Below is a compilation of information on artificial sweeteners:

Why Avoiding Artificial Sweeteners Is Important (Dr. Mercola)

The use of artificial sweeteners has caused a great debate in health care. According to AAHON, “scientists disagree about the relationships between sweeteners and lymphomas, leukemias, cancers of the bladder and brain, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, autism, and systemic lupus.  Recently these substances have received increased attention due to their effects on glucose regulation.”

Further studies have linked these substances to a variety of diseases and pathologies including those listed above along with vague clinical symptoms affecting vision, memory, digestion, and muscle and joint pain have also been correlated to the use of these sweeteners. The link above provides a 90 minute movie on the background of this excitotoxin.

A brief summary:

Aspartame reactions may be caused by the compound itself, its three components, stereoisomers of the amino acids, toxic breakdown products (including formaldehyde), or combinations thereof. They often occur in conjunction with severe caloric restriction and excessive exercise to lose weight.

Various metabolic and physiologic disturbances explain the clinical complications.

Only a few are listed:

  • Damage to the retina or optic nerves is largely due to methyl alcohol exposure. Unlike most animals, humans cannot efficiently metabolize it.
  • High concentrations of phenylalanine and aspartic acid occur in the brain after aspartame intake, unlike the modest levels of amino acids following conventional protein consumption.
  • Aspartame alters the function of major amino acid-derived neurotransmitters, especially in obese persons and after carbohydrate intake.
  • Phenylalanine stimulates the release of insulin and growth hormone.
  • The ambiguous signals to the satiety center following aspartame intake may result either in increased food consumption or severe anorexia.
  • Brain tumors, including brain cancer: Aspartame can disturb the metabolism of amino acids, protein structure and metabolism, the integrity of nucleic acids, neuronal function and depolarization, and endocrine balance, ultimately leading to tumor growth and cancer. In 1981, an FDA statistician stated the brain tumor data on aspartame was “so worrisome” that he could not recommend approval of aspartame (NutraSweet).
  • Large amounts of the radioactive-carbon label from oral aspartame intake have been detected in DNA.
  • Drug Chemical Toxicity Journal reported a study linking artificial sweeteners with damage to Genes:

    In the present study, we evaluated the mutagenicity of the three low-calorie sweeteners in the Ames/Salmonella/microsome test and their genotoxic potential by comet assay in the bone marrow cells of mice. Swiss albino mice, Mus musculus, were orally administered with different concentrations of aspartame (ASP; 7, 14, 28, and 35 mg/kg body weight), acesulfame-K (ASK; 150, 300, and 600 mg/kg body weight), and saccharin (50, 100, and 200 mg/kg body weight) individually.

    These findings are important, since they represent a potential health risk associated with the exposure to these agents.

    Aspartame may be implicated in mood disorders according to Biological Psychiatry:

    We conclude that individuals with mood disorders are particularly sensitive to this artificial sweetener and its use in this population should be discouraged.

    Food Chemical Toxicology Journal reports a connection with aspartame (ASP) to brain function and alzheimer’s:

    IN CONCLUSION: ASP compounds may directly and/or indirectly act on the frontal cortex AChE. High or toxic doses of the sweetener remarkably decreased the enzyme activity. If this in vitro finding comes into human reality, it may be suggested that cholinergic symptoms are related to the consumption of the above ASP doses.

    Here’s further Links to Aspartame in the News