nutrasweet & methanol & conspiracy

Anonymous ANONYMOUS.USER at Sunderland.AC.UK
Wed Aug 2 08:39:54 EST 1995

Aspartame is the methyl ester of the  dipeptide asp-phe. hence on hydrolysis 
methanol  would be released.

I'm not sure how common methyl esters are in naturally occuring foodstuffs 
prehaps some one could let us know.

As for the conspiracy of silence about aspartame side effects i looked it up in 
Martindale pharmocopoeia (13 ed) and found the following points which may be 
of relevance to the on going 'debate':

even large doses 50 - 100 mg per kg body weight aspartate levels do not rise 
glutamate sensetive individuals were origanlly though to endangered by 
aspartame, through the similarity between glu and asp though studies 
indicated that they were unaffected by its consumption. 

in addition methanol toxicity is highly unlikely. ( fatal dose of methanol is 
typically 100- 250 ml - merck safety data sheet- and the most common effect of 
chronic exposure is visual impairment which can be permenant) interestingly 
as a side point apparently individuals with  methanol poisening used to be 
treated with ethanol to competitively inhibit the formation of formic acid from 
the oxidation of methanol. the assumption being that most of the  methanol 
would be excreted before it could be processed by the alcohol dehydrogenase 
enzymes. so if its methanol your worried about have a stiff drinkor two  to take 
your mind off it.

the risk to pku suffers was also highlighted.

a list of reported side effects was also included in the article these included:
neurological or behavioural symptoms, gastro intestinal symptoms and 
hypersensitivity or dermatological symptoms.

it finnishes up with this comment 

'available data do not provide evidence for searious widespread health 
consequences attendant upon the use of aspartame but it would appear that 
certain individuals may have an unusual sensitivity to the product.'

i've a couple of my own points now, appart from my earlier post about why othe 
r occupations  such as bus and train drivers are not concerned with nutrasweet 
induced seizures. also why car insurarance is so easy to get with out declaring 
that you dont consume nutrasweet?

short peptides can be very readily absorbed with little or no processing in the 
alimentary canal so would an allergic type response be possible to this 
dipeptide?- i have in mind something simmilar to the known sensitivites to 
seafood , dairy products and the like.

also one of the main uses of nutraswee would appear to be in diet soft drinks, 
which are notorious for containing large amounts of artificial colourings, 
flavourings and preservatives, some of which are well known for their  side 
effects on certain susceptable individuals, could this be the actual cause in 
these 'nutrasweet seizures' .


More information about the Neur-sci mailing list