Here are a couple of the things I found on line today that got me seriously considering this:
By Dr. Grant La Farge
November 21, 2005
The recent letter defending aspartame by Paul R. Block, the Merisant Co.'s chief executive officer, should not be left to stand without comment. The thrust of the company's defense of their product aspartame is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved it and, therefore, its safety is beyond question. This comes at a time when faith in the FDA's ability to make decisions that protect average citizens from products that cause harm is at an all-time low. Consider the recent withdrawal and litigation surrounding Vioxx as well the withdrawal of the anti-inflammatory medication Bextra, and you'll know the FDA frequently makes mistakes that cost lives. Block asserts, "Aspartame's safety has been borne out in more than 200 toxicological and clinical studies of the product over the past 30 years." Yet for every industry-funded study, which "proves" aspartame's safety, there are several corporate-neutral studies showing harm. In 1998, when Ralph G. Walton, professor of clinical psychology at Northeastern Ohio Universities compared the results of aspartame "safety" studies according to who funded the study, he found that nearly 100 percent of independent research shows aspartame is toxic -- while 100 percent of industry-funded research shows it to be harmless. Guess which research gets submitted to regulatory authorities? A swift perusal of the process of aspartame's approval by the FDA is enough to enlighten even the most skeptical as to the way this artificial sweetener has been strong-armed through the approval process by corporate pressure rather than good science. According to the FDA's own consumer-complaint data, adverse effects from aspartame include chronic headaches, stomach upsets and skin rashes, memory loss, depression, mood swings, seizures, damaged vision or, in extreme cases, fatality. Aspartame has three main constituents: the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine, and methanol. In liquids, when exposed to heat and in the body, it quickly breaks down into these constituents, and these then are further broken down into other toxic substances such as formalin. Research by Dr. H. J. Roberts -- an eminent Florida physician and author of Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic -- shows that the health problems caused by aspartame's breakdown products can mimic or worsen several devastating diseases including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, fibromyalgia, arthritis, lupus, chronic-fatigue syndrome, attention-deficit disorder, depression, diabetes, Lyme disease and hypothyroidism. Others, including Walton and Dr. Russell Blaylock, neuro-scientist and author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, have confirmed his data. Such findings are significant. Many diseases fall into the category of medicine's "mystery diseases" -- conditions with no clear cause and few effective cures. How many people diagnosed with, for example, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's or chronic-fatigue syndrome might end up on a regimen of drugs that could have been avoided if they stopped consuming aspartame-containing products? We ingest food additives daily, yet their approval does not require the same scientific thoroughness as drug approval. Approval does not involve looking at what people are already eating and whether the proposed substance will interact with other additives. It doesn't take into account whether the additive exacerbates damage caused by other aspects of the modern lifestyle, like pesticide ingestion. Nor does it look for subtle chronic effects -- for instance, the gradual buildup of methanol in the body with regular aspartame ingestion. It doesn't take into account the unique vulnerability of children who, pound for pound, absorb more concentrated amounts of any substance than an adult does and whose developing bodies are more sensitive to such assaults by toxins. We rely on regulatory agencies to make decisions about what is not safe. Many of these agencies are merely extensions of big business; we can no longer trust that their decisions are in our best interests. Average people must, therefore, become experts in chemistry and toxicology in order to make reasonable choices in the supermarket, which is unacceptable. When decisions taken at the federal level can no longer be counted on to provide adequate protection, it is incumbent upon all of us to educate state agencies and boards and to be proactive in seeking exclusion of such substances as aspartame from human consumption. Grant La Farge, MD, FACC is a pediatric cardiologist in practice in Santa Fe.
Fibromyalgia and MSG and Aspartame
CASE SUMMARY: Four patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome for two to 17 years are described. All had undergone multiple treatment modalities with limited success. All had complete, or nearly complete, resolution of their symptoms within months after eliminating monosodium glutamate (MSG) or MSG plus aspartame from their diet.
All patients were women with multiple comorbidities prior to elimination of MSG. All have had recurrence of symptoms whenever MSG is ingested.
DISCUSSION: Excitotoxins are molecules, such as MSG and aspartate, that act as excitatory neurotransmitters, and can lead to neurotoxicity when used in excess.
We propose that these four patients may represent a subset of fibromyalgia syndrome that is induced or exacerbated by excitotoxins or, alternatively, may comprise an excitotoxin syndrome that is similar to fibromyalgia.
We suggest that identification of similar patients and research with larger numbers of patients must be performed before definitive conclusions can be made.
CONCLUSIONS: The elimination of MSG and other excitotoxins from the diets of patients with fibromyalgia offers a benign treatment option that has the potential for dramatic results in a subset of patients.
For the full report click on the link in "case summary."