From: "Carl V. Phillips" <>


Subject: Re: Sugar substitutes: aspartame & saccharin side effects?


> From: "Brent J. Waguespack" <>

> Aspertame, there has been some recent discussions about soda pops that are

> made with this sweetner. Some people say it gives them headaches because

> the sweetner in the coke turns into an alcohol base type sugar.


The transition problems (partially converting to formaldehyde and methanol

at "high" temperatures -- in the 150F range) are only part of the story.


There is some reason to believe that aspartic acid (one of the two amino

acids that composes aspartame), which is very similar to glutamine, may

have negative neurological effects on some (many?) people. There are a

few natural experiments where people have eaten diets extremely high in

glutamine (compared to other aminos) and many people (up to half) have

suffered neurological symptoms. A few percent ended up with irreversible

Parkinson's-like conditions.


The problem is probably due to the fact that unprotected glutamine excites

neurons (in some people at least), sometimes to the point where they die

from the overexertion. A precursor of this -- or a symptom that it is

already happening -- is a headache. This is likely the problem with MSG

for many people. Based on biochemical similarities, it seems possible

that aspartic acid does the same thing. (Does anyone know of any studies

-- there wasn't much in the literature the last time I researched this a

few years ago?)


I am usually very conservative on my interpretation of data about

consumption and health, but this is one that really worries me. We are

performing a potentially very nasty experiment on tens of millions of

people (a lot more than are in Saudi Arabia ;-), because we don't know if

long term exposure might cause permanent neuron damage.


--Carl Phillips, PhD

University of Michigan School of Public Health