Diet Sodas, Aspartame, Migraine, Seizures, Brain Tumors and Stroke
by Jeffrey Dach MD
A good friend avidly consumes two to three cans a day of Diet Coke. He recently suffered a stroke-like event with loss of speech. Thankfully he quickly recovered with return of function. His friends and family are worried and have urged him to cut out the diet sodas, yet he remains oblivious and continues his addictive behavior.
Aspartame Increases Risk of Stroke
A new study by Hannah Gardener (left image) presented at the 2011 American Stroke Association Conference showed daily diet soda consumption had a 61 percent higher risk of stroke.(1-6) Diet sodas contain aspartame, a questionable food additive that should be avoided. Left image courtesy of Hanna Gardener and U of Miami.
Migraines, Seizures, Tumors
Aspartame is a neuro-stimulant which provokes migraine headaches and potentiates epileptic seizures in animal studies.(7)(8) Dr. Olney says aspartame consumption explains the increased incidence of brain tumors in the population. Animal studies show an exceedingly high incidence of brain tumors in aspartame-fed rats compared to no brain tumors in concurrent controls.(9) A 2005 study by Italian researcher Morando Soffritti found aspartame to have carcinogenic potential in animal studies. (10)
Adverse Effects of Aspartame on Brain Chemistry
A review in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition looks at adverse effects of aspartame on brain chemistry:(11)
“Aspartame is composed of phenylalanine (50%), aspartic acid (40%) and methanol (10%). Phenylalanine plays a role in neurotransmitter regulation, whereas aspartic acid plays a role as an excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Consumption of aspartame causes neurological and behavioural disturbances in sensitive individuals. Headaches, insomnia and seizures are reported neurological effects, due to changes in brain concentrations of norepinephrine, epinephrine and dopamine. Excessive aspartame ingestion is associated with compromised learning and emotional functioning.”(11)
“Aspartame disturbs amino acid metabolism, protein structure, neuronal function, endocrine balance and changes in the brain concentrations of catecholamines. Aspartame causes nerves to fire excessively, which indirectly causes a very high rate of neuron depolarization. The ATP stores in the cells are depleted, mitochondria are damaged, leading to apoptosis of cells. The cellular walls are destroyed; thus, the cells (endothelium of the capillaries) are more permeable, leading to a compromised Blood brain barrier and greater oxidative stress and neurodegeneration.”(11)
Once the chemistry of aspartame is understood, the adverse effects become understandable and obvious. Of course aspartame consumption causes stroke and other neuro-degenerative disorders. This is the chemistry of the drug.
Video on Aspartame: Sweet Misery A Poisoned World – 90 minutes
Books on Adverse Effects of Aspartame:
Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills by Russell Blaylock, M.D
Articles with related interest:
The Grocery Store as Mine Field, Avoiding the Dangers
Links and References
Aspartame linked to Stroke
(1) J Gen Intern Med. 2012 Sep; 27(9): 1120–1126.
Diet Soft Drink Consumption is Associated with an Increased Risk of Vascular Events in the Northern Manhattan Study. Hannah Gardener, ScD,et al.
UM Study Finds Possible Link Between Diet Soda and Vascular Risks.
Diet soda may raise odds of vascular events; salt linked to stroke risk
American Stroke Association Meeting Report: Abstracts P55 and 25
Study Highlights: Drinking diet soda daily is linked to a higher risk of stroke, heart attack and vascular-related deaths. American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2011.
In findings involving 2,564 people in the large, multi-ethnic Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS), scientists said people who drank diet soda every day had a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events than those who reported no soda drinking.
“If our results are confirmed with future studies, then it would suggest that diet soda may not be the optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages for protection against vascular outcomes,” said Hannah Gardener, Sc.D., lead author and epidemiologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, Fla.
Is Diet Soda Linked to Heart, Stroke Risk? Study Suggests Connection Between Drinking Diet Soda and Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke By Charlene Laino WebMD
Health NewsReviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD Feb. 9, 2011 (Los Angeles) — You may feel less guilty if you opt for diet sodas over sugary beverages, but drinking them regularly may raise your risk of heart attack and stroke, a study suggests.
In a nine-year study of more than 2,500 people, those who drank diet soda daily were 48% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke or die from those events, compared with those who rarely or never drank soda. The analysis, presented at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference (ISC),
Diet soda and heart, stroke risk: A link doesn’t prove cause and effect
Aspartame Medical Literature
may provoke headache
Headache. 1997 Nov-Dec;37(10):665-6. Chewing gum headaches. Blumenthal HJ, Vance DA. Department of Neurology, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Tulsa, USA.
Abstract Aspartame, a popular dietetic sweetener, may provoke headache in some susceptible individuals. Herein, we describe three cases of young women with migraine who reported their headaches could be provoked by chewing sugarless gum containing aspartame.
potentiates induction of seizures
Possible neurologic effects of aspartame, a widely used food additive. T J Maher and R J Wurtman Environ Health Perspect. 1987 November; 75: 53–57. Department of Pharmacology, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, Boston 02115.
The artificial sweetener aspartame (L-aspartyl-L-phenylalanyl-methyl ester), is consumed, primarily in beverages, by a very large number of Americans, causing significant elevations in plasma and, probably, brain phenylalanine levels. Anecdotal reports suggest that some people suffer neurologic or behavioral reactions in association with aspartame consumption. Since phenylalanine can be neurotoxic and can affect the synthesis of inhibitory monoamine neurotransmitters, the phenylalanine in aspartame could conceiveably mediate neurologic effects. If mice are given aspartame in doses that elevate plasma phenylalanine levels more than those of tyrosine (which probably occurs after any aspartame dose in humans), the frequency of seizures following the administration of an epileptogenic drug, pentylenetetrazole, is enhanced. This effect is simulated by equimolar phenylalanine and blocked by concurrent administration of valine, which blocks phenylalanine’s entry into the brain. Aspartame also potentiates the induction of seizures by inhaled fluorothyl or by electroconvulsive shock. Perhaps regulations concerning the sale of food additives should be modified to require the reporting of adverse reactions and the continuing conduct of mandated safety research.
Apartame causes brain tumors in animal studies. May explain increased incidence of brain tumors in the US.
J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1996 Nov;55(11):1115-23.
Increasing brain tumor rates: is there a link to aspartame?
Olney JW, Farber NB, Spitznagel E, Robins LN.Department of Psychiatry, Washington University Medical School, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.
In the past two decades brain tumor rates have risen in several industrialized countries, including the United States. During this time, brain tumor data have been gathered by the National Cancer Institute from catchment areas representing 10% of the United States population. In the present study, we analyzed these data from 1975 to 1992 and found that the brain tumor increases in the United States occurred in two distinct phases, an early modest increase that may primarily reflect improved diagnostic technology, and a more recent sustained increase in the incidence and shift toward greater malignancy that must be explained by some other factor(s). Compared to other environmental factors putatively linked to brain tumors, the artificial sweetener aspartame is a promising candidate to explain the recent increase in incidence and degree of malignancy of brain tumors. Evidence potentially implicating aspartame includes an early animal study revealing an exceedingly high incidence of brain tumors in aspartame-fed rats compared to no brain tumors in concurrent controls, the recent finding that the aspartame molecule has mutagenic potential, and the close temporal association (aspartame was introduced into US food and beverage markets several years prior to the sharp increase in brain tumor incidence and malignancy). We conclude that there is need for reassessing the carcinogenic potential of aspartame.
(10) Aspartame induces lymphomas and leukaemias in rats. Eur. J. Oncol., vol. 10, n. 2, pp. 00-00, 2005 IN PRESS Morando Soffritti, Fiorella Belpoggi, Davide Degli Esposti, Luca Lambertini Cancer Research Centre, European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences, Bologna, Italy Aspartame induces lymphomas and leukaemias in rats Eur J Oncol 2005 Morando Soffritti
(11) Humphries, P., E. Pretorius, and H. Naude. “Direct and indirect cellular effects of aspartame on the brain.” European journal of clinical nutrition 62.4 (2008): 451-462. Direct and indirect cellular effects of aspartame on the brain Humphries European journal of clinical nutrition 2008
Environ Health Perspect. 2006 March; 114(3): 379–385.
First Experimental Demonstration of the Multipotential Carcinogenic Effects of Aspartame Administered in the Feed to Sprague-Dawley Rats. Morando Soffritti, Fiorella Belpoggi, Davide Degli Esposti, Luca Lambertini, Eva Tibaldi, and Anna Rigano
14) Nill, Ashley G. “The History of Aspartame.” (2000). Nill_Ashley_The_History_of_Aspartame_2000_Harvard
15) ASPARTAME DISEASE: The Ignored EPIDEMIC – By H. J. Roberts, M.D.
Mercola -Apartame Links
16) Sweet Misery: The Horrors of Aspartame Revealed in Documentary
17) Why Nutrasweet was so Successful and Will Likely Never be Replaced by Splenda
18) Aspartame Is By Far, the Most Dangerous Substance On the Market That Is Added To Foods http://www.mercola.com/article/aspartame/nutrasweet_scandal.htm
19) Aspartame – Avoid It
20) FDA Pivotal Safety Study: Aspartame Caused Brain Seizures
21) http://www.dorway.com/ aspartame dangers Bettty Martini Site
22) http://www.whale.to/w/excitotoxins.html – THE ASPARTAME CONSPIRACY
23) http://www.aspartame.com (Mark Gold)
Books on Aspartame:
Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills by Russell Blaylock, M.D
Dr. John Olney and Jas. Turner, Esq. – Two Brave Unsung Heroes
Videos on Aspartame
Sweet Misery #1 – 52 min documentary on You Tube
Sweet Misery #2 on You Tube.
Dr. Devra Davis talks about Aspartame
Aspartame – the hidden poison for society
Discussion Board Links:
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