In 1986, Shannon Roth hired an attorney, assembled a battery of medical doctors, and entered into US Senate offices to share her blinding reaction to aspartame, found exclusively at that time in NutraSweet/Equal®.
After the meeting adjourned, one industry attorney referred to her as “Blinky.”
Nice guy …
Shannon became irreversibly blind in her left eye from aspartame use, and she wanted justice. The FDA and US Senate were her final defense, and when they failed her, she sued The NutraSweet Company.
Why don’t you know about this lawsuit, and many others filed against aspartame? Because Shannon’s case (like all the other cases) was settled out of court, and locked down under a gag order.
Shannon noticed a black spot in the center of her eye one morning while looking in the mirror. Four days later, she found herself in total darkness, and was admitted to the hospital. She underwent numerous X-rays, a spinal tap, and a CAT scan. The diagnosis: retrobulbar optic neuritis – blindness in just one eye.
The cause? Aspartame.
Shannon used aspartame for two years. During this time, she experienced constant headaches, dizziness, insomnia, malaise, memory loss, and depression.
Every morning, the Florida resident drank four to five cups of coffee sweetened with two packs of Equal in each cup. She drank diet cola throughout the day, and in the hot Florida summers, she consumed five to six glasses daily of an iced tea mix with NutraSweet (aspartame).
Roth stated, ” I innocently ingested these drinks thinking NutraSweet was the best thing since the wheel. Now, I know it’s poison.”
Dr. Morgan Raiford, MD of the Atlanta Eye Clinic wrote to Senator Howard Metzenbaum on Shannon’s behalf in 1987. Dr. Raiford outlined the toxicity of aspartame in respect to her blindness. He specified to the committee some of the serious side effects from using aspartame, and recommended that aspartame not become available to the public.
Raiford observed clinical evidence in Shannon’s eye comparable to effects he studied in patients who suffered methyl alcohol (methanol) toxicity. But, Shannon did not drink alcohol; just drinks with Equal and diet colas.
Shannon had damage in the central optic nerve fibers, losing 225,000 of 137,000,000 optic nerve fibers, causing her blindness.
At this time, Shannon’s macular area of the eye’s retina and optic nerve fibers were highly reactive to the toxic methyl alcohol in aspartame because those fibers and nerve cells required four to six times more oxygen and nutrition as the visual pathway’s peripheral nerves. These “rods and cones” could not go without oxygen for more than 90 seconds without some vision loss.
How This Relates To Aspartame
According to Dr. Raiford, aspartame is broken down by the upper portion of the digestive tract, and methyl alcohol is then absorbed into the blood vessels of that region. They then travel through the body’s entire vascular system.
This toxicity then effects the human vessel pathway, ending with optic nerve atrophy, as well as retinal starvation and vision loss. The intensity of the toxins from the methyl alcohol has a “spin-off” effect, too, impairing nerve damage that varies with intensity to the amount of methyl alcohol the patient absorbs.
Everyone reacts differently to the amount of methyl alcohol it absorbs. Damage may not be noticed immediately, or as in the case of Shannon Roth, each eye can be damaged differently.
Dr. Orion Ayer, Jr, MD also wrote the Senate subcommittee on Roth’s behalf, stating, “The presence of the methanol, even in relatively small quantities, can cause neurologic damage in susceptible individuals. Ms. Roth’s particular case may, indeed, be one of many patients who are sensitive to this additive.”
Shannon Roth went blind from aspartame. She sued and won, but at great cost – she could no longer speak about her experience, she could not publicize her legal victory, and because of the sequester, merely a handful of people were aware of this tragic situation.
And, aspartame is still on the open market eating away at somebody’s retina, like it ate holes in mine.
It’s time the truth come out – with eyes wide open.
Read more in Sweet Poison: How The World’s Most Popular Artificial Sweetener Is Killing Us.