For over 30 years one of the world's most controversial food additives has been implicated in causing severe health problems across the globe in a cumulative and silent manner akin to that of tobacco and smoking.
In the same way as the tobacco industry knew of the health implications of smoking some 30 odd years before being forced to admit it, there are many across the world who believe the scientific evidence that aspartame is poisonous to human health has been known by the creators of the substance for many decades.
Whilst the institutions that are supposed to protect our health, the Food Standards Agency in the UK and the European Food Standards Agency are compromised by vested interests and pressure from the food industry, scientific and independent studies on the effects of Aspartame (E951, Nutrasweet by other names) on human health are analysed in a bias and non-scientific manner in order to arrive at a pre-determined conclusion; according to many scientists working in the food safety arena.
But what is the human cost?
Anna Robb is a young woman who had an outstanding career and a bright future ahead of her as she excelled in her education in the sciences and mathematics at school, until severe health problems put an end to that.
She tells unionsafety of her experience, the misery aspartame poisoning has caused to her health and life: a promising and bright future cut short as her health plummeted, depression kicked in and the health professionals around her let her down.
In a detailed report Anna tells us of her journey, of how her scientific background allowed her to research in a methodical and authoritative manner; the causes of serious incapacitating ill-health which she now knows was caused by aspartame poisoning as a result of the accumulation of the food additive in her body over a period of many years.
Here, in her own words is the story of the human cost of a silent poison:
I was born in 1984, Gloucester, England to my RAF serviceman father and my stay at home mother. From early on my mother gave both myself and my brother sweets and drinks containing artificial sweeteners. She did this as she wanted to protect our teeth against tooth decay, since both her and her siblings had problems with this.
Despite not having a huge appetite I would have been described as having puppy fat compared to my younger brother Andrew, the difference being – I ingested more aspartame. At secondary school I acquired the name “Anna Rexic” due to my restricted eating habit yet could never get anything below a UK size 10 which was still classed as chubby for my short stature.
Due to being teased for this I would always have the sugar free or diet version of any drink. I literally feared being mocked or told “you shouldn’t be having that” if I were to have the full fat version. Looking back my parents should have taken more of an interest as to why I was slightly chubbier, especially around my teens.
My formative years which should have been memorable were, but for all the wrong reasons. I was depressed, exhausted, had headaches and anxiety. I was put on antidepressants at aged 16, the side effects of which were so horrific that they forced me to quit college since the doctor insisted that these “magic pills” would make my problems better and that I should carry on taking them, even if it meant giving up my future. They didn’t work and I eventually ended up working for the MOD for the next eight years slowly getting sicker and sicker and still ingesting aspartame.
I tried every diet, every pill, had tests. Around the age of 27, my health quickly deteriorated to the point that I had no other option but to take voluntary redundancy. However I remained positive that I would get my health on track and get on with life.
That was not to be.
The next 5 years was a complete nightmare of sickness and suffering. I had unexplained physical pain, hyperthyroidism, massive anxiety attacks, hyperadrenalism; and even more weight gain. I had to give up driving and became almost housebound. I had multiple tests, scans, operations. Nothing helped and I never once considered that the drink I had every morning to take with my beloved vitamins (which it turned out were also bad for me) were slowly poisoning me. “Safe is safe” I would tell myself and I would never question the judgement of the government.
The final straw was a CT scan for a possible dopamine/noradrenalin secreting tumour which turned out to be negative. I had finally exhausted all my options for the potential causes for my illness.
In a fit of despair I went through my entire medical history, starting at the beginning as a last ditch attempt to find out what was wrong with me.
I came across an extremely common genetic “quirk” I was told that I had by my father via his haematologist when he developed a blood clot.
I looked up the condition called MTHFR (methyl tetra hydro folate reductase) C677T and found out these things:
- The condition causes bio-active folic deficiency which is not visible on a bog standard test. 1
- It causes clinical depression unmanaged (they don’t want you knowing that) 2
- Carriers cannot process synthetic folic acid (something I was not informed), it makes you worse. 3,4
- Carriers quote problems with the ingestion of artificial sweetener aspartame though they think that it’s due to an impaired ability for the body to detox.
- The Side effects of supplemental bio-active folate look a lot like aspartame.5
Aspartame toxicity matched every single one of my symptoms. 6,7 Looking up aspartame I found out that it had an affinity for the dopamine receptors a strong link to the dopamine receptors implying that it accumulates in them, this explained the dopamine connection.
I had never been able to make to link to aspartame due to the following: My intake has never been what would be viewed as excessive and we have all been “assured” that it is safe.
I had gone without aspartame for weeks at a time and never experienced withdrawals or improvement in my symptoms, this was to be because there was something different with my body which meant that I couldn’t break it down to get rid of it. I felt both angry at the injustice and humiliated to have a condition that is not supposed to exist.
I wanted to find out how this condition causes the aspartame to build up un-metabolised. In my extensive research I found out that folate deficiency causes the liver to lower stomach acid (also called a betaine) which in turn prevents the activation of a specific protease enzyme called Pepsin. 8
From medical literature:
“Pepsin is most efficient in breaking the bonds of proteins between hydrophobic and preferably aromatic amino acids such as phenylalanine, tryptophan, and tyrosine”. 9
Now, what I am about to detail to you is my personal expereince and I am not recommending anyone to do the same as a way to solve their health problems. See a GP and do not self medicate.
I ingested pepsin tablets (based in hydrochloric acid) acquired from a reputable retailer and got the shock of my life when I experienced the side effects of large amounts of aspartic acid, phenylalanine and “expelled” a mucous substance from my stomach. It turns out methanol converts into formaldehyde, which the body encases in mucus as a form of detoxification called diffusion. 10
After continually ingesting pepsin and/or methylfolate I stopped experiencing symptoms of the breakdown of aspartame. Yet I was still very ill. I came to the conclusion that I must also have heavy metal poisoning as my condition (MTHFR) can also cause this. To the extend that is often referred to as the "detox gene". 68
I found online a multi-use amino acid called N-acetyl-l-cysteine, that also works as a chelator 69, albeit a poor one but needs must. I ingested nine grams of this overlooked anti-oxidant to do a DIY chelation therapy (which is when a substance is put in the body to remove heavy metals from the body, you either get hooked up to an IV or ingest a substance to do this). Two hours after doing so I vomited vast quantities of this mucus substance, and experienced my first and worst case of withdrawal of aspartame. I sweated, trembled and craved it like a heroin addict. I had vivid dreams about drinking my “beloved” diet drink out of a draught.
Medical literature again comes to the rescue and states that amongst it’s other uses NAC has been shown to have a stimulatory effect on dopamine receptors. 12 In studies on schizophrenics, NAC improved symptoms despite it knowing to stimulate dopamine and resulted with gastrointestinal problems, 13 which you would expect with this “excitotoxin” now in the stomach’s dopamine receptors (less enzyme’s, more insulin, sodium excretion).
Guess what, schizophrenics are known to have MTHFR. 14 As I got physically healthier breaking down the aspartame, I paradoxically got more and more depressed. This was due to the large quantities of phenylalanine I was unleashing inside my body. Not wanting to touch SSRI’s as I had experienced such bad side effects to them.
I suspected the reasons for this were due to aspartame.
Years ago whilst researching my repeatedly negative reactions to SSRI’s, I discovered from medical journals that “excess serotonin converts dopamine receptors into a type of serotonin receptor”. 11 Indeed I once had a reaction to Citalopram, whilst simultaneously going on a massive health kick (10+ portions of fruit/veg a day) that involved vomiting this mucus substance. This has never happened with SSRI’s before or after this incident.
Despite it not being in any way natural at the time I wrote it off as salivation due to nausea. I found a way to increase my serotonin naturally to test this theory. By taking 5-HTP along with either vitamin B6, or even better bio-active B6 to create instant serotonin. Again after ingesting this I experienced another massive purge.
What on earth was serotonin doing in regards to aspartame?
I now know two things: NAC and Serotonin (and therefore SSRI’s) have the ability to remove aspartame from the dopamine receptors. You won’t however see the effects very often in SSRIs as depressed people do not typically activate pepsin.
The vast majority of depression is due to bio-active folate deficiency, folate deficiency halts pepsin activation. The worldwide statistics and prevalence of this condition are incredible. 70,71
Over 5 brutal months I used a variety of method’s involving serotonin, NAC, pepsin and bio-active folate and got myself free of this poison.
I gathered all my research including methods of removal, and medical tests to prove accumulation and more than 10 other factors that increase the rate of aspartame accumulation. I passed this on to the Food Standards Agency, and my local MP. I have only very recently had a response from the FSA.
They stated that a company called JECFA had heated some pepsin with aspartame and nothing happened so I am wrong and I should see a doctor.
A lab is not the human body.
Enzymes require specific environments and often co-factors in order to carry out certain tasks. (these tasks are referred to as enzyme catalysis). 73,74,75 Show me long term human studies using folate and pepsin as a parameter. Then tell me folate and pepsin is not a factor. They cannot and have not done so. Show me studies using substances that affect the dopamine receptors (like SSRIs) on people that are not folate deficient and are activating pepsin, they have not done so.
Many of you will have aspartame accumulation but won’t have the symptoms I had as you do not get that until you reach a level of saturation which in my case took around 25 years of ingestion before it got really bad.
I will also remind you accumulation will not show on a blood test as it is aspartame whole, un-metabolised, which is why it’s so dangerous.
Not only can I prove accumulation has happened it has already HAS been proven, with the documented side effects for SSRI’s.
The drugs themselves do not cause aspartame accumulation, but are shown to produce side effects as a result of it. Folate deficiency is a common cause of depression and (without it you cannot “methylate” 15,16 which is how you create serotonin 83) and aspartame accumulation (by causing the enzyme pepsin to be inactive from reduced stomach acid 8, 34 ).
SSRIs work by keeping existing serotonin in the brain from breaking down, 84 so when the serotonin levels get high enough this is resulting in dopamine receptors containing aspartame being converted into serotonin receptors. 11
Aspartame is then being moved or dislodged from the receptors to the stomach. If it is not broken down the aspartame can then re-settle in dopamine receptors not affected by the serotonin, this process can take a few weeks upon which the side effects subside.
From personal experience as aspartame accumulation increased, the side effects of SSRI got much worse.
I lasted less than 48 hours on my last course of SSRI’s, as the side effects caused so much suffering that I could not continue. The nausea is much more intense and the whole experience is more like withdrawal. For those without aspartame accumulation, the side effects of SSRIs arguably more bearable.
In the uncommon cases where the factors inhibiting pepsin activation have been corrected which can be done with lifestyle changes which are sometimes advised prior to taking SSRIs, 85 you can clearly see signs of large amounts of phenylalanine (which quickly turns into dopamine), aspartic acid and methanol.
Severe warnings are given when prescribing SSRIs to children 86 as they can cause suicidal tendencies and aggression. They are unique in that as their stomach acid is much stronger 87 so they can still activate some pepsin 88 whilst experiencing depression.
If they have had aspartame for some years they will experience the effects of sufficient phenylalanine and aspartic acid to induce very negative behaviour. Methanol side effects are not expected methanol is only 11% of aspartame 89 and due to the higher stomach acid the rate of aspartame accumulation will be very low.
It must also be remembered that one in 15,000 people in the world has a genetic disorder called Phenylketonuria.
Put simply their body can’t metabolise synthesise phenylalanine.
As it builds up in the body, it causes all sorts of bad things to happen, such as mental retardation, seizures, and other brain damage. People suffering from Phenylketonuria (or PKU) are called phenylketonurics. They need to constantly monitor their protein intake.
They are also warned about consumption of products containing aspartame – hence the warning on labels – ‘contains phenylalanine.’
Aspartame is almost impossible for the body to break down completely because it is foreign to what the body was designed to assimilate.
This may also of course be the case with other artificial sweeteners on the market such as Sucralose ( also known as Splenda, Zerocal, Sukrana, SucraPlus, Candys, Cukren, and Nevella.)
Children have been shown to be more susceptible to aspartame breakdown symptoms like seizures. 90
My health now:
Basically nearly everything listed has gone. I have lost around 2 dress sizes in weight, yet I eat around 2-3 times more and can finally eat carbohydrates again without getting sick. My “hormonal problems” are gone. The physical, emotional and the cosmetic issues are now on the mend.
It will take a while for the hair that I lost to grow back, and to lose the weight that this poison caused me to gain, and then lose my confidence in the process. I no longer get the autoimmune attacks that I did before which could be debilitating.
As happy as I am to finally start feeling normal I can’t help but keep sadness for the life I lost out on and the suffering I endured due to being poisoned. I feel angry the dishonesty of the manufactures of aspartame and the lax attitude of governing bodies who are meant to protect us. It is not fair that they have not taken any responsibility for putting this poison on the market over three decades ago.
It may not the fault of those currently in power that aspartame was put on the market 35 years ago. But It IS THEIR responsibility to do something about it which they are not doing.
Some supermarkets have recently swapped aspartame with Sucralose giving no reason. Don’t let them say it was because of your “unfounded” fears and sneak it out the backdoor with no accountability for the damage done. I have talked with many people whom have experienced the same initial aspartame accumulation symptoms. Once they saw the connection, they stopped the aspartame and slowly got better. - Anna
Supportng Documentation and References:
The following has been sourced and written by Anna as annexes to her original article above.
List of Referenced Material
My Symptoms Of Aspartame Poisening
Parameters That Increase Chance Of Aspartame Toxicity
Aspartame Accumulation And Dopamine
*Readers should note that this article and it's annexes is not presented here as a scientific paper and therefore is not subjected to peer review.
Many of the references listed as source documents, however, have been.