. Searles as well. let us take back our government. feed our children safely, and stop their evil.

REPLY

Becca May 31, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I drank aspartame, which was in the soft drink, Tab, for years as my mother encouraged it to control my weight. But, frankly it never did. Over time, a switched to non-soft drinks like tea and sweetened my tea with just a tad of Equal. One packet was last several days. But, that also had problems, even with the tiny amount I consumed daily.

At first there were headaches, followed by blurred vision. I couldn't see with my glasses, and I couldn't see without them. And, the headaches remained. Even changes in eye glass prescriptions, didn't help. When I read an online article by a former nurse about aspartame, I wondered if that was the reason for both my headaches and my blurred vision. Looking up aspartame at the National Library of Medicine, TOXNET data bases, I found the Hazardous Substances Data Bank and traced the metabolites (break down process). And just as Betty had written, aspartame breaks down ultimately to an ant poison in our bodies.

Trashing aspartame and never purchasing anything containing it again, really helped. My vision problems cleared up to age-related rather than poison related (I still need glasses for reading, but not always for driving). The headaches disappeared. And, my weight problem, well it's still there. I have to watch what and how much I eat, and I have to exercise constantly to maintain, otherwise I gain.

I never went back to sugar, but avoided artificial sweeteners like aspartame, and others created in a chemical laboratory. The new one which is stealthily put into sweetened foods (even some organic foods) is Neotame. No testing for human or animal health problems. No labeling. The reason: Monsanto makes the product and their lobbyist/vice president is in charge of food safety at the U.S. FDA. Michael Taylor, appointed by the first President Herbert Walker Bush and Dan Quayle seems to have a lifetime position at the FDA making policy and keeping their products on the market regardless of the studies coming in from around the world, and regardless of other countries banning their products and genetically modified agriculture, all created by Monsanto. The FDA does NOT protect our health. They protect corporate wealth.

REPLY

Lois May 13, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I have found out the hard way to avoid Aspertame. I was drinking a diet drink daily that was processed with Aspertame along with diet desserts that contained Aspertame. I lost the use of my left arm and quit the Aspertame use. A couple of years later I forgot that Crystal Light contained Aspertame and drank quite a bit of it. I started having symptoms of a heart attack, went to the ER and was told they couldn't find anything. I asked myself what I had done differently and remembered the episode that I had before. Cut out the Crystal Light and all symptoms disapeared. I shudder to think what might have happened to me had I not discontinued the Aspartame usage.

REPLY

Sheila de Koekkoek February 21, 2011 at 11:46 am

Alarmed by the corruption of organisations the world relies on. Wonderful to get all this information to back up the fact that we have long known that Aspartame was dangerous. I would like to know how safe Stevia is. I see this webiste is Stevia.net but there is no information on Stevia.

REPLY

Jenny February 18, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Just wish more people had enough ambition to care and know about all of these terrible things that so greatly affect every single one of us in so many ways. However, it seems like the more people who do know the truth & try to help educate people on the truths behind the FDA and the whole government, and it's crude operations, the less interested people are becoming in the various topics and issues and as a result they then shy away from getting involved. I guess it's just easier to ignore it all, take a few prescription pills, keep going to the doctor (who is only practicing, yes practicing, and on them at that!) and continue life as they know it- because after all… there is nothing they can do about it, right? People are getting so sick in the world and it all is caused mainly by things like this and they don't even recognize that we are the only ones who can do something about it, I hope people choose to get more involved in the very near future because the human race has become it's own worst enemy, and we don't need any more enemies. I really appreciate it articles like this one where people who do know the truth choose to speak up and tell the facts of the whole story and not just parts of it that alter their whole perception of the issue at hand. THIS IS HUGE, IT AFFECTS US ALL, IT IS A SERIOUS MEDICAL RISK, it's the gov't saying, go ahead, give everyone a small dose of poison in all kinds of things they already like to consume, tell them it isn't a risk, collect money, collect money, collect money, create more opportunities to collect money some more, and it just goes on and on. How do these assholes sleep at night, don't they have kids? Do they even consider using this crap in their daily diet…. I bet none of them do, I bet none of them have even considered it…..



Friday, August 12, 2011

Sugarcane v. High Fructose Corn Syrup? Which Will Win? Stakes Are High in Legal Battle.

Dublin Dr Pepper pits itself as David vs. Goliath against big Dr Pepper
Teresa Gubbins, Pegasus News
Dr Pepper Bottling Company of Dublin pits itself as the little David vs. the big Goliath in its response to the federal lawsuit filed by Plano-based Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc.

This is the lawsuit Dr P filed on June 30 to terminate its licensing agreement with Dublin Dr Pepper, to get them to stop using the "Dublin Dr Pepper" name and stop selling Dublin Dr P on their website.

Dublin Dr Pepper's response, issued on August 9, accuses Dr Pepper Snapple of being inconsistent. To wit:
  • Before filing the lawsuit, Dr Pepper Snapple's corporate website provided links to Dublin Dr Pepper's website and toll-free number. (They've since taken it down.)
  • Dr Pepper Snapple hasn't sued other bottlers who also sell Dr Pepper online, in North Carolina and Missouri. (Uh-oh for those guys.)
  • Dr Pepper Snapple President and CEO Larry Young touted Dublin Dr Pepper in an interview, calling it "the original Dr Pepper formula with the Imperial Sugar in it," and saying that their following was "unbelievable."

Dublin Dr Pepper is sought by soda fanatics because it contains Imperial cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. It's incontestably delicious and should be available everywhere. The big Plano Dr Pepper even released a limited-edition made-with-sugar version last year for its anniversary, although they did manage to muck it up by supplementing the cane sugar with beet sugar.

One thing that Dublin Dr Pepper does not acknowledge is that some of its product did show up in Tom Thumb stores as recently as 2009. One consumer says he bought it there in 2008, and I still have two cans from a six-pack I bought at Tom Thumb in 2009. Doesn't it seem likely that Plano Dr Pepper may have spotted this contraband product in its own backyard?

Sugar in sodas is definitely coming back. The Throwback versions of Pepsi and Mountain Dew, which started out as a temporary item, are now available year-round. Dr Pepper Snapple may be slow to respond like the Goliath it is, but it seems likely they'll eventually start selling a sugar version year-round, too.

There was a rally on July 30 in Dublin, and there's now an I Support Dublin Dr Pepper Facebook page.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Marystod: "If a little guy tries to sue a big corporation, it's dubbed 'frivolous,' by media and the powers that be. Corporations can do it w/o retribution by media, etc. I was an expert witness for the Defense, when a big guy (Monsanto) sued a mom/pop dairy in Waco for labeling their product 'bovine growth hormone free.' Labels w/the words 'sugarfree' are used all the time and the sugar companies don't try to sue makers of those products! Torts were only 'reformed,' under our last President, in favor of the corporations and against the little guys. And, that's the way things work now! I've visited the Dublin plant several times and bought sodas there. They really are better and better for us than HFCS or Aspartame! Wake up and smell the sugarcane, Plano D.P. It may be the wave of the future passing you by!"


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Aspartame Diet Drinks Cause Wt. Gain in Peer-Reviewed Scientific Studies on Humans

Sweet Debate

Do artificial sweeteners contribute to rather than combat obesity?

By Trout Lowen

Drink diet soda. Switch to low-fat or no-fat products. Cut down on or eliminate sugar. People who are overweight, have diabetes, or have metabolic syndrome hear advice like this all the time. But is it the right advice?

Some say it isn't. Results from several large-scale population studies suggest that regular consumption of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose, particularly in diet soda, may actually contribute to rather than combat weight gain and type 2 diabetes.

No study so far has identified a direct causal link between artificial sweeteners and weight gain or diabetes, and proving one is difficult because there are so many confounding factors. But the positive association raises interesting questions: Do artificial sweeteners, most of which are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, increase our desire for more and sweeter foods? Do diet soda drinkers overestimate the number of calories they're saving and then eat more? Do artificial sweeteners somehow disrupt or alter the body's processes in ways we don't yet understand? Or are those who are prone to weight gain or who have a family history of diabetes more likely than others to consume diet soda?

Of Mice and Man
In late June, epidemiologists and nutritional immunologists from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio presented the results of two new studies at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association (ADA). One study found that artificially sweetened soft drink consumption was associated with increased waist circumference in elderly people. The second found aspartame raised glucose levels in diabetes-prone mice.

The human study tracked diet soda consumption and waist measurement in 474 participants in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging at enrollment and at three follow-up exams over 10 years. As a group, participants who consumed artificially sweetened soft drinks saw a 178 percent greater increase in waist circumference compared with those who did not, and those who consumed two or more beverages containing artificial sweeteners per day saw a 500 percent (or almost three times greater) increase. "That's quite a statistically significant trend," says Sharon P. Fowler, M.P.H., co-author of the study.

That study reinforced the results of Fowler and colleagues' earlier analysis of San Antonio Heart Study data published in Epidemiology in 2008 that looked at the relationship between consumption of beverages containing artificial sweeteners and weight gain. That analysis showed that subjects who were 25 to 64 years old at baseline who consumed more than 21 artificially sweetened beverages per week almost doubled their risk for obesity over the next seven to eight years, compared with nonconsumers, and that their adjusted body mass indices increased 47 percent more than those of nonusers.

Both of the San Antonio studies support the findings of an earlier analysis of data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in 2009. That analysis found artificial sweetener consumers were younger and heavier, and had a higher body mass index than nonconsumers, although the number of calories and the amount of fat, carbohydrates, and protein consumed was the same in both groups. Three other studies published in Circulation and Obesityin 2007 and 2008 also showed an association between consumption of artificially sweetened soda and the development of obesity and metabolic syndrome.

In the mouse study presented at the ADA meeting, 40 diabetes-prone mice were divided into two groups. Both were fed a high-fat diet. Half of the mice were also fed high doses of aspartame. After three months, the mice that were given aspartame weighed the same or slightly less than the control mice, had better lipid and triglyceride levels, and their nonesterified fatty acids were much lower, Fowler says. But their fasting glucose values were 37 percent higher. In addition, 69 percent of the mice fed aspartame became hyperglycemic compared with 31 percent of the control group.

Other Explanations

But could artificial sweeteners be changing human chemistry? Some researchers think they may increase consumers' desire for ever-sweeter tastes. As a group, artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar—saccharine is 300 times sweeter than sugar, aspartame 180 times sweeter, and sucralose 600 times sweeter. Some experiments have shown that sweet taste, whether it's derived from sugar or artificial sweeteners, increases appetite. One study found drinking aspartame-sweetened water increased appetite in normal-weight adult males, but swallowing an aspartame capsule did not. In another study, aspartame, saccharine, and acesulfame potassium were all associated with an increased motivation to eat more.

Other research suggests that artificial sweeteners do not provide the same food reward that natural sweeteners do, and that may contribute to increased appetite and, as a result, weight gain. There are also other variants on theories about behavior that may explain the study results. People may overestimate the calorie-saving benefits of artificially sweetened foods and eat more as a result. Study subjects may over-report their consumption of artificially sweetened soda when they are really drinking sugar-sweetened soda. Those mostly likely to drink diet soda may already have difficulty maintaining weight or have a family history of obesity or diabetes.

What about Sugar?
Although there is concern that artificial sweeteners may contribute to obesity and the diseases associated with it, there's clear evidence that sugar, particularly as it's consumed in sweetened beverages, is a major contributor to weight gain and the development of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. A recent meta-analysis of studies involving nearly 20,000 people in four countries published in Diabetes Care in 2010 found sugar consumption was associated with development of both metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. In a lecture made popular on YouTube, Robert H. Lustig, M.D., professor of pediatrics in the division of endocrinology at the University of California, makes the case that sugar consumption is the main cause of obesity and diabetes and that it ought to be considered a toxin. Yet multiple studies have shown consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages including soft drinks, fruit drinks, ice teas, and energy and vitamin water drinks is rising in the United States and around the world. Sugar-sweetened beverages are now the primary source of added sugars in this country.

 MM

Trout Lowen is a Minneapolis freelance writer.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Aspartame in Gum Can Cause Cancer

CHEWING GUM CAN BE DEADLY - READ CAREFULLY:

Chewing gum is probably the most efficient and potentially toxic delivery system in humans for the Aspartame molecule, w/its 10% Methanol breakdown product, which converts in the body, into deadly Formaldehyde, embalming fluid, Formic Acid and DKP, a known brain tumor agent. Sublingual absorption is one of the most powerful ways to get a substance directly into the bloodstream - bypassing the usual digestive filtration system functions that cleanse and purge the body of harmful, unwanted substances.

Virtually all (even those with sugar) commercially-produced chewing gums now contain Aspartame/Neotame (super clone of ASP). If you are a user of chewing gums - please check out the ones sold primarily in health food stores/markets or on the Internet. Stevia gum and those containing Xylitol, for example, are considered by this editor to be safest of all.

Don't be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking since one doesn't eat or drink chewing gum, it is a perfectly benign habit. That, can be a 'dead wrong' assumption.

Please share this vital information and our Stoddard's POV Blog with everyone you know. (Especially Pilots & Flight Attendants as well as Parents). -- In Health & Happiness, Mary Nash Stoddard/author Deadly Deception Story of Aspartame (Odenwald Press)

• https://twitter.com/#!/marystod
• http://www.marystod.blogspot.com/
• http://www.aspartamesafety.com/
http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/2119604-cancer-risks-from-aspartame-in-studies
  

Recent (2011-2012) Radio Interviews w/Mary S.:
http://ppjg.me/2012/02/10/ts-radio-with-special-guest-mary-nash-stoddard-on-aspartame/
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/theorganicview/2011/04/05/author-mary-nash-stoddard-deadly-deception-story-of-aspartame •<http://www.blogtalkradio.com/theorganicview/2011/04/05/author-mary-nash-stoddard-deadly-deception-story-of- aspartame>
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/theorganicview/2012/01/18/mary-nash-stoddard-what-you-need-to-know-about-aspartame

VIDEOS on Youtube.com <http://Youtube.com> :
http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/artificial-sweeteners-and-other-food-substitutes-dangerous-your-health
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELgW4KBY-o4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2sVe8UIEhU&list=FLLJU6TCX2cZBOqgSQt0nBig&index=1&feature=plpp_video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgBiw_Il5YM&list=PL816E179E4563EA4B&index=1&feature=plpp_video
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mVA03IzsFM&feature=related
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-vO8aY-I4Y&feature=related
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpoAtwVyzZI&feature=related
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzJ6ZbQN9mY&feature=endscreen



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Thyroid Disease and Aspartame - Athlete's and Former U.S. President's Grave's Dz. (Hyperthyroidism)

ASPARTAME & THYROID DISEASE DOCUMENTED
(OP ED Article submitted to Dallas Morning News)
Aspartame Consumer Safety Network's efforts to educate the consuming public and healthcare professionals is well known, and documented on our website: www.aspartamesafety.com. Now, virtually every web site on the Internet which features information about the adverse effects of aspartame and Neotame is using our original research (at U.T. Southwestern Medical School, etc.) to support their writings. Without affirmation, in most  cases, and with added editorial commentary in many, but at least our educational efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Although we are Dallas-based, our work has been featured by media on five continents. As founder, I have conducted a multi-national lecture tour and been paid as a visiting professor [the first non-M.D. to address the class] locally at U.T. Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.

The threat of illness from consumption of the diet sweetener, aspartame, is real and has been felt by many locally and all around the world, as documented by our organization. Therefore, we appreciate the mention of adverse reactions in your interesting article. Thank you for including it as a result of your background research on this topic.

Please allow me to add: Aspartame Consumer Safety Network is not in a battle with Coca Cola, Pepsi, or any other manufacturer who uses the FDA approved sweetener in their product. Our efforts have been directed at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and their flawed [in this case at least] approval process.
All best regards,
Mary Nash Stoddard, Founder
Aspartame Consumer Safety Network and Pilot Hotline [since 1987]
http://www.aspartamesafety.com

P.S. I am sure you noticed the following wire story out this past week re: Texas Olympic's Reaction to Aspartame. He used our information to reverse his illness:


http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/athens/swimming/2004-06-10-dumais_x.htm

Posted 6/10/2004 10:03 PM     Updated 6/11/2004 1:04 PM

Disease diagnosis doesn't deter diver     By Vicki Michaelis, USA TODAY

ST. PETERS, Mo. - Justin Dumais was just so tired. Seven months ago, he
hardly could muster the energy for a shower, let alone for the 10-meter
dives he had been practicing more than half his life.

Justin Dumais, left, and his brother Troy compete during the 2004 Olympic
Team Diving Trials.    Photo By James A. Finley, AP

Initially, he thought he was overtraining. After two weeks, he went to his
doctor, who detected a high white-blood-cell count and sent him to a
specialist. The diagnosis: Graves' disease, which causes overproduction of
thyroid hormone.

Dumais, headed to the Athens Olympics in August after winning the 3-meter
synchronized event at this week's U.S. trials, was perplexed.

The disease most often strikes middle-aged women.
"A 25-year-old male elite athlete is about as far from the stereotypical
Graves patient as you can get," he says.

Now, he has his doctors baffled.
He began taking medication in February but continued doing his own research.
He found a nutritionist who suggested he cut aspartame, an artificial
sweetener found in products such as diet soda, from his diet.
In mid-March, he quit diet soda and his medication.
Now, Dumais feels so much better, he questions whether he really has Graves'
disease, which has no known cure.

He returned to the 10-meter board two weeks ago and will compete in the
individual platform finals Saturday
.
This isn't the tough part, he says. That came in January, when he and his
synchro partner, his brother Troy, had to do well enough at a World Cup to
earn the USA an Olympic spot in the event.

"If Troy and I weren't there, chances are we weren't going to bring back the
spot, and that was our event," Justin says.

The Dumais brothers, who are from Ventura, Calif., and train in The
Woodlands, Texas, have won the last three national titles in 3-meter
synchro. They are considered the USA's best chance for a diving medal in
Athens.

Before the critical World Cup, they decided to trim the difficulty of their
dives because of Justin's condition. Going into their final dive, they were
behind and had to improvise with moves they hadn't tried in a long time.

"We had to fake it," Justin says. "That was a true competitive moment
because we were down going into the last dive, and we knew we needed it. We
said, 'All right, this is the Olympics, right now.' And we wound up doing
the best dive of the competition."

They finished fourth at the World Cup, high enough to earn the spot.
Over the last seven months, Justin and Troy haven't trained together very
much. Neither considered it a handicap. Troy, a 2000 Olympian, continued
training for the individual events. He leads the men's springboard going
into tonight's finals.

"I have to do my dives, and I have to believe that he's going to be ready
when the time comes," Troy says.

Justin was ready this week. The duo won the 3-meter synchro event by such a
wide margin they didn't need their final dive for a winning point total.
****************************************************************

from article by Paul Newberry, AP reporter,  at end of this post:

"Justin had to overcome a debilitating thyroid condition that struck in
December, causing him to lose 15 pounds and making it difficult just getting
out of bed.

The condition was initially diagnosed as Graves disease, a serious illness
that also struck Olympic track star Gail Devers and would have prevented
Justin from joining the military.

But a change in diet cured the symptoms quicker than expected, so the
doctors are still trying to determine what went wrong. The illness also had
an unexpected benefit, bringing the brothers closer together.

"We've had to learn to trust each other the last couple of months because I
haven't been there physically," Justin said."
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These observations appear relevant to the occurrence of Graves disease
in both former President George Bush and his wife, Barbara.

(Extracts)  Case I :  A 34-year-od university professor (environmental
studies) developed classic primary hyperthyroidism
after she began using considerable amounts of products containing
aspartame-- specifically, 4-5 cans of a diet soda daily, four liters of
a diet cola weekly, 3-4 servings of diet ice cream a day, and ohter
products (gelatin; gum; breath mints).  Such consumption was
superimposed on her added capacity as a supervisor of aerobics classes
to attain "the mean, fit look". She had enjoyed excellent health until
then.

The patient suffered severe sweats and attacks of sinus tachycardia (up
to 180 beats per minute).  Other suggestive aspartame-realated features
included recent vascular headaches, bilateral decreased vision, dry
eyes, tinnitus, severe  dizziness, tremors, "numbness and shooting
pains in the arms and legs,"  confusion and memory loss,
slurred speech, extreme swings in mood (including thoughts of suicide
that never had been experienced previously), personality changes (almost
leaving her husband and children), a paradoxic gain of weight despite
her physical activity, itching, abdominal pain, thinning of the hair,
menstrual problems, and swelling of the lips, tongue and eyes.
She then evidenced a goiter.

She had been adopted by a couple unrelated to her parents.
Her biologic mother was diabetic.

She received propranolol and propylthiouracil.  Radioiodine therapy was
then recommended.   Since no search for "an environmental trigger" had
been attempted, this keen educator opted for a delay in order to review
the events preceding her illness.  She regarded a doctor's suggestion
that her hyperthyroidism has been caused largely by stress as "a
copout".

The only plausible factor that seemed pertinent was the considerable
use of aspartame-containing products.  Her extreme fatigue, headache,
swelling of the eyes, depression, tachycardia and several other
symptoms abated within a few days after abstaining from them.
The thyroid studies progressively improved, and normalized within three
months.  An "accidental retest" from drinking aspartame-sweetened tea
promptly precipitated most of her symptoms.
There was no recurrence over the ensuing two years notwithstanding her
cessation of all medication, continuing a full academic teaching
schedule and aerobics instruction, and rearing three children.

Case 2  This 39-year-old woman developed Graves disease after her
stepsister (Case 1).  She was an insulin-dependent diabetic who began
using aspartame products to avoid sugar.  Shortly thereafter, her blood
glucose concentrations became highly erratic, coupled with loss of
urinary bladder control (ascribed to diabetic neuropathy.)

The patient sought advice from her stepsister when the diagnosis of
hyperthyroidism was made.  A comparable clinical remission ensued after
abstaining from aspartame products, along with striking improvement of
her bladder function and diabetes control.  The latter are consistent
with my repeated experience that aspartame products can cause loss of
diabetes control, and aggravate or simulate diabetic retinopathy and
neuropathy. (1-4)

Case 3  A 43-year-old woman began ingesting two cans of aspartame
containing diet cola, one liter of another aspartame soda, one glass of
a dietetic mix, and one serving of an aspartame gelatin daily for two
years to avoid sugar because of noninsulin dependent diabetes.  She
experienced multiple symptoms five months later that resulted in the
loss of her job.  They included palpitations, tachycardia, unexplained
chest pains, severe headache, dizziness, two grand mal seizures,  (5)
paresthesias, slurred speech, "anxiety attacks,"
swelling of the tongue, and painful swallowing [dysphagia].

The diagnosis of Graves disease was subsequently made.
She then chanced to read an article citing comparable complaints in
persons having reactions to aspartame products.  Her symptoms improved
within weeks after avoiding them... and then disappeared.
They recurred one month after resuming aspartame, coupled with neck
discomfort and dysphagia attributed to "an overactive thyroid".

Case 4  A 54-year-old woman had consumed increasing amounts of
aspartame-containing products-- including 15 packets of a tabletop
sweetener in hot drinks daily.  She had been energetic until her health
"mysteriously deteriorated with a bewildering number of symptoms so
varied and strange that it didn't make sense".  She did not smoke or
drink alcohol.

The diagnosis of Graves disease was made.  She received methimazole and
propranolol, with improvement of her tachycardia.

The patient's other symptoms within the previous year included fatigue,
anxiety, headache, "fuzzy mind,"  depression, recurring abdominal pain,
tinnitus and insomnia.  She had gained weight, despite "light eating
habits" until losing weight when her hyperthyroidism became overt.

The contributory role of aspartame products came under suspicion by her
daughter, who had rarely used aspartame products, when she stayed with
the patient for four days after beginning treatment for Graves
disease.  After adding the tabletop sweetener and drinking diet colas,
she began to experience "extreme irritability which felt totally
irrational and uncontrollable," depression, tremors, panic attacks and
difficult breathing.  These symptoms disappeared when she returned to
her own home, but promptly recurred after purchasing the tabletop
sweetener.  "Then it clicked."  She and her mother promptly improved
after abstaining from aspartame products.

Case Reports: Prior Graves Disease
A 44-year-old executive developed headaches, blurred vision in both
eyes, and irritability ("being short with my staff and clients.")
These complaints began six months after consuming 2-3 cans of diet soda
and chewing five sticks of aspartame gum daily.  They abated after he
avoided such products -- only to recur predictably on eight separate
challenges.  A subtotal thyroidectomy for Graves disease has been done
in 1963.

A 49-year-old female realtor had been treated for Graves disease five
years previously.  She experienced palpitations, severe dizziness,
intense nausea, and an unexplained rise of blood pressure after
ingesting three cans of diet soda and other aspartame products daily.
Her symptoms disappeared within one month after stopping them.  They
promptly recurred on three separate challenges.

A 43-year-old nutritionist had been treated for Graves disease 20 years
previously.  She developed severe depression and visual problems for
the first time within two weeks after consuming 8-10 glasses of an
aspartame drink daily.
These complaints disappeared within two days after
avoiding the beverage.  She refused to ingest it again on a trial basis.

A 59-year-old female writer underwent two partial
thyroidectomies for Graves disease three decades previously, and then
received radioiodine therapy.  She suffered severe headaches, abdominal
pain, bloat, and diarrhea after beginning to ingest diet colas, a
tabletop sweetener containing aspartame (5-6 packets daily), and other
aspartame products.  These complaints subsided within two days after
avoiding them...only to recur within 30 minutes on two challenges....

Aspartame Consumption and Hyperthyroidism: Common Denominators

The occurrence of Graves disease in these patients while consuming
aspartame products is explainable by the cumulative effect of several
factors. These include (a) voluntary severe caloric restriction, (b)
increased energy demands relating to excessive exercise and other
physical activity, and (c) metabolic derangements caused by aspartame
and its metabolites.  The latter include changes in satiety,
alterations of neurotransmitter and hormonal homoestasis (insulin,
growth hormone, glucagon, cholecystokinin) by the amino acid components
of aspartame and their stereoisomers, and the effects of free methanol,
a metabolic poison. (2,3).

I previously emphasized the precipitation of Graves disease and
thyroiditis following voluntary severe caloric restriction to lose
weight, (7-8), especially with concomitantly increased physical
activity.

The vulnerability of two stepsisters to hyperthyroidism also may have
been influenced by their family history or past history of diabetes
mellitus.  It is widely recognized that diabetics have a greater
tendency to develop thyropathies.  Mention was made earlier that
aspartame products can aggravate diabetes and its complications. (1-4)

Possible Insights into a Presidential Disease

The affliction of former President George Bush and his wife with
primary hyperthyroidism intrigued the medical profession.

Public health sleuths sought some offending substance in their
environment, especially the contamination of water at several "First
Family" residences. Failure to uncover such an agent led many to regard
the occurrence of Graves disease in each spouse as coincidental.

The encounter of two biologically unrelated stepsisters who developed
Graves disease, as well as other aspartame reactors who became
hyperthyroid, justifies considering the etiologic or contributory role
of this chemical in the hyperthyroidism of President and Mrs. Bush.
Such an association appears to have validity of these reasons.
* There is information "from highly reliable sources" that they
frequently consumed aspartame in the form of
both beverages and a tabletop sweetener.
* Being highly conscious of their weight as public figures,
both spouses undoubtedly limited their caloric intake.
* The 66-year-old President took pride in continuing his athletic
activities.

WHAT ABOUT SUGAR SUBSTITUTES??

This is an excerpt from nutritionist, Ann Louise Gittleman's book, Your
Body Knows Best.....

"What about Sugar Substitutes? Since we know that sugar will elevate
insulin levels, creating the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart
disease, what about artificial sweeteners?

I remember well the story of Jan Smith, from Idea Today (September,
1991) who at 35 taught bench and low-impact aerobics and circuit
training.
She also drank a lot of diet soda sweetened with NutraSweet and  ate a
lot of sugar-free foods, also containing NutraSweet.
Although she seemed to be fine, Jan suddenly began gaining weight,
topping out at 30 pounds above her usual weight.

She began losing her hair, her skin broke out, and she suffered from
headaches, heart palpitations, and mood swings severe enough to be
suicidal. Her cholesterol sharply increased and she developed ear and
vision problems, shooting pains in her limbs and problems with her
menstrual cycle.  Jan worked out even harder to try to
combat the weight gain, but then her blood pressure shot up.

Doctors finally diagnosed Graves' disease and told her she had to have
her thyroid removed or she would die.
Fortunately, Jan had a background in environmental science.
She began to investigate, and discovered her body
lacked chromium, an essential mineral that aspartame (also known as
Equal and NutraSweet) removes from the body. She linked her symptoms,
including--surprisingly--her sudden weight gain, to the use of diet
foods laced with NutraSweet that she had
begun using in earnest about 18 months earlier.

Within a month of quitting the NutraSweet and all the products it was
found in, Jan's symptoms (and the extra weight) disappeared.
Many people, in an attempt to avoid sugar, use sugar substitutes.
Aspartame (known as NutraSweet and Equal) is an ingredient in more than
3,000 foods, including diet sodas and diet foods like sugar-free yogurt
and powdered drink mixes. Toothpaste, sugar-free gum, pudding, packaged
desserts, dietetic foods, sweets for diabetics, and just about any
product you can think of that used to have sugar in it now may have
aspartame instead.

Aspartame is a combination of three substances: the amino acid
phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol (wood alcohol).
Each of these has been known to cause serious side effects.

Phenylalanine, for example, lowers or blocks production of serotonin,
an amine that sends messages from the pineal gland in the brain. This
blockage is a potential cause of carbohydrate cravings, PMS symptoms,
insomnia, and mood swings.

In some circumstances, people may be getting excessively high levels of
methanol; it is estimated that on a hot day after exercising, if you
drink three 12 ounce cans of diet soda, you could easily be consuming
as much as eight times the Environmental Protection Agency's recommended
limits for methanol consumption.
[Thus, 600 mg aspartame gives 66 mg methanol,
which is 8.5 times the EPA daily limit for drinking water of 7.8 mg
daily methanol.]

Exercise can be a component in the dangers of aspartame. Jan, who now
avidly supports the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network (ACSN) in
Dallas, Texas aspartamesafety.com, pointed out that aspartame and its
breakdown products (including free-form wood alcohol) can race
through the system of very fit person who has a high metabolic rate.

When you work out, the activity of all your body systems
is intensified, and so are reactions to whatever is in the body at the
time. Ironically, it seems that fitness instructors are particularly
prone to drinking diet soda with NutraSweet in between classes,
and so may be in the most danger.

Far from being the answer to the sugar problem, aspartame has instead
spurred numerous complaints from unsuspecting consumers, which now
represent 80 - 85 percent of all food complaints registered with the
Food and Drug Administration. Among 93 different symptoms are
attributed to aspartame use, including dizziness, headaches, loss of
equilibrium, ear problems, hemorrhaging of the eyes, and visual
impairment.

The dangers of artificial sweeteners have become so widespread that the
Aspartame Consumer Safety Network now offers scientific information
and acts as a clearinghouse of information on adverse reactions. Three
Senate hearings have been conducted on the safety of aspartame, and the
Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in Washington, D.C.,
now lists it as the third-worst additive.
Since you never know how much you could be ingesting, I suggest you
completely avoid any foods with added NutraSweet
or any other artificial sweetener."

submitted by:
Mary Nash Stoddard, Founder
Aspartame Consumer Safety Network
email: marystod@airmail.net
http://www.aspartamesafety.com