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There has been a lot in the news recently in America, about the artificial sweetener Aspartame (Nutrasweet), linking it to SLE.  But is there any truth in the claims?  I have searched the internet for information, which you'll find below.

Taken from - "David Emery - your Mining Co. Guide to: Urban Legends and Folklore" Aspartame Warning Posted: 01/09/99 (Updated: 01/30/99) This specimen of email scarelore, in wide circulation since mid-December, warns that the artificial sweetener aspartame (a.k.a. "NutraSweet" and "Equal") is toxic to humans in a hundred different ways. It even coins a new medical term for these effects: "aspartame disease." Most of the allegations contradict the bulk of medical evidence (see Guide's note below), but its author offers a convenient explanation: collusion between aspartame's manufacturers, the medical establishment, and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Far be it from me to insist that the FDA is infallible and incorruptible, but I would point out that the agency has common sense and years of accumulated research on its side when it maintains that the sweetener is safe for most people. As to aspartame's critics, it doesn't help their cause that the information presented in the email is disorganized, hysterical, and poorly substantiated.

Read carefully and see if you think it deserves your credence: Subject: FW: Health information on ASPARTAME WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL CONFERENCE and the MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS FOUNDATION F.D.A. ISSUING FOR COLLUSION WITH MONSANTO Article written by Nancy Markle (1120197) I have spent several days lecturing at the WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL CONFERENCE on "ASPARTAME marketed as 'NutraSweet', 'Equal', and 'Spoonful"'. In the keynote address by the EPA, they announced that there was an epidemic of multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus, and they did not understand what toxin was causing this to be rampant across the United States. I explained that I was there to lecture on exactly that subject. When the temperature of Aspartame exceeds 86 degrees F, the wood alcohol in ASPARTAME coverts to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, which in turn causes metabolic acidosis. (Formic acid is the poison found in the sting of fire ants). The methanol toxicity mimics multiple sclerosis; thus people were being diagnosed with having multiple sclerosis in error. The multiple sclerosis is not a death sentence, where methanol toxicity is. In the case of systemic lupus, we are finding it has become almost as rampant as multiple sclerosis, especially Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi drinkers. Also, with methanol toxicity, the victims usually drink three to four 12 oz. Cans of them per day, some even more. In the cases of systemic lupus, which is triggered by ASPARTAME, the victim usually does not know that the aspartame is the culprit The victim continues its use aggravating the lupus to such a degree, that sometimes it becomes life threatening. When we get people off the aspartame, those with systemic lupus usually become asymptomatic. Unfortunately, we can not reverse this disease. On the other hand, in the case of those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, (when in reality, the disease is methanol toxicity), most of the symptoms disappear. We have seen cases where their vision has returned and even their hearing has returned. This also applies to cases of tinnitus. During a lecture I said "If you are using ASPARTAME (NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc.) and you suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms, spasms, shooting pains, numbness in your legs, cramps, vertigo, dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, joint pain, depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, or memory loss-you probably have ASPARTAME DISEASE!" People were jumping up during the lecture saying, "I've got this, is it reversible?" It is rampant. Some of the speakers at my lecture even were suffering from these symptoms. In one lecture attended by the Ambassador of Uganda, he told us that their sugar industry is adding aspartame! He continued by saying that one of the industry leader's son could no longer walk - due in part by product usage! We have a very serious problem. Even a stranger came up to Dr. Espisto (one of my speakers) and myself and said, "Could you tell me why so many people seem to be coming down with MS?" During a visit to a hospice, a nurse said that six of her friends, who were heavy Diet Coke addicts, had all been diagnosed with MS. This is beyond coincidence. Here is the problem. There were Congressional Hearings when aspartame was included in 100 different products. Since this initial hearing, there have been two subsequent hearings, but to no avail. Nothing as been done. The drug and chemical lobbies have very deep pockets. Now there are over 5,000 products containing this chemical, and the PATENT HAS EXPIRED!!!!! At the time of this first hearing, people were going blind. The methanol in the aspartame converts to formaldehyde in the retina of the eye. Formaldehyde is grouped in the same class of dmgs as cyanide and arsenic- DEADLY POISONS!!! Unfortunately, it just takes longer to quietly kill, but it is killing people and causing all kinds of neurological problems.> Aspartame changes the brain's chemistry. It is the reason for severe seizures. This drug changes the dopamine level in the brain. Imagine what this drug does to patients suffering from Parkinson's Disease. This drug also causes Birth Defects. There is absolutely no reason to take this product. It is NOT A DIET PRODUCT!!! The Congressional record said, "It makes you crave carbohydrates and will make you FAT". Dr. Roberts stated that when he got patients off aspartame, their average weight loss was 19 pounds per person. The formaldehyde stores in the fat cells, particularly in the hips and thighs. Aspartame is especially deadly for diabetics. All physicians know what wood alcohol will do to a diabetic. We find that physicians believe that they have patients with retinopathy, when in fact, it is caused by the aspartame. The aspartame keeps the blood sugar level out of control, causing many patients to go into a coma. Unfortunately, many have died. People were telling us at the Conference of the American College of Physicians, that they had relatives that switched from saccharin to an aspartame product and how that relative had eventually gone into a coma. Their physicians could not get the blood sugar levels under control. Thus, the patients suffered acute memory loss and eventually coma and death. Memory loss is due to the fact that aspartic acid and phenylalanine are neurotoxic without the other amino acids found in protein. Thus it goes past the blood brain barrier and deteriorates the neurons of the brain. Dr. Russell Blaylock, neurosurgeon, said, "The ingredients stimulates the neurons of the brain to death, causing brain damage of varying degrees. Dr. Blaylock has written a book entitled "EXCITOTOXINS: THE TASTE THAT KILLS" (Health Press 1-800-643-2665). Dr. H.J. Roberts, diabetic specialist and world expert on aspartame poisoning, has also written a book entitled "DEFENSE AGAINST ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE" (1-800-814-9800). Dr. Roberts tells how aspartame poisoning is escalating Alzheimer's Disease, and indeed it is. As the hospice nurse told me, women are being admitted at 30 years of age with Alzheimer's Disease. Dr. Blaylock and Dr. Roberts will be writing a position paper with some case histories and will post it on the Internet. According to the Conference of the American College of Physicians, 'We are talking about a plague of neurological diseases caused by this deadly poison". Dr. Roberts realized what was happening when aspartame was first marketed. He said "his diabetic patients presented memory loss, confusion, and severe vision loss". At the Conference of the American College of Physicians, doctors admitted that they did not know. They had wondered why seizures were rampant (the phenylalanine in aspartame breaks down the seizure threshold and depletes serotonin, which causes manic depression, panic attacks, rage and violence). Just before the Conference, I received a FAX from Norway, asking for a possible antidote for this poison because they are experiencing so many problems in their country. This "poison" is now available in 90 PLUS countries worldwide. Fortunately, we had speakers and ambassadors at the Conference from different nations who have pledged their help. We ask that you help too. Print this article out and warn everyone you know. Take anything that contains aspartame black to the store. Take the "NO ASPARTAME TEST" and send us your case history. I assure you that MONSANTO, the creator of aspartame, knows how deadly it is. They fund the American Diabetes Association, American Dietetic Association, Congress, and the Conference of the American College of Physicians. The New York Times, on November 15, 1996, ran an article on how the American Dietetic Association takes money from the food industry to endorse their products. Therefore, they can not criticize any additives or tell about their link to MONSANTO. How bad is this? We told a mother who had a child on NutraSweet to get off the product. The child was having grand mal seizures every day. The mother called her physician, who called the ADA, who told the doctor not to take the child off the NutraSweet. We are still trying to convince the mother that the aspartame is causing the seizures. Every time we get someone off of aspartame, the seizures stop. If the baby dies, you know whose fault it is, and what we are up against. There are 92 documented symptoms of aspartame, from coma to death. The majority of them are all neurological, because the aspartame destroys the nervous system. Aspartame Disease is partially the cause to what is behind some of the mystery of the Dessert Storm health problems. The burning tongue and other problems discussed in over 60 cases can be directly related to the consumption of an aspartame product. Several thousand pallets of diet drinks were shipped to the Dessert Storm troops. (Remember heat can liberate the methanol from the aspartame at 86 degrees F). Diet drinks sat in the 120 degree F. Arabian sun for weeks at a time on pallets. The service men and women drank them all day long. All of their symptoms are identical to aspartame poisoning. Dr. Roberts says "consuming aspartame at the time of conception can cause birth defects". The phenylalanine concentrates in the placenta, causing mental retardation, according to Dr. Louis Elsas, Pediatrician Professor - Genetics, at Emory University in his testimony before Congress. In the original lab tests, animals developed brain tumors (phenylalanine breaks down into DXP, a brain tumor agent). When Dr. Espisto was lecturing on aspartame me, one physician in the audience, a neurosurgeon, said, "when they remove brain tumors, they have found high levels of aspartame in them". Stevia, a sweet food, NOT AN ADDITIVE, which helps in the metabolism of sugar, which would be ideal for diabetics, has now been approved as a dietary supplement by the F.D.A. For years, the F.D.A. has outlawed this sweet food because of their loyalty to MONSANTO. If it says "SUGAR FREE" on the label-DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!!!!!l! Senator Howard Hetzenbaum wrote a bill that would have wamed all infants, pregnant mothers and children of the dangers of aspartame. The bill would have also instituted independent studies on the problems existing in the population (seizures, changes in brain chemistry, changes in neurological and behavioral symptoms). It was killed by the powerful drug and chemical lobbies, letting loose the hounds of disease and death on an unsuspecting public. Since the Conference of the American College of Physicians, we hope to have the help of some world leaders. Again, please help us too. There are a lot of people out there who must be warned, *please* let them know this information.

Guide's note: First off, despite the attribution at the top (absent in some versions of the message), this text was not written by "Nancy Markle" – whoever that may be. Its real author was one Betty Martini, who posted a host of similar messages to Usenet newsgroups in late 1995 and early 1996. The original email was penned exactly three years ago. Ms. Martini, who is not a physician but says she has worked in the medical profession, has waged a single-minded battle for years against what she calls "the propaganda put out by industry and the FDA" regarding aspartame. To that end, she founded an organization called "Mission Possible International," represented on such Websites as Dave Reitz's, which houses a vast archive of anti-aspartame literature. Even if we credit Martini with good intentions (and there's no reason not to), it's difficult to take her email warning seriously. Among other things, it blithely implicates aspartame as the cause of just about every malady known to humankind. To recap the laundry list: "The methanol toxicity mimics multiple sclerosis..." "In the cases of systemic lupus, which is triggered by ASPARTAME, the victim usually does not know that the aspartame is the culprit." "If you...suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms, spasms, shooting pains, numbness in your legs, cramps, vertigo, dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, joint pain, depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, or memory loss-you probably have ASPARTAME DISEASE!" "In one lecture attended by the Ambassador of Uganda, he told us that their sugar industry is adding aspartame! He continued by saying that one of the industry leader's son could no longer walk - due in part by product usage!" "At the time of this first hearing, people were going blind. The methanol in the aspartame converts to formaldehyde in the retina of the eye." "Aspartame changes the brain's chemistry. It is the reason for severe seizures." "This drug also causes Birth Defects." "It makes you crave carbohydrates and will make you FAT." "The ingredients stimulates the neurons of the brain to death, causing brain damage of varying degrees." "...aspartame poisoning is escalating Alzheimer's Disease..." "...the phenylalanine in aspartame breaks down the seizure threshold and depletes serotonin, which causes manic depression, panic attacks, rage and violence..." "Aspartame Disease is partially the cause to what is behind some of the mystery of the Dessert [sic] Storm health problems." "When they remove brain tumors, they have found high levels of aspartame in them." That's a dizzying array of charges – to which it's perfectly reasonable to respond: if it's provable that aspartame causes all of these serious health problems, why isn't the entire medical establishment up in arms about it? Why does the substance continue to have the FDA's approval? Martini's answer, as I mentioned above, is pat and comes in the form of a conspiracy theory: the Monsanto Company, which created aspartame, has used its deep pockets to buy all but a very few critics off. I.e., the only authorities you can trust are those who agree with Martini. Naturally, Monsanto insists – as it has ever since the product was invented in 1965 – that aspartame is safe for nearly everyone to use. The company has even posted a detailed rebuttal of the anti-aspartame email on its NutraSweet promotional Website. Labeling Martini's allegations "egregious," Monsanto states: "None of the symptoms she and her 'sources' have attributed to aspartame have been substantiated in any clinical scientific study." Those who are inclined to think that's nothing but a corporate whitewash will probably also reject the FDA's Statement on Aspartame published in 1996. The statement disputes charges that aspartame is associated with brain tumors. A very recent MIT study reaffirms that aspartame is harmless for most users, but again, skeptics will observe that the research was funded by a grant from the NutraSweet Co. (a division of Monsanto), and therefore cannot be trusted. Two questions: Does the entity which funds the research necessarily control the outcome? Can the anti-aspartame forces prove the results were tainted? On Jan. 12, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation posted its own rebuttal of the aspartame rumors, referring to them as "rabidly inaccurate and scandalously misinformative." The article was researched and written by Dr. David Squillacote, neurologist and Senior Medical Advisor for the Foundation. The "aspartame scare" hit the mainsream media when the Associated Press moved its Jan. 29 article debunking the rumor. It states that "MS and lupus have been around a lot longer than aspartame has, and repeated scientific studies have found no connection between the sweetener and such symptoms." The AP cites the FDA and the ACSH, an alphabet soup that won't be to everyone's liking. So, for those who would rather not take anyone's word on this – Betty Martini's, the FDA's, or the media's – I highly recommend taking the time to survey the last 20 years' worth of medical research on aspartame (courtesy of the MEDLINE database). I reviewed a good many of the journal abstracts on file there and, taking their conclusions as a whole, it certainly appears to this layman that the aspartame-haters have wandered far afield from the proven facts. Lastly, aspartame is acknowledged to produce minor side effects in some people – most notably headaches (see Aspartame Ingestion and Headaches, Neurology, 1994). Also, the FDA warns that persons with certain medical conditions, including pregnant women with hyperphenylalanine, should avoid aspartame: Carefully controlled clinical studies show that aspartame is not an allergen. However, certain people with the genetic disease phenylketonuria (PKU), those with advanced liver disease, and pregnant women with hyperphenylalanine (high levels of phenylalanine in blood) have a problem with aspartame because they do not effectively metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine, one of aspartame's components. High levels of this amino acid in body fluids can cause brain damage. Therefore, FDA has ruled that all products containing aspartame must include a warning to phenylketonurics that the sweetener contains phenylalanine. – Food Allergies Rare But Risky, May 1994

Aspartame Internet Scare               Urban Legend or or Medical Fact? Dateline: 01/18/99

A Bitter Pill for Lupus Patients to Swallow

 (by Cathy Welsh, the Mining Co. Lupus Guide) When a health rumor reaches the status of Urban Legend , it's difficult to sift fact from fiction. If you haven't seen it, the Betty Martini " article" in its original version, now attributed to Nancy Markle, has been gaining momentum on the internet, and now pervades usenet newsgroups and bulletin boards everywhere. As alleged, "Aspartame Disease" causes everything from Alzheimer's to Violence. I won't review every indictment, because they go all over the board. I'll just stick with what I know. As a member of two of the groups featured, a Lupus Patient, and a member of the American Dietetic Association, and the daughter of another (my mother has MS) I'll give you the benefit of my opinion. But be your own judge. Links are included to let you sample both sides of the issue. A selection of some of the opinions offered: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made an address that announced an epidemic of Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis (MS), caused by an unknown "toxin". Methanol (wood alcohol) toxicity is caused by normal aspartame ingestion and is responsible for the present epidemic of Multiple Sclerosis. Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi drinkers will develop lupus, if they have not already. However, once they develop lupus, quitting these drinks, will cause them to become asymptomatic. Drug and Chemical companies have "deep pockets", and therefore the government is allowing people to be poisoned by aspartame. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by aspartame, "along with acute memory loss, and eventually coma and death". Since the American Dietetic Association receives funds in part from Monsanto, developer of aspartame, their members cannot criticize the food additive.
Just What is Aspartame?
Aspartame is an alternative sweetener formed by bonding the amino acids (protein building blocks), phenylalanine and aspartic acid. Monsanto markets it under the brand name NutraSweet (Equal). Aspartame is 180 to 200 times sweeter than table sugar, so very little is used. That's why it's considered "non-nutritive", or calorie -free.
How Was it Approved for the Food Supply?
Aspartame was approved by the FDA in 1981. Over 200 studies in animals and humans document the its safety. Study results show that consuming foods with aspartame is no different than eating regular foods.
Where is Aspartame Found?
Aspartame is used in a wide variety of products such as soft drinks, cereals, gums, dessert items, along with being a popular tabletop sweetener.
How much Aspartame is Recommended?
For the general population, adults are advised to limit daily intake to 50 mg per kg of body weight. This means a 132 pound adult should take in less than 83 packets of Equal per day, or no more than 14 12 oz. cans of diet soda. Even high consumers of aspartame are taking in at most 7% of this amount per day.
What about those Warning Labels?
Phenylketonuria is a genetic disorder, which means, from birth, these persons cannot break down the amino acid phenylalanine. Therefore, warning labels let those with PKU avoid consuming products with aspartame. Since pregnant women may be carrying an infant with PKU, they should avoid aspartame. That's a basic introduction to Aspartame.
Fact and Fiction Correcting Internet Myths About NutraSweet
On the other side of the coin there's Mark Gold's Holistic Medicine Site Aspartame (NutraSweet) Toxicity Center This "one size fits all" approach to autoimmune disease, and most of the other world's ills is appealing in some ways. If Only I could give up Diet Pepsi, I would be cured! I must be some kind of idiot for not thinking of it earlier. However, I have to assume that the proponents of these ideas must be at the least, well-intentioned, if ill-informed. What's particularly disturbing, though, is that rumors like this trivialize the seriousness of lupus and Multiple Sclerosis, along with many other diseases. It may be true that aspartame, as a food additive, can cause an adverse reaction , such as swelling of the eyes, lips, or feet, in some people, but that's a far cry from a full-blown autoimmune disorder. What's more, there is no evidence of an epidemic of lupus at this time. The prevalence of lupus is studied continually. Studies show lupus affects about 1 out of every 185 Americans. In fact, an increase in the ability to diagnose lupus, and increased reporting of lupus would be a good thing. Even better information on prevalence would help the Lupus Foundation of America with getting increased funding for research to end this disease.
Now let's look more closely at some of the statements made.
Since when does the EPA address the prevalence of autoimmune diseases, to the exclusion of the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control? Methanol is a normal byproduct of metabolism. Normal consumption of fruits and vegetables causes much more methanol production than is seen with aspartame. Once produced, methanol is eventually broken down into carbon dioxide and water, and is eliminated. If Diet Pepsi and Diet Coke consumption caused lupus, there would be dramatically more people with lupus. This is patently false. The conspiracy theorists are always around in one form or another. In this instance, it's the FDA and Monsanto colluding secretly with one another, in order to cause an epidemic of autoimmune disease. With the Internet, this kind of information spreads faster than a virus. I think blaming diabetics for consuming aspartame is particularly cruel. To say that NutraSweet causes diabetic retinopathy is to discount all those who suffered with complications of diabetes long before aspartame was first developed in 1965. Yes, other sweeteners are available, and even sugars can be used moderately. But aspartame, since it has no aftertaste has been a boon to diabetics trying to maintain control over another disease which as yet has no cure. I have been a card-carrying member of the American Dietetic Association since 1982. Industry partners contribute to the American Dietetic Association Foundation, which promotes nutrition education for the public. Association positions on important nutrition issues are well thought out, born out by research, and crafted by professionals who work with patients, medical personnel, and the community every day. To suggest that Registered Dietitians would promote unspecified "corporate interests" over the health of a child is tragically absurd. Enough said about that nonsense.
And what is the Lupus Foundation of America stand on this issue?
This, from Duane Peters, Director of Communications & Advocacy Lupus Foundation of America, Inc. There is an email message circulating on the internet warning individuals with lupus about dangers associated with using the artificial sweetener aspartame. The national office of the Lupus Foundation of America consulted with the chair of the LFA Medical Council, Evelyn Hess, MD, MACP, MACR. Dr. Hess is one of the nation’s leading researchers in the field of lupus specializing in environmental influences. According to Dr. Hess, there is, as of now, no specific proof of an association with aspartame as a cause or worsening of SLE. People with lupus should always consult with their physician before making any changes in their medical treatment, diet, exercise or other routine based on information received via the internet or other sources lacking known credentials. Author's Note: Our health is too important to be controlled by an internet hoax. Don't let this nonsense get in the way of you and your physician working towards taking care of your own health first, and ultimately, finding a cure for lupus.

Other people's experiences with Aspartame

"Several years ago (before I was diagnosed with SLE), I discovered quite by accident that aspartame causes me to have severe headaches. I don't purchase or knowingly consume foods or beverages with artificial sweeteners so there is no way I could have known of this reaction.

 I began attending a weekly prayer meeting at the home of a friend and she served cookies and iced tea. Toward the end of the first meeting, I experienced the most excruciating headache I've ever had. I went home, took headache medicine and the headache ended the next day. The next week, I had the same thing happen; in fact, it was worse. I couldn't lift up my head and wasn't able to drive home myself. Third week, the headache started again and folks began commenting how weird it was that I was getting these headaches at the end of each prayer meeting.
 Someone suggested an allergy or reaction to something ! in the environment. It couldn't be my friend's dog/animal dander since I have dogs at home. The cookies served weren't the same every week. I asked my friend what was in the iced tea and she said it was homemade with a common brand of tea and she just added Nutra-sweet. At the next meeting, I decided to eschew the tea -- no headache! Subsequently, when I've been at gatherings and unknowingly eaten baked goods made with Nutra-Sweet, I get a headache. When I ask about the baked goods, it always turns out that they contain Nutra-Sweet.  
The headaches are brutal -- there's no aura or nausea as in a migraine but the intensity makes it impossible to hold up my head. It feels as if someone has beaten me over the head with a blunt object." -- Julie, Texas, USA

"I have lupus and I react to aspartame with headache, blurred vision and numbness in my hands and face, usually within a half-hour of consuming it." Stacia

"I am a 31yr old woman, When Pepsi One first came out I thought it was the greatest thing, I had been a big Pepsi drinker and thought Pepsi one tasted better and started drinking it because it had fewer calories. I started getting these horrendous headaches and could not figure out why I was getting them on a daily basis, not until I stopped drinking soda all together for a couple months then started back up on the Pepsi one did I realize, while off the soda the headaches had stopped, as soon as I started drinking it again the headaches were back. I have stopped drinking any beverage with aspartame and no longer have those horrible headaches."

"Back about 10 years I had extensive dental work done that left a horrible taste in my mouth. So I began chewing "Extra" gum with Nutrasweet. I'd chew as many as 5-6 sticks a day at times & began noticing I'd get a very severe migraine not long after chewing a couple of sticks. I finally got the connection & stopped buying the gum. I noticed now when I chew regular gum, I never get a severe migraine headache. I now realize it was the Nutrasweet." Carol

"My name is Pamela Williams, I am 30 years old. I have drank diet pepsi for the last 8 years. Over the last 5 years I started having pain in my legs and arms and back, it got to the point where I could barely walk. It was the worse pain I have ever felt. After many test's I was diagnosied with Fibromyalgia, The medicine they put me on for it , did not work. Just by chance I got burned out on diet pepsi and decided to try something new, so I started drinking instant tea, within a few weeks I stopped having as much pain, but I did not realize why, I just assumed the medicine I was taking for the fibromyalgia had finally started working. I have been drinking instant tea for almost a year now, and my pain has almost all but gone. Up until about 2 weeks ago I started drinking diet pepsi again to try to lose some weight, during the 2 weeks I noticed I had headaches everyday and my pain in my legs and arms and back had started returning, but I did not think about it being the diet pepsi until yesterday when I got an email on aspertame poisning. Needless to say it floored me!!! I started looking for more information on the subject when I found your web site. It really makes me mad to know that I have been paying money to make myself sick, and to know that all it would have taken was human morals for the fda and the maker of the aspartame to let us decide for ourselves if we are willing to keep drinking something that could evidently put a halter on living a happy and healthy life. I have three small children that I have missed out on being able to play with, precious time that I can't get back. In the Bible it says, that nearing the end of days people will do anything for money no matter who it hurts. I think that is really sad, but all to true in this subject. I am going to do my best to let everyone I meet know about the danger of the use of aspartame, I am printing out copies and sending them to everyone I know. If I can help one person it will be worth all my suffering. Thank you for your time and letting me speak my mind."

"In the advent of "fat free/sugar free" I jumped on the bandwagon and began eatting products which had this label. My stomach cramps and recurrent lengthy bouts of diarrhea that year were intense and unstoppable. After being diagnosed with IBS I began logging my symptoms of pain and trying to figure out what foods caused them. I noticed that EVERY single time I ate something with aspartame or sorbitol I was sent writhing in pain and embarrassingly gaseous for at least 24 hours following. (I don't drink sodas so they weren't part of the foods - it was gum, ice cream, yogurt, chips etc) After taking those products out of my diet my IBS became much more manageable and my pain level has subsided to only occur with improper diet or high stress. To this day, if I unwittingly order something with aspartame or sorbitol in it the pain returns, intensely and immediately. I have told my own story to many friends and people I've met and have heard story after story on how getting these additives out of their diets changed their lives!"

"I am an American. As for the scare, I did not drink diet soda at all until after I was diagnosed with SLE. I have been a diet soda drinker for about 5 years now and I have not noticed any side effects. There is no more swelling in my joints than I used to have and I had memory problems but now they have subsided, except when I'm stressed. This note finds me fine with aspartame. Thank you for your time, Elizabeth Thuren Twin Falls, Idaho, USA"

"i have been a big diet pepsi drinker for years, sometimes up to 6 cans a day. i am 37 yrs old and have been drinking diet pop since the product "tab" came out. for approx. the last 3 years i have had an increasingly worse skin problem. my eyes would feel itchy and my eyelids would become puffy, red and scaly. i use to think it was from makeup but even after i stopped, i still would get this problem. i would drink flavored water (with nutrasweet) or diet pop and wake up the next day with red, puffy eyes. i have been nutrasweet free for approx. 3mos and i am wearing makeup and my eyes are fine! i have also had a red rash on my arms and legs that starts every spring and lasts til end of july, im hoping this will improve too. i guess i will find out soon, its usually worse at the end of may. please let me know if you have ever heard of this nutrasweet conection. thank you-wish me luck"

"I'm presently downloading as much info on Nutrasweet/Aspartame as possible. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 18 months ago. I suffering with severe pain for years and was almost at the point where I would have to give up work. Quite by chance - and an amazing stroke of luck - someone suggested I give up sweeteners. I had been using them for years - in drinks and in cooking - to avoid sugar! I did give up, as suggested and my pain levels reduced by some 80%! I now am in the process of trying to obtain a list of the supposed 1500 food products that contain this poison - if you can help, it would be much appreciated, as I am sure I am still getting this stuff. I recently went to America where the following warning is printed on Sweet'N Low sachets: USE OF THIS PRODUCT MAY BE HAZAROUS TO YOUR HEALTH. THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS SACCHARIN WHICH HAS BEEN DETERMINED TO CAUSE CANCER IN LABORATORY ANIMALS. Well, if it can cause cancer in animals, I guess it can cause cancer in humans. I would like food companies to put full details on packaging, so that I know exactly what I am eating/drinking. Thanks and kind regards Vanessa Carter"


"Aspartame (Nutra-Sweet) has always given me a headache. Apparently, in some people a gas is formed in the brain causing a headache. I just happen to be one of the lucky ones just one less chemical to ingest. Carol (Michigan, USA) "

"Around Jan/98 I had a couple of experiences which caused me to seek medical attention. The doctor I saw diagnosed me during an office visit as having M.S. Further testing, EEG, MRI, and blood work showed nothing. My symptoms had been disorientation, spasms on the left side of my body, and hyperactive reflexes on the left side of my body. I had noticed on several occasions that drinking diet pepsi seemed to make the disorientation worse. When the doctor diagnosed me with M.S. I quit drinking the diet pepsi due to the "feeling" it gave me after drinking it. I was drinking about 3-4 cans per day. All symptoms went away on their own. It took me about 1.5 months before the disorientation completely cleared up. The doctors had no answers. It was not until I read the paper aspartame poisoning in 1999 that I had what is probably the answer to what was my problem." "I am not diagnosed with lupus as yet due to the fact that I developed severe and disabling symptoms at around the age of 18 and my father is disabled and cannot afford to pay for any kind of medical insurance or tests for me. (the earliest onset of symptoms such as described here started at around age 15 I am now 32 and can barely walk due to severe pain and failure of my left knee which strangely doesn't show anything on xray) Anyway I found out at 18 that I was unable to consume aspartame without severe repercussions. My entire face hands and feet swelled up so bad I couldn't move. My eyes swelled shut and my throat nearly closed. I got huge red swellings over every part of my body which only itched when they went away. This persisted for about 1 month (which happened to coincide exactly with my mothers switching us to the new diet pepsi with aspartame (nutrasweet) and then stopping because my father hates the stuff) Since then I have had periodic recurrences of this "rash" but of far lesser severity and duration (usually an hour or so of largish red bumps on legs and lower body.) If I so much as take a taste of a product with aspartame my lips can start to swell :/ (happens sometimes when I am offered gum or something I don't know has nutrasweet in it and poof fat lips.) or a drink of diet something or other. usually lasts only a short time. I have passed at least 5 of the 11 tests BTW just not with the same doctors now that I know about such things I have to get the records coordinated... maybe there's hope for me now."

"I too had reactions to the Aspartame and cannot even chew gum with it in. My face breaks out and I get severe headaches after prolonged use. I went to Jenny Craig a few years ago and told them that I was allergic to "NutraSweet". There were a "few Items" I couldn't have. Well it turns out that 90% of the food had "Aspartame" and they pushed the "Light" yogurt etc... I started having the same problems in a few days, ran to the frig/freezer to recheck everything and found the "Aspartame" was the common ingredient! I avoid it like the plague. I think everyone I know things I'm crazy. I was glad to find your website!"

"As for my own personal dealings with the Nutra-Sweet, I did not know that I had Lupus at the time. I later found out. But, I started having severe chest pains, and come to find out, it was from the NUTRA-SWEET!!. Needless to say, I now am on TONS of medication, and have stopped having anything with ASPARTAME in it." Brenda Sylvester

"I have a diabetic father who takes some form of oral drug to keep his blood sugar under control. About 2 years ago he had a severe spell of memory loss, and since has been unable to remember names and numbers, regardless of how many times you tell him. In addition, his concentration is terrible, as well as his motivation to work. I recently had the opportunity to visit with him for several days and noted that he drinks Diet Pepsi exclusively. Since he lives in Florida, I suspected that he was in a constant state of dehydration. I asked him to drink more water, which he did, and he seemed to feel somewhat better. I recently met a diabetic expert and asked her if  memory loss could be associated with diabetes - she said only in extreme cases. I mentioned that he drank only Diet Pepsi, and she said take a look at Aspartame. I have since visited several Web sites presenting the adverse side-affects of Aspartame, especially to diabetics - - I was shocked at what I read - his ailments matched the descriptions almost exactly. He has experienced memory loss, loss/disturbance of taste on one side, vision impairment, and lethargy. I told my father to lay off the Diet Pepsi, and all Aspartame products... He has been off for one week and says he feels better. He's anxious to learn more about the stuff he's been consuming for 10 years. I appreciate the work you've done presenting the information, I look forward to learning more about the subject as well as the recovery of my father. Sincerely, Bert Race"

"Seven or eight years ago my muscles and joints began to experence pain that progressed to near crippling proportions. At the time I worked in construction and was forced to see a doctor After having my knee's shot with steroid and a knee operation the doctors could find nothing. Soon I found I could no longer work without large doses of advil. Finally I had to give up my trade of 20 years. I then was hospitalized for severe depression. Then one day my wife showed me the reports on nurta sweet which I used all the time. After six weeks with out it my many years of pain began to subside. I now am living a pain free life that I thought I would never see again. This may not be a sciencetific study but for I avoid it like the plage. I know of at least 2 other persons who had a similar experiance. If it walks like duck and quacks like a duck I assume it is a duck. thank you C.M.S."

"I was diagnosed with SLE in October 1994, as a result I currently have 50% Kidney failure, and have had to have a heart valve replacement due to Stenosis of the Aortic valve. Obviously I am on loads of medication including EPO and Warfarin. I only found out yesterday about the alleged connection between Aspartame and Lupus. The WEB is full of conflicting information, and I will certainly discuss this with my Kidney Doctor, and Lupus consultant during my next visits with them. My interest is because in January 1994 I switched from sugar in all my hot drinks to Canderel, an artificial sweetener containing Aspartame. This may only be coincidental. Until the re is positive evidence either way I will avoid Aspartame products wherever possible as I feel I have enough complications not to risk that aspartame could be making things worse. I do not believe in the conspiracy theory, but mistakes in the safety of food and medicinal products have been made before. I believe it better to be safe than sorry, and each individual should make their own judgements, but should also seek advice from their medical practitioners as certainly in the UK they should have no vested interest in these products. Hope these comment are of interest. We should be careful of interpretation of information from the internet." Jim

"I have lupus and for years I drank Diet Pepsi and suffered some annoyingly debilitating symptoms of lupus. I was perpetually tired, had joint pain, headaches, inability to concentrate, and memory loss. Upon becoming pregnant, I quit drinking it, and immediately felt better, but did not make a connection. I assumed that the pregnancy just "agreed with me." Then, 6 months after my son was born, I began to drink Diet Pepsi, thinking it would help me lose some of that baby weight. I immediately began to feel the same miserable symptoms as before. It finally dawned on me! I will NEVER use aspartame again! When someone says lupus is not aggravated by aspartame, they probably have not suffered its effects." Lesa

"In 2001, I kept getting sicker and sicker...I went into my homepathic doctor and they ran a blood test and he gave me a list of things to check off ...out of about 50 I had 39...when I went on a strict diet within weeks I became better...He felt I had aspartame poisoning and so do I...I am very careful about any foods and drinks that I consume now and have become very conscious of what ingredients are in the foods and drinks I buy....Since it isn't something that doctor's can treat I think It is highly ignored...I am an insurance agent and tax accountant so I just wanted to add that so you can see I don't look for illnesses...I believe that the entire medical profession should be working together instead of having their little enclaves that let's no other treatments to be used."

"I clued in to my body's reactions to aspartame fairly quickly, probably due to a heightened awareness from reading a few years ago about possible problems it can cause. My symptoms are more prevalent when I consume a product containing aspartame on an empty stomach. If I consume normal amounts of sugar, I tend to get very drowsy, dry-eyed, and even a headache, which I would prefer to sleep off. So a sugar substitute should avoid this? No, aspartame, in particular, causes these symptoms to appear quicker than sugar. So I avoid it completely and definitely feel better. My metabolism is quite high and I am very active, so I usually eat in a balanced manor so that I feel well. My father is sugar intolerant (causes instant migraines) and has yet to receive a determined diagnosis, my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and my older sister with Rheumatoid Arthritis. If there is an underlying genetic disorder that triggers autoimmune disease, then my case may have begun when I was about 20 and in college (1996). I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata (patchy baldness) during a very stressful semester. The three dime-sized patches on the top of my head grew back as the stress was conscientiously decreased and my diet was given better attention. Then in 2000, after being in Russia for one of two years, I developed the seemingly inability to handle processed sugar (symptoms previously mentioned) and started developing two small patches of baldness in the beard area of my jaw. The bald patches have now spread to cover approximately 40 percent of my facial hair, at least creating less area to shave daily. Another possible symptom is the periodic (once a year) lack of being able to get up in the morning for a month or two, therefore sleeping 'extra', even after getting a good night's sleep. I am a white male, now 25, living in the U.S.. The familial facts and demographics should give a more complete picture." David E




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