The link between aspartame and brain tumors: What the FDA never told you about artificial sweeteners

Thursday, September 22, 2005 by: Dani Veracity
Tags: aspartame, NutraSweet, artificial sweeteners

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On September 30, 1980, a public Board of Inquiry advised against the approval of aspartame, stating: "The Board has not been presented with proof of a reasonable certainty that aspartame (NutraSweet) is safe for use as a food additive under its intended conditions of use." In 1981, however, the FDA approved aspartame for consumer use based on studies that seem tainted by heavy financial interest in its approval. To many medical practitioners and consumer interest groups, the approval was a gross betrayal of public trust. "To think that there is even a reasonable doubt that aspartame can induce brain tumors in the American population is frightening. And to think that the FDA has lulled them into a false sense of security is a monumental crime," writes Dr. Russell L. Blaylock in Excitotoxins. In 2005, twenty-five years after the initial Board of Inquiry's caution against approval, numerous adults and children consume aspartame-sweetened products on a daily basis, despite reservations regarding its safety.

Drinking Formaldehyde

The next time you pop open a can of diet soda, pause for a moment to consider what exactly you're drinking. As the aspartame gets broken down in your digestive tract, a metabolic by-product called DKP appears. According to Dr. Blaylock, when your stomach processes DKP, it produces a compound very similar to N-nitrosourea, a powerful brain tumor-causing chemical. In addition, aspartame contains methanol, which the body breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is one of the main substances pumped into a dead body during the embalming process.

Now, when I'm dead, the morticians can pump formaldehyde into my body. Before then, however, I don't want to be pumped full of any chemical used in the embalming process, and I'm sure you don't, either. According to Dr. Blaylock, formaldehyde accumulates near DNA and causes serious damage. "Drinking even one diet cola a day can cause formaldehyde buildup in cells, so that the amount of the toxin increases daily," he writes in Health and Nutrition Secrets.

"Urban myths" of the aspartame industry

You can visit the website for Equal, which says that aspartame-induced tumors, migraines, seizures and nervous system disorders are just "urban myths." If you believe that, you probably also believe the aspartame industry's argument that the studies that resulted in the condemnation of their products were based on lab rats instead of humans. Just take note, however, that "spontaneous brain tumors in laboratory rats are extremely rare," according to Dr. H.J. Roberts in Aspartame (NutraSweet): Is It Safe?. So before you believe what the manufacturers of aspartame products would like to tell you, consider first the fact that for extensively-studied, generic laboratory rats, "brain tumors are extremely rare before age one and one-half," according to Dr. Blaylock. Afterward, compare that observation to study results cited by Dr. Blaylock that indicate "aspartame-fed rats developed two tumors by 60 weeks of age and five tumors by 70 weeks." Now, do you still believe it's an "urban myth?"

In light of the truth regarding the safety of aspartame products, it is ironic that consumers often turn to no-calorie diet products because of concern for their health, especially in regard to obesity. The aspartame industry promises consumers a reduction in calories without having to drastically change their diet. Unfortunately, misinformed consumers believe this. To the more informed readers out there: Don't beguile yourselves chasing false promises. You can lose weight by maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise and good food choices. The NaturalNews website can provide you with information you need to start making these changes. Additionally, if you want a truly natural way to sweeten your foods and drinks, try stevia. You can learn more about stevia at NaturalNews's stevia archive. The right information is available to you, but it's up to you to discern the good from the bad and make healthy lifestyle choices.

The experts speak on aspartame and brain tumors:

"September 30, 1980: A public Board of Inquiry advises against aspartame"

A Public Board of Inquiry (PBOI) advised against the approval of aspartame on September 30, 1980 pending further testing relative to induced brain tumors. It asserted: "The Board has not been presented with proof of a reasonable certainty that aspartame (nutrasweet) is safe for use as a food additive under its intended conditions of use."
aspartame - Is It Safe by H J Roberts MD, page 19

"Results of studies prior to the FDA's approval of aspartame"

…. The fact that 320 aspartame fed rats developed six brain tumors by seventy-six weeks indicates an "incredible and unprecedented'' occurrence. ..
Excitotoxins by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 213

This particularly nasty substance should have never even been approved for human use. In fact, had it not been for some fancy footwork by those in power in the FDA, it never would have. Early experiments using low, medium and high doses with aspartame all found dramatic tumor increases in test animals. These included brain, pancreas, and breast tumors…
Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 196

Importantly, brain tumors are extremely rare before age one and one-half in the rat. So in truth the incidence of spontaneously occurring brain tumors would be even less than cited above. Yet, the aspartame fed rats developed two tumors by sixty weeks of age and five tumors by seventy weeks.
Excitotoxins by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 213

Dr. M. Adrian Gross, a respected FDA scientist-pathologist, listed dozens of "serious deficiencies" by a manufacturer and its representatives concerning the prelicensing evaluation of aspartame in animal studies . . . the most serious pertaining to brain tumors.
aspartame - Is It Safe by H J Roberts MD, page 11

When Dr. John Olney pointed out these findings to the FDA "aspartame Board of Inquiry" he was told that the high incidence of tumors was the result of spontaneous development of brain tumors in rats. .. He reviewed the incidence of spontaneously occurring brain tumors in rats and found that out of seven studies using a total of 59,000 rats, only 0.08% developed brain tumors—the aspartame fed rats had a forty-seven fold higher incidence. But to be fair, he even accepted G.D. Searle's references for spontaneously developing brain tumors in rats and arrives at a figure of 0.15%. This was still a twenty-five fold higher incidence in the aspartame fed rats than in the controls.
Excitotoxins by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 212

There has been virtually no outcry by health professionals, the FDA or the public over the approval of aspartame-containing products for human consumption when pre-licensing animal studies showed brain and uterine tumors in rats (Cornell 1984). …
aspartame - Is It Safe by H J Roberts MD, page 225

The study divided the rats into those exposed to low doses of aspartame and those exposed to a high dose. In the low dose group five of the rats developed brain tumors for and incidence of 3.13%. In the high dose group, seven developed brain tumors (4.38%). This indicates a dose related incidence of brain tumors. The higher the dose of aspartame, the more brain tumors were induced.
Excitotoxins by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 212

"The FDA approved aspartame in 1981: Why?"

It is interesting to note that the first experiments done to test the safety of aspartame before its final approval in 1981 disclosed a high incidence of brain tumors in the animals fed nutrasweet® .4S4 In fact, this study was done by the manufacturer of nutrasweet®, G.D. Searle. In this study 320 rats were fed aspartame and 120 rats were fed a normal diet and used as controls. The study lasted two years. At the end of the study twelve of the aspartame fed rats had developed brain tumors (astrocytomas), while none of the control rats had. This represented a 3.75% incidence of brain tumors in the rats fed aspartame, which was twenty-five times higher than the incidence of spontaneous brain tumors developing in rats (0.15%) …
Excitotoxins by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 212

Despite concerns over the safety of this new sweetener, including brain tumor induction in experimental animals, seizures, precipitation of headaches, and an adverse effect on the developing brain, the FDA approved its use as an artificial sweetener. Sales began to grow immediately. The nutrasweet® company spent over 60 million dollars on advertising alone during its first three years.
Excitotoxins by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 218

…. What is ironic is that the FDA would accept studies from a company with an obvious heavy financial interest in having aspartame approved. But even more amazing is that they would depend on this same company to provide studies that they, FDA, knew beforehand were highly questionable and possibly fraudulent upon which they would make such an important public safety decision.
Excitotoxins by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 214

"In view of all these indications that the cancer-causing potential of aspartame is a matter that has been established way beyond any reasonable doubt, one can ask: 'What is the reason for the apparent refusal by the FDA to invoke for this food additive the Delaney Amendment to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act?' "
aspartame - Is It Safe by H J Roberts MD, page 225

…. To think that there is even a reasonable doubt that aspartame can induce brain tumors in the American population is frightening. And to think that the FDA has lulled them into a false sense of security is a monumental crime.
Excitotoxins by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 214

"How aspartame possibly causes tumors"

But the story gets even more interesting. Dr. Olney hypothesized that one possible cause of the tumor induction was a by-product of aspartame metabolism called diketopiperazine (DKP). When nitrosated by the gut it produces a compound closely resembling a powerful brain tumor causing chemical— N-nitrosourea.
Excitotoxins by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 213

Several possibilities explain the high rate of cancer in these animals. One is that aspartame breaks down in the body into a substance called diketopiperizine or DKP, which chemically closely resembles a group of cancer-causing chemicals. aspartame also contains methanol, which breaks down in the body into formaldehyde and formic acid. Formaldehyde had been shown to accumulate near DNA, causing serious damage that is accumulative. That means that drinking even one diet cola a day can cause formaldehyde buildup in cells, so that the amount of the toxin increases daily.
Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 197

"Results and accuracy of animal studies"

…. The study showed that in 320 nutrasweet-fed rats there were 12 brain tumors whereas in a group of concurrent control rats which were not exposed to nutrasweet, there were no brain tumors. Being a neuropathologist, I know that spontaneous brain tumors in laboratory rats are extremely rare. The archival literature documents an incidence not exceeding 0.6%. Since the above incidence in nutrasweet-fed rats is 3.75%, this suggests that nutrasweet may cause brain tumors and certainly suggests the need for additional in-depth research to rule out that possibility . . .
aspartame - Is It Safe by H J Roberts MD, page 226

Male and female Sprague-Dawley rats fed aspartame in the diet at various levels for up to 2 years were observed for the incidence of brain tumors (G. D. Searle and Co., 1973b). After the study was completed, the FDA appointed an independent board of inquiry to review the data. The board concluded that aspartame was a possible carcinogen, based on three of the study's findings: The incidence of brain neoplasms in aspartame-fed rats was greater than that in controls, …
Diet Nutrition Cancer by National Research Council, page 311

…. Dr. Lampert personally examined the microscopic slides pertaining to the brain tumor studies and told me a year or so after the PBOI report was completed that he had been surprised at the large size of the brain tumors in the nutrasweet-fed rats."
aspartame - Is It Safe by H J Roberts MD, page 226

… brain tumors in all age groups jumped by greater than ten percent….Dr. H. J. Roberts, who has written an excellent book on the dangers of aspartame, has collected some evidence that one particular type of brain tumor may be associated with nutrasweet®.488 This tumor is known as a primary lymphoma of the brain. It is a particularly nasty tumor with a high mortality rate.
Excitotoxins by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 215

Other observations in both animals studies and aspartame reactors should evoke concern about the potential tumor-causing role of aspartame-containing products.
aspartame - Is It Safe by H J Roberts MD, page 221

"Should you consume aspartame?"

…and aspar-tame (nutrasweet) …. Some experts suspect them of promoting cancer and having toxic effects on the nervous system. You are much better off eating moderate amounts of sugar than any of these unnatural compounds.
8 Weeks To Optimum Health By Andrew Weil MD, page 51

ACTIONS TO aspartame-CONTAINING products may pose potential public health threats. This chapter will address some of these possibilities—including aspartame-related accidents, suicide, criminality, cancer, and excessive diagnostic radiation.
aspartame - Is It Safe by H J Roberts MD, page 222

…. Avoid all nutrasweet®, Equal®, and aspartame in any form. There is evidence that this sweetener can impair your genetic structure, increase cancer risk and can be toxic to your nervous system.
Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 395

"I would view the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) set by the FDA for aspartame (50 mg/kg body weight/ day) as totally unwarranted and extremely high in that it can be associated with completely unacceptable risks as far as the induction of such (brain) tumors is concerned. It is clear that risks of this magnitude for what the FDA regards as a 'safe' level of exposure to aspartame represent an outright calamity or disaster." (Italics supplied)
aspartame - Is It Safe by H J Roberts MD, page 237

and extremely high in that it can be associated with completely unacceptable risks as far as the induction of such (brain) tumors is concerned- It is clear that risks of this magnitude for what the FDA regards as a '"safe'" level of exposure to aspartame represents an outright calamity or disaster.23
Miracle Of Stevia by James A May, page 188

Some primary brain lymphomas are associated with immune depression seen with AIDS. One would expect these to increase. But there is also a dramatic increase in these previously rare tumors in individuals without AIDS.489 Some have suggested that the recent increase in brain tumors merely reflects better diagnostic methods. But a recent study found this not to be true; the increase is real.490 Dr. Roberts feels that an association with the tremendous rise in the use of aspartame products in the last decade may hold the answer.
Excitotoxins by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 215
"Aspartame and other disorders"

A 57-year-old executive developed severe insomnia. His physician attributed it to "jet lag" because of his frequent travels abroad. He was consuming 10 to 12 cans of an aspartame cola and 4 to 6 packets of an aspartame powdered sweetener daily. A tranquilizer (Halcion®) was prescribed—but only intensified the insomnia. He was referred to a psychiatrist for possible depression . . . then to an endocrinologist for a possible brain tumor. The psychiatrist treated him for three years, during which time he was ".. becoming significantly more moody, nervous, and experiencing memory loss and speech difficulties (frustrating to me, but really not that noticeable to others)." Low doses of the antidepressant drug Tofranil® triggered "a near panic attack." within two weeks after discontinuing aspartame products, he was markedly improved.
aspartame - Is It Safe by H J Roberts MD, page 120

... Phenylalanine is the toxic component seen in the childhood disorder called phenylketonuria or PKU. In this disorder, phenylalanine accumulates in the blood and hence brain, in very high concentrations. Carriers for the gene develop blood levels of phenylalanine twice as high as those of normal people, when consuming an equal amount of aspartame. … In addition, the metabolic breakdown of aspartame yields about a dozen toxic compounds, some of which have been associated with cancer induction and alteration of brain function. The fewer of these toxins and foreign chemicals you expose your unborn child to the better. This also applies to newborns, toddlers, adolescents and adults as well. All of the toxins produced by ingesting aspartame must be detoxified and this puts a strain on the body's ability to cope.
Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 24

A 30-year-old woman consumed an average of five to six cups or glasses of aspartame beverages daily for 17 months. Ringing and pain in both ears, dizziness, and a severe headache began after the tenth month. Audiometric studies revealed considerable loss of hearing in the left ear. When brain tumor was ruled out by CT scan, the otology and neurology consultants diagnosed her problem as Meniere's disease. The patient herself, however, finally deduced that the aspartame drinks caused these symptoms because she could predictably reproduce them on rechallenge.
aspartame - Is It Safe by H J Roberts MD, page 141

I hope not, but ignoring the long-term problems seemingly associated with use of aspartame-containing products might portend another "thalidomide revolution". It is imperative that researchers who are not influenced by producer-corporations gather detailed data concerning the incidence rates of epilepsy, visual problems, allergies, Parkinsonism, brain tumors and Alzheimer's disease among aspartame consumers. The same applies to other disorders—including the frequency of birth defects, seizures, impaired intelligence and behavioral abnormalities among the children of women who ingested aspartame products at conception and during pregnancy.
aspartame - Is It Safe by H J Roberts MD, page 214

Many people believe that the real enemy among the sweeteners is aspartame — several Web sites are devoted to attacking it (among them It's been linked to everything from headaches, multiple sclerosis, loss of brain function, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, brain tumors, lymphoma, and lupus to diabetes itself. Some people may be sensitive to aspartame, which most commonly causes headaches. …
Living Low-Carb by Fran McCullough, page 107

Another food additive to avoid is aspartame, also called nutrasweet, …. More important, evidence now exists that aspartate affects the nervous system and spinal cord, promoting brain neurons to die, and thus leading to neurologic diseases, such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). It also damages the brains of infants and children, who then have a higher that normal propensity for suffering neurologic diseases later in their lives….
Lupus by Sharon Moore, page 133

When the complainants stop using the product, the symptoms go away, returning only when they resume use of aspartame or products containing it. Many physicians refer to these symptoms as "aspartame disease." Some physicians and scientists believe it to be an underlying cause of brain tumors, comas, and death. The manufacturer of aspartame and the FDA deny any association between aspartame and these conditions.
Miracle Of Stevia by James A May, page 175

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