Aspartame Consumer Safety Network
P.O. Box 2001
Frisco, Texas 75034 U.S.
Phone/FAX: 214.387.4001


Neurological/Psychological side effects of Aspartame ingestion

DALLAS - February 1, 2001 - ACSN -- For the record, 92 aspartame-related symptoms -- including 5 deaths -- have been reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. At least 75% of all complaints to the USFDA are regarding the artificial sweetener, better known as: NutraSweet, Canderal, Equal, etc.

At Aspartame Consumer Safety Network [Dallas-based all volunteer international organization], we are increasingly concerned with the more sinister reported psychological side effects of aspartame ingestion. One aspartame component, phenylalanine (50%of the molecule) has been shown in the laboratory to block production of a necessary neurotransmitter, serotonin, which controls sleep patterns and moods. Many daily users of products containing the sweetener such as diet drinks, gums, etc. report both manic and suicidal depressions among other their symptoms. Aspartame also breaks down in heat and in the body to the addictive depressant, methanol (10% wood alcohol), formaldehyde [embalming fluid], formic acid and diketopiperazine (a documented brain tumor agent].

Even subtle alterations of brain patterns in aspartame users may be deemed significant, according to these prominent brain researchers:

Richard Wurtman, M.D., head of Brain Science at MIT says, "There is evidence that levels of serotonin or 5-HIAA are subnormal in CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) samples from violent psychiatric patients and in brains of people who died by suicide." 1

"In rats, the administration of glucose and aspartame by gavage increased brain levels of tyrosine and phenylalanine and decreased brain serotonin concentration. It has been argued that these changes in brain amino acid and biogenic amine levels in rats may have important behavioral implications for humans." 2

Ralph Walton, M.D., a respected researcher at the Department of Psychiatry, Northeastern Ohio Univ. College of Medicine and Director of Research Western Reserve Care System, states, "We conclude that individuals with mood disorders are particularly sensitive to this artificial sweetener and its use in this population should be discouraged." 3

Lane Lenard, Phd wrote: "In one meta-analysis, five out of seven studies reported reduced levels of serotonin and/or 5_HIAA in the brain stems of suicide victims."

Neurologist, Russell Blaylock, writes that, "In the case of children, the damage done at the time of initial exposure produces no obvious outward effects. However, when the child reaches a later stage of development, the damage may present itself as an emotion control disorder [violent episodes, schizophrenia, paranoia]. Hundreds of millions of children are at great risk and their parents are not even aware of it. Early exposure to excitotoxins [aspartame] could cause a tendency for episodic violence and criminal behavior in later years." 5

Aspartame (aka NutraSweet/Equal), as shown in the literature, can be a powerful, mind-altering drug - driving some over the abyss into dark, sinister depressions they can not shake, even with the use of anti-depressants. Suicide, for many individuals may seem to be the only way out.

On a brighter note, abstinence from aspartame has been reported to have a miraculous effect on some, allowing for a happier existence and the ability to cope with life's normal problems in a non threatening way. A clear understanding of this issue may mean the difference between life and death for some.


### End notes 1 Wurtman, Richard J. ,M.D.; Effects of Dietary Amino Acids, Carbohydrates, and Choline on Neurotransmitter Synthesis; The Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine; Vol. 55, No. 1, January 1988. From the Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and The Clinical Research Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.]

2 JAMA, July 19,1985- Vol 254, No.3, p.402

3 Adverse Reactions to Aspartame: Double-Blind Challenge in Patients from a Vulnerable Population,the Journal of Biological Psychiatry, 1993

4 Lane Lenard, Phd as reported in Life Enhancement, January, 1998

5 Blaylock, Russell M.D., Excitotoxins - The Taste That Kills