This sugar substitute may not cause cancer - but it?s still not safe

May 08, 2007
Volume 04    |   Issue 19

Recently, scientists at the National Cancer Institute studied aspartame in hundreds of thousands of adults, aged 50-69, and found no link to cancer. So they pronounced it safe. But just how safe is it?

If you listen to this one study, you might think it?s safe. But it?s not. We already have a lot of evidence that shows it can have a devastating effect on your brain. One of the chemicals in aspartame is aspartate, a brain toxin called an "excitotoxin." This toxin destroys certain sensitive brain cells.

In fact, excitotoxins play a major role in degenerative brain diseases. These include ALS, Parkinson?s, and Alzheimer?s. However, the NCI study didn?t look at this. It only looked at aspartame?s relationship to cancer.

But this study doesn?t completely exonerate it from causing cancer. Last year, an Italian study on laboratory animals found that female rats that ate aspartame developed more lymphomas and leukemia than those that didn?t. So there is a cancer connection. And there?s a lot more evidence than just this one study. Some of the strongest comes from the manufacturer.

That?s right! G.D. Searle, the very company that manufactures NutraSweet, conducted experiments to test its safety before it received final approval from the FDA in 1981. In these experiments, the incidence of brain tumors in rats fed aspartame was 25 times higher than rats not on aspartame. The more aspartame, the more brain tumors. Still, the National Cancer Institute pronounced it safe.

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Obviously, the National Cancer Institute isn?t looking at all the facts. But cancer and brain problems aren?t all we have to worry about. Since aspartame became available to the public, thousands of people have reported negative reactions after using aspartame. These reactions disappeared when they stopped using it. These symptoms include headaches, sore muscles, poor coordination, depression, seizures, and joint pain, to name just a few. So whether or not aspartame contributes to cancer, it may not be safe for you.

Aspartame is not just NutraSweet or Equal. This artificial sweetener is used in chewing gum, sodas, dairy products, diet products, and even some medications. If you have unexplained symptoms, such as the ones I just mentioned, and you use aspartame, you may want to do a little experiment. Stop using it for a few weeks and see whether or not your symptoms disappear. If they do, then you know you have a sensitivity to this excitotoxin.

For more information on the subject, read my article, Aspartame: How Sweet, and Dangerous, It Is! This article appeared in the November 2002 issue of Women?s Health Letter. It?s available online to all newsletter subscribers at

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


Blaylock, Russell L., MD. Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills (Health Press, 1997).

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