Thursday, June 12, 2008

Aspartame promotes grand mal seizures, say health experts

If you eat or drink anything with aspartame/NutraSweet in it this is a must to read!


A nursing infant developed convulsions after his mother drank an aspartame-sweetened soft drink. A 19-year-old woman went into grand mal convulsions within minutes of chewing a piece of aspartame-flavored gum. A small amount of toxin can push the human body into near-fatal conditions, regardless of whether the toxin is considered “safe” and sold on grocery and convenience store shelves around the world. Aspartame, the artificial sweetener that often flavors sugar-free drinks and foods, has been known to induce convulsions and grand mal seizures in certain individuals. So why is it still on peoples’ shopping lists?

In 1987, scientists and aspartame-sensitive seizure patients made the government aware of the link between the consumption of aspartame and the onset of seizures and convulsions, reports Dr. H.J. Roberts in Aspartame (NutraSweet): Is It Safe. On November 3, 1987, the U.S. Senate held a hearing entitled “‘NutraSweet’ — Health and Safety Concerns.” In this hearing, people from a wide variety of occupations, including an Air Force pilot, told the Senate about their aspartame-induced grand mal seizures. These individuals reported that their seizures disappeared after abstaining from aspartame consumption.

By all ethical standards, the testimonials provided during this 1987 hearing — combined with the strong scientific evidence demonstrating the health dangers of aspartame — should have led to the banishment of aspartame-sweetened products from grocery shelves forever; yet, aspartame products are still abundant in our grocery stores and restaurants.

How aspartame damages human health
Aspartame is a synthetic chemical composed of the amino acids phenylalanine and aspartic acid. Each time you drink a diet soft drink or chew sugarless gum, you are feeding unhealthy doses of these amino acids into your system, according to Dr. James Howenstine in A Physicians Guide to Natural Health Products that Work.

These amino acids can bypass the blood-brain barrier, enabling them both to directly alter your neurological function. Your brain naturally contains phenylalanine, but phenylalanine in its solitary form without its companion amino acids is not normally a part of the human diet. Debra Lynn Dadd, author of Home Safe Home, believes this is where the health problems posed by aspartame begin. Aspartame consumption provides phenylalanine in excess of your brain’s normal level. According to James A. May in Miracle of Stevia, this state of excess phenylalanine lowers the seizure threshold, thereby making convulsions more likely.

Researchers know that a raise in brain phenylalanine levels ultimately increases the risk of seizures. This is true even for people without a history of non-aspartame induced seizures, such as the Air Force pilot who testified in the 1987 hearing. However, researchers are still debating the exact role of increased brain phenylalanine levels in inducing seizures. Although many researchers believe that increased brain phenylalanine levels directly cause seizures and convulsions, Dr. Blaylock writes in Excitotoxins that it is “more likely … the direct excitatory effect of the aspartate itself. Phenylalanine may act to potentiate this irritability.” Regardless of the precise method, the combined neurological effects of excess phenylalanine and aspartic acid make aspartame a dangerous ingredient.

Aspartame Marketing Gimmicks
Advertisements for aspartame commonly portray aspartame as a “healthy” alternative to sugar. Such advertising makes aspartame even more dangerous to consumers who are ignorant of the artificial sweetener’s potential side effects. Because of this deceptive advertising, people concerned about their health and the health of their families regularly use aspartame-sweetened products. Rather than switching to a truly healthy diet and exercising more often, people concerned with weight loss may use sugar-free foods sweetened with aspartame to refrain from extra calorie consumption.

True, they’re “watching their calories,” but they are also putting themselves at risk of suffering from several aspartame-associated health consequences, including insomnia, dehydration, migraines, seizures and brain tumors. Dr. Roberts illustrates with an anecdote about the malignant consequences suffered by consumers because of this deceptive advertising: “A two-year-old with fever suffered seizures within 10 minutes after chewing aspartame-sweetened acetaminophen … This consideration may be significant to health-conscious mothers who elect to give their infants health products containing aspartame rather than sugar (such as vitamins) in an effort to prevent tooth decay.”

Imagine the guilt of a poor parent who gives his or her child aspartame-sweetened medication in an effort to make the child healthy or keep the child’s teeth free of cavities only to have the child suffer or even die from a grand mal seizure. Aspartame’s deceptive advertising is truly inexcusable.

If you’ve been drinking diet sodas and chewing sugarless gum for decades and you haven’t been experiencing convulsions, then consider yourself lucky that you apparently lack the biological tendency that puts you at risk for aspartame-induced convulsions or grand mal seizures. Other individuals have not been so lucky. Seizures aside, however, you may not turn out to be as lucky in avoiding the other health problems commonly associated with aspartame. You can read about these other possible side effects along with stevia, an alternative to both aspartame and natural sugar, at NaturalNews’s aspartame and stevia archives. Don’t gamble with your body – you’re only given one.


Anonymous said...

This post is garbage.

Aspartame is perfectly safe used as directed in healthy people. First, all the misguided concern about aspartame has been wrongfully created by a combination of errors that started with the original Searle work, were perpetuated by a misguided aspartame internet conspiracy theory, and supported by two also wrongly designed 2006 and 2007 studies. In the eyes of misguided FDA evaluators of the original Searle work, there were tumor concerns evident in the original Searle safety study. Then the internet conspiracy theorists have kept this fable alive for twenty years. But those original results were simply false positives stemming from an error that nobody, even FDA, caught. The Searle work and everything since (including both highly quoted Soffritti et al (that is Rammazini), 2006 and 2007 studies) used a simple, yet wrong experimental design. They used control rats (fed no aspartame) and treated rats (fed different, graded doses of aspartame to get a dose response). The problem with this design is that it is simply improperly balanced. Even a high school science fair student can recognize this fact once it is made clear. Methanol from aspartame degradation is converted to formaldehyde. Formaldehyde has long been known to react with and deplete a portion of the vitamin folate in exposed rats, but that issue is resolved if folate is replaced by daily and microgram sustenance supplements. But this degradation of folate only happens in the treated animals, because only they get the aspartame source of the methanol. Control animals were not given equivalent methanol. The consequence is that only the rats receiving the aspartame will show a dose-dependent increase not in tumors arising from aspartame, but from a dose-dependent induction of folate deficiency induced tumors. Proper design would involve feeding folate supplements; it would best have used three groups, control rats, aspartame treated rats, and folate supplemented, aspartame treated rats. This design would not have given rise to tumors, because the rats would not have been depleted of folate, which causes exactly those tumor types reported in the 2006 and 2007 lifetime exposures.

Second, all the matter above deals with the rat experimental studies, but there is another totally separate issue, human safety. That issue only exists because of the false claims that aspartame causes problems including tumors in humans. In a corollary of the first line, the fact of the matter is that many people in this country are not healthy; they are intrinsically susceptible to a natural cause of tumors that internet conspirators have wrongly attributed to aspartame. Many people, particularly women, are deficient in this vitamin (folate) and some are seriously deficient in it. The “health weight” trend not to eat sweet rolls, doughnuts and other grain products that have been fortified with folate since 1998 only worsens the underlying problem. Still others have biochemical issues with their folate processing enzymes called polymorphisms that raise their susceptibility to folate deficiency. Widespread folate deficiency, not aspartame, is the real problem causing much of the tumors and cancers epidemic in America today. And alcohol abuse by women is a major factor in increased folate deficiency and contributes greatly to the incidence of breast cancer today.

There have recently been calls for a second round of grain product fortification to again overcome these problems. But the only real solution to the many folate deficiency linked tumors is use of folate supplements. Folate is made not by us, but by bacteria in our gut; given even a folate rich diet (“healthy living”), we simply cannot make sufficient folate to prevent the widespread occurrence of disease associated with folate deficiency. Then, many dietary substances including antibiotics, abusive levels of ethanol, and many commonly used pharmaceuticals (antiepileptic and others) adversely affect either folate or the bugs that generate the folate; they only make us more deficient.

As to your specific issue of seizures, let me note that this to is false. Folate deficiency and its consequences are a major contributor to seizures. See for yourself, goto and type "folate deficiency,seizures" without the quotes into the search line.

John E. Garst, Ph.D.
(Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Toxicology)

(Information detailing the fatal error in all rat aspartame research is new. It was presented in March, 2008 at the national Society of Toxicology meeting in Seattle and last week (2008) at the Agriculture & Food Chemistry section of the national American Chemical Society meeting in New Orleans).

righnote said...

Check out

Photos are graphic. Thanks for letting me post.

Reuven M. Rosenberg, D.C. said...

I'm not sure if "Anonymous" is Dr. Garst, but I have permitted the dissenting opinion anyway. I wonder who Dr. Garst works for and what his CV and credentials are. I Googled his name and found this series of interesting posts by him and other readers of the blog:

Anonymous said...

I have had gran mak seizures for 15 year every 4 to six weeks. I kept telling the neurologists that something was building up in my system. I also got migraine headaches with most every meal. Two years ago I was in the hospital with seizures. Read Excitotoxins by Blaylock, stopped using all msg in my diet and have not had a seizure in 1 1/2 years. Don't tell me that we are not being poisened by the food we eat. I am currently weaning myself off of the doctor prescribed meds. my e-mail address is lg951@msn if you want to communicate further. On with a healthy life! Larry

Anonymous said...

If you ask questions and I share some answers, when are you going to post my response to those questions?

John E. Garst, Ph.D.
(Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Toxicology)

Reuven M. Rosenberg, D.C. said...

Dr. Garst:

Your comments have been posted. Feel free to keep on commenting.

Dr. Rosenberg

Anonymous said...

I posted an article about the aspartame problem on my blog today, and within minutes got a "This post is garbage etc. etc. from John. E. Garst, Ph.D. I was not sure what to think, so I have been researching him. He sounds like someone who either is in the employ of the chemical sweetner industry, or hopes to curry favor and be offered a high paying job, like some others have gotten by serving their best interests. He claims he is an independent consultant and was a University Professor for quite a few years. He says he is not profiting from the chemical sweetner manufacturers. I have not been able to verify his claims yet.

He does seem to spend time using a search engine to catch every new post having to do with Aspartame. It is kind of odd for someone without a possible conflict of interest to do.

Anonymous said...

To answer your questions, see my extended comments at

John E. Garst, Ph.D. (Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Toxicology)