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Aspartame - Sweetness or Death?

NEW 2003 and 2004 Aspartame Studies
Over 90 Other Aspartame Studies

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004 May;78(1):121-7.
Chronic aspartame affects T-maze performance,
brain cholinergic receptors and Na+,K+-ATPase in rats.

Department of Pharmacology, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA.

This study demonstrated that chronic aspartame consumption in rats can lead to altered T-maze performance and increased muscarinic cholinergic receptor densities in certain brain regions. Control and treated rats were trained in a T-maze to a particular side and then periodically tested to see how well they retained the learned response. Rats that had received aspartame (250 mg/kg/day) in the drinking water for 3 or 4 months showed a significant increase in time to reach the reward in the T-maze, suggesting a possible effect on memory due to the artificial sweetener. Using [(3)H]quinuclidinyl benzilate (QNB) (1 nM) to label muscarinic cholinergic receptors and atropine (10(-6) M) to determine nonspecific binding in whole-brain preparations, aspartame-treated rats showed a 31% increase in receptor numbers when compared to controls. In aspartame-treated rats, there was a significant increase in muscarinic receptor densities in the frontal cortex, midcortex, posterior cortex, hippocampus, hypothalamus and cerebellum of 80%, 60%, 61%, 65%, 66% and 60%, respectively. The midbrain was the only area where preparations from aspartame-treated rats showed a significant increase in Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity. It can be concluded from these data that long-term consumption of aspartame can affect T-maze performance in rats and alter receptor densities or enzymes in brain.

Magnes Res. 2001 Sep;14(3):189-94.
The effect of oral aspartame administration on the balance of magnesium in the rat.
Kovatsi L, Tsouggas M.

Laboratory of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. kovatsi@med.auth.gr

The aim of the present work was to determine the effect of aspartame administration on the excretion of magnesium and its distribution in the various rat tissues and organs. The present results have shown that aspartame administration influences the balance of magnesium in the organism, since in some organs and tissues (heart, lungs, kidneys, adrenals, jejunum, hair and blood) it is accumulated, while other organs (liver and testes) are deprived of it. Aspartame administration also affects the excretion of magnesium from the organism, since it decreases the concentration of magnesium in both urine and feces.

J Pharmacology Science. 2003 Jan;91(1):83-6.
Formaldehyde-induced shrinkage of rat thymocytes.

Nakao H, Umebayashi C, Nakata M, Nishizaki Y, Noda K, Okano Y, Oyama Y.
Laboratory of Cell Signaling, Faculty of Integrated Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokushima, Tokushima, Japan.

Laboratory of Cell Signaling, Faculty of Integrated Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokushima, Tokushima, Japan.

To test the possibility that micromolar formaldehyde, a metabolite of methanol derived from aspartame, exerts cytotoxicity, its effect on rat thymocytes was examined under the in vitro condition using a flow cytometer. Incubation of thymocytes with formaldehyde at 100 micro M or more for 24 h significantly increased the populations of shrunken cells and cells with hypodiploid DNA. The peak blood concentration of methanol in human subjects administered abuse doses of aspartame has been reported to exceed 2 mg/dL (625 micro M). It would increase the population of thymocytes undergoing apoptosis if formaldehyde at 100 micro M or more appears in the blood after administration of aspartame.

Pediatric Neurolgy 2003 Jan;28(1):9-15. The diet factor in pediatric and adolescent migraine.
Millichap JG, Yee MM.

Division of Neurology, Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois 60614, USA.

Diet can play an important role in the precipitation of headaches in children and adolescents with migraine. The diet factor in pediatric migraine is frequently neglected in favor of preventive drug therapy. The list of foods, beverages, and additives that trigger migraine includes cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits, hot dogs, monosodium glutamate, aspartame, fatty foods, ice cream, caffeine withdrawal, and alcoholic drinks, especially red wine and beer. Underage drinking is a significant potential cause of recurrent headache in today's adolescent patients. Tyramine, phenylethylamine, histamine, nitrites, and sulfites are involved in the mechanism of food intolerance headache. Immunoglobulin E-mediated food allergy is an infrequent cause. Dietary triggers affect phases of the migraine process by influencing release of serotonin and norepinephrine, causing vasoconstriction or vasodilatation, or by direct stimulation of trigeminal ganglia, brainstem, and cortical neuronal pathways. Treatment begins with a headache and diet diary and the selective avoidance of foods presumed to trigger attacks. A universal migraine diet with simultaneous elimination of all potential food triggers is generally not advised in practice. A well-balanced diet is encouraged, with avoidance of fasting or skipped meals. Long-term prophylactic drug therapy is appropriate only after exclusion of headache-precipitating trigger factors, including dietary factors.

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