Effect of Nutrasweet on health.

banschbach at vms.ocom.okstate.edu banschbach at vms.ocom.okstate.edu
Wed Aug 4 22:17:45 EST 1993


In article <16C1DCB70.SIMMS at vmd.cso.uiuc.edu>, SIMMS at vmd.cso.uiuc.edu writes:
> In article <1993Jul30.154752.1 at vms.ocom.okstate.edu>
> banschbach at vms.ocom.okstate.edu writes:
>>
>>Adults handle these amino acid imbalances fairly well with no permanent
>>damage.  Headaches and dizzyness are the main problems.  For children under
>>the age of 9 though, chronic exposure to phenylalanine, aspartic acid or
>>glutamic acid if they can not prevent blood level spikes from occuring after
>>eating foods or beverages with high amounts of these amino acids could
>>cause permnant brain damage.  This is because the human brain is not fully
>>wired (mature) until about 9 years of age.  Children with PKU can eat foods
>>with phenylalanine after their brain matures but if phenylalanine is high
>>during brain development, mental retardartion occurs.
>>
>>Just like PKU, only a very small population will not be able to handle
>>aspartic acid or glutamic acid but for these people, too much aspartic acid
>>(nutrasweet) or glutamic acid (Monosodium glutamate, MSG) before the age of
[B>>9 could cause serious irreversiable brain damage.  This is why MSG is no
>>longer allowed in baby foods.
>>
>>Marty B.
>>
> Marty --
> Thanks for the nice summary (only part reprinted here).  But I'm left with
> a couple of questions.  Since it seems the problem is mainly for children,
> is it possible to tell that nutrasweet is causing them a problem before
> the actual brain damage?  And how much is too much?
> Also, I have been assured by many people that nutrasweet consumed during
> pregnancy will not harm the fetus.  Are you implying that this is a
> danger?  Or if the mother does not suffer ill effects from aspartame
> is there no chance of damage?
>                     Just curious,
>                             Laura

Laura, the placenta acts as a buffer to protect the fetus from potential 
harm.  Even if the fetus has the genetic defect that causes PKU and the 
mother drinks diet coke with nutrasweet, the placenta will protect the 
fetus from any elevation in maternal blood levels of phenylalanine that may 
occur.  Humans have eaten foods that are naturally high in phenylalanine, 
aspartic acid or glutamic and the placenta has developed metabolic defenses 
to protect the fetus.  It doesn't work as well against alcohol or cocaine 
though.

The symptoms in a child of aspartic acid, glutamic acid or phenyalanine 
blood spikes which then cause an imbalance in brain neurotransmitters 
levels are similiar to those that occur in adults.  Dizzyness and headaches 
after consuming food or beverages that contain high amounts of these amino 
acids.

An occasional jolt of aspartic acid, glutamic acid or phenylalanine isn't 
going to hurt even a child who can not regulate the blood levels of these 
amino acids.  It's the chronic exposure during the first 9 years of life 
that leads to permanent alterations in synapse formation that spell real 
trouble (mental retardation).  A child who has an averse reaction to 
drinking beverages with nutrasweet or consuming foods with a high MSG 
content (usually soup) should not be exposed to either MSG or nutrasweet on a 
regular basis.  An older child can tell you that they don't feel good after 
consuming nutrasweet or MSG but a baby can't.  MSG and nutrasweet should 
never be added to infant foods.

Marty B.                   



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