The Tsakiris Aspartame Study

Greece. 2005.

For more than 25 years, the FDA and the manufacturers of aspartame have claimed all of the adverse symptoms reported to aspartame use are "anecdotal." (In other words, if a person claims their health problems are related to aspartame, but laboratory studies don't confirm this, then the person's reaction to aspartame is disregarded.) People may not experience noticeable illness from short-term use of aspartame, and this has many times been interpreted as proof that there is no problem with its safety. Unfortunately, this position ignores the fact that the effects of aspartame poisoning are cumulative.

Studies beginning in the late 1960s have shown aspartame creates neurological problems1. People need to know aspartame is currently being studied, and the results are showing multiple forms of cancer and nerve disorders.

The aim of the Greek study was to evaluate acetyl cholinesterase (AChE)2 activity in human erythrocyte membranes3 [Also called red blood cells (RBC)] after incubation with the sum of the three aspartame metabolites, phenylalanine, methanol, and aspartic acid, and evaluated separately. In this study, erythrocyte membranes were obtained from twelve healthy individuals and incubated with aspartame hydrolysis products for one hour at 37 degrees C. AChE was measured spectrophotometrically. (See original study)

The research study concluded that low concentrations of aspartame metabolites had little to no effect on the membrane enzyme activity, whereas high levels and cumulative toxic concentrations decreased the membrane AChE activity, resulting in memory loss. Additionally, neurological symptoms, including learning and memory processes, appeared in the study to be related to the high or toxic concentrations of the sweetener metabolites4.

At present, the only known treatments for increasing lack of memory, such as Alzheimer's Disease, are either NMDA receptor antagonists or acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, such as the pharmaceutical Aricept®. The Tsakiris study shows that over-use of aspartame, as well as the long-term effects of aspartame, impair memory.

Because low doses of aspartame are shown to inhibit acetylchoinesterase, just like pharmaceutical treatments for people with memory loss, when a healthy individual with normal cholinergic functioning, such as a young child for example, starts administering a cholinesterase inhibitor when no memory loss has occurred, aspartame ingestion (according to the study) will eventually lead to down-regulation of post synaptic ACH receptors, and ultimately disrupt memory and learning.

"It is noteworthy," commented Dr. Erik Millstone, Sussex University, "that Mix 3 in this study, equivalent to 34mg/kg aspartame, resulted in significant decrease in ACHE activity. This dangerous effect resulted below the level, 50mg/kg, which the FDA says is the safe upper limit of aspartame consumption, and within the realm of consumption in the real world."

The incubation of membranes with aspartame metabolites corresponded with 34 mg/kg, 150 mg/kg or 200 mg/kg of aspartame consumption. The test resulted in an enzyme activity reduction by -33%, -41%, and -57%, respectively. Concentrations 0.14 mM, 0.60 mM, and 0.80 mM decreased the enzyme activity by -20%, -32% or -40%, respectively. Aspartame concentrations 2.80 mM, 7.60 mMor 10.0 mM inhibited membrane AChE activity by -20%, -35%, and -47%, respectively.

Phenylalanine (50% of aspartame) concentrations 0.14 mM, 0.35 mMor 0.50 mM reduced the enzyme activity by -11%, -33%, and -35%, respectively. Alternating aspartame and phenylalanine concentrations 0.82 mM or 0.07 mM, respectively, did not alter the membrane AChE activity.

1 J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1996 Nov;55(11):1115-23.
2 Acetyl cholinesterase: An enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine at the synaptic cleft (the space between two nerve cells) so the next nerve impulse can be transmitted across the synaptic gap. Pesticides of the organophosphate and carbonate types act to paralyze and kill insects by inhibiting their acetyl cholinesterase. Abbreviated AChE.
3 A cell that contains hemoglobin and can carry oxygen to the body. Also called a red blood cell (RBC). Erythrocytes facilitate the diffusion of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
4 © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. Allrightsres

Posted February 2006 | Permanent Link

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