Wellington, NZ lady, 25, free by 24 hours of severe muscle cramps (5 months) after quitting 4-8 packs daily aspartame chewing gum (past few years): Murray 2007.06.20
- Wellington, NZ lady, 25, free by 24 hours of severe muscle cramps (5 months) after quitting 4-8 packs daily aspartame chewing gum (past few years): Murray 2007.06.20
[ 6-8 mg aspartame per stick chewing gum, so 8 packs, 5 sticks each, gives 240-320 mg, while a 12 oz can aspartame diet soda has 200 mg -- however, aspartame from gum is absorbed directly into the mucosal membranes in the mouth, close to the brain. ]
Scoop Independent News
Chewing gum case strengthens school diet drink ban
Thursday, 21 June 2007, 11:37 am
Press Release: Green Party
Chewing gum case strengthens call for school diet drink ban
The case of a Wellington woman who became seriously unwell after consuming excessive amounts of the controversial additive aspartame in chewing gum underlines the urgent need for consumer information and warnings about potential side effects, Green Party MP Sue Kedgley says.
"This case also leads me to repeat the call for fizzy drinks containing aspartame to be removed from schools," Ms Kedgley says.
Abigail McCormack began suffering
crippling muscle cramps and tingling in her hands and feet,
and skin rashes,
she thought she was dying after consuming excessive amounts of chewing gum containing aspartame.
Ms McCormack is concerned that there were no warnings to alert her to the fact that aspartame could cause harm.
These health problems stopped when Ms McCormack stopped chewing aspartame sweetened gum.
"Like Ms McCormack, many consumers have no idea that aspartame is a controversial additive, or that it has been linked to a significant number of side-effects, especially if it is frequently consumed in large quantities.
Aspartame, once ingested, breaks down into aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol, which in turn converts into formaldehyde which is a deadly neurotoxin," Ms Kedgley says.
"Given the large number of products containing aspartame and the marketing focus on diet foods and drinks containing the additive,
it is essential that consumers are alerted to any potential side effects.
"The Government has a responsibility to require that this information is provided, through warning labels on products and public information campaigns.
"The problem is that products containing aspartame are being touted as a healthier alternative and this means that many children are being exposed to potentially large doses of this artificial sweetener."
While, it's important to reduce the sugar intake of children and adults, to replace that sugar with a controversial additive is just not the answer.
"There are now credible international studies suggesting a link between aspartame and cancer in animals. Such studies, along with the health difficulties experienced by Ms McCormack, demand action by the Government."
Warning Over Artificial Sweeteners
1:15 pm, 21 Jun 2007
A Wellington GP says more research is needed into artificial sweeteners after a patient became sick from too much sugar-free chewing gum.
Wellington woman Abigail McCormack went to her doctor suffering severe cramps and other symptoms, but initial tests couldn't find the cause.
The woman's GP, Penny Rowley, says she then discovered Miss McCormack was eating up to eight packs of a sugar-free chewing gum a day,
which contain the artificial sweetner aspartame.
Dr Rowley says more needs to be known about the impact of ingesting large quantities of the sweetener.
However, the Food Safety Authority says aspartame has been through rigorous testing and is safe.
� NewsRoom 2007
Woman poisoned by 4-pack-a-day chewing gum habit
Thu, Jun 2007 2:13p.m.
Abigail McCormack [ photo ]
Chewing gum has become more than just a dirty habit for one Wellington woman.
Abigail McCormack thought she was dying from a mystery illness when she began suffering crippling muscle cramps and tingling in her limbs four months ago.
Those symptoms escalated to heart palpitations, skin rashes and difficulty sleeping.
Then the 25-year-old realised it was the four packets of gum she was chewing daily that was causing her problems.
Ms McCormack told 3 News giving up has been the same as kicking any habit.
Listen to Andre Patterson's full interview wtih Professor Carl Burgess on RadioLIVE's World at Noon.
New questions over artificial sweetener
Thursday Jun 21 12:53 AEST
New questions have been raised about the potential effects of artificial sweetener after a New Zealand woman fell ill, blaming her daily consumption of four packs of sugar-free chewing gum.
Abigail Cormack, 25, of Wellington, went to her doctor complaining of crippling muscle cramps, anxiety attacks, depression and skin rashes, and was forced to take sick leave, the Dominion Post newspaper reported.
Cormack's doctor Penny Rowley told AAP it was a "strong possibility" her patient had been made ill by the artificial sweetener aspartame, which is used in NutraSweet and Equal, as well as thousands of other products.
Cormack's symptoms disappeared within 24 hours of her giving up the gum, which she had been chewing for a few years.
"She stopped having the gum and things resolved, so it looks like there was a cause and effect there," Rowley said.
Cormack admits her chewing gum consumption was "excessive", but says there were no warnings it could do her harm.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) says aspartame is safe for human consumption.
Pharmacologist Professor Carl Burgess, from the Wellington School of Medicine, said most people were not affected, but some people did react to artificial sweeteners.
"On a personal basis I have not seen it but it is certainly in the literature. Some people do react to these substances, particularly with headache and feeling tired, weary, that sort of stuff, and occasionally depression," he said.
"Anxiety and panic attacks are described with these sort of compounds," Burgess said.
Last year an Italian team which conducted a controversial seven-year study into the substance linked it to a range of cancers.
However the Italian team's findings were later disputed in a review by the European Food Safety Authority, prompting FSANZ not to change the acceptable daily intake of 40 mg/kg.
New Zealand's Green Party wants all fizzy drinks containing aspartame to be removed from schools in light of the Wellington case.
"Many consumers have no idea that aspartame is a controversial additive, or that it has been linked to a significant number of side-effects, especially if it is frequently consumed in large quantities," said Green MP Sue Kedgley.
A public relations firm representing Wrigley, makers of Extra sugar-free gum, which contains aspartame, could not immediately comment on the reports.
Thursday, 21 June 2007 12:53 AEST
Chewing gum habit `poison'
Abigail Cormack thought she was dying from a mystery illness. She never realised her daily chewing gum habit was probably poisoning her.
The sugar-free gum contained aspartame, a food additive widely used in thousands of products, including gum, diet soft-drinks and tea and coffee.
The additive is prompting debate in the international medical world about its safety.
When Ms Cormack, 25, of Wellington, began suffering crippling muscle cramps and tingling in her hands and feet about five months ago, she feared she was having a heart attack.
She started suffering heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, depression and skin rashes, was unable to sleep and had to take sick leave.
But, despite a battery of tests, doctors could not pinpoint the cause. "They thought it might be a salt imbalance, maybe I was over-training at the gym.
"I was prescribed anti-inflammatories and Valium to help me sleep but it just got worse and worse. I thought I was dying."
Finally, an Internet site alerted her to the possibility of aspartame poisoning.
Under the brand name NutraSweet, aspartame is used in more than 5000 foods and beverages worldwide.
For the past few years, Ms Cormack has chewed through up to four packets of chewing gum a day.
She did not suspect the seemingly innocuous habit could be slowly poisoning her.
Aspartame is digested into aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol, which converts into formaldehyde -- a deadly neurotoxin used as embalming fluid.
The food industry says these are all "naturally occurring" substances in foods and the amounts are too small to be harmful. No study has found a definitive link between the compounds and serious effects in humans, but some research has found higher incidences of chronic fatigue, migraines and other conditions.
Ms Cormack admits her chewing gum consumption was "excessive".
"But there were no warnings it could be doing me harm."
Her GP, Penny Rowley, was at the point of referring her to a neurologist when she heard about the gum habit.
She confirmed aspartame poisoning as the likely culprit, and within 24 hours of giving up gum, Ms Cormack's symptoms disappeared.
Dr Rowley said it was the first case she had seen. "I was certainly surprised but it seems to have worked."
Clinical pharmacologist Professor Carl Burgess, from the Wellington School of Medicine, said that though someone would have to take "megadoses" of aspartame for it to be toxic, some people were more susceptible to allergic reactions.
The New Zealand Food Safety Authority says there is no scientific evidence of any significant harm from a large daily intake of aspartame.
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www.greens.org.nz/people/kedgley_s.asp Sue Kedgley, MP
Phone: 04-470 6717 Fax: 04-472 7116
Phone: 04-381 4640 Fax: 04-381 2876
8 Dekka St is the site of the Khandallah Medical Centre. A suburban, community-focused general practice with the four partners of Drs Anne Marie Cullen, Sally Talbot, Alistair Young and Richard Hogg.
Dr Penny Rowley is the associate doctor. +64-4-479-7157
Prof. Carl Burgess: Head of Department: General Medicine & Clinical Pharmacology carlb@...
Prof. Julian Crane: Clinical Epidemiology crane@...
Headache Prevention Diet June 20 2007
Headaches can be caused by many things, including illness, stress and lack of sleep. They may also be triggered by several common foods, and simply changing your diet could be the most effective treatment. Once you and your doctor have ruled out other potentially more serious causes for your headaches, take a look at what you eat every day and see if eliminating common trigger foods eliminates your headaches.
Here's how the Headache Prevention Diet can help:
Dietary modifications that exclude common food triggers may help you pinpoint just what is causing your headaches. Although the list of potential food triggers is long, the most common are chocolate, red wine, caffeine, MSG, Aspartame, cured meats, aged cheese, nuts, nitrate, sulfites, alcohol and ice cream. This diet excludes all common headache triggers, yet is still nutritionally balanced. Try following it for several weeks to see if it doesn't help reduce the number and severity of your headaches.
Recent studies show that omega-three fatty acids, the kind found in fish oil, may help prevent migraines. This diet includes plenty of fish options that may reduce the frequency of your headaches.
# Caffeine, found in coffee, tea and colas, as well as more "hidden" sources like chocolate and some medications including Anacin, Excedrin and Actifed, can exacerbate headaches. This meal plan excludes foods that are high in caffeine and suggests alternatives (like herb tea and juices).
Start eating the breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks that will help prevent head pain!
Non-citrus juice such as apple, pear or peach
Whole grain, calcium fortified cereal topped with skim milk or soy milk and fresh berries
Scrambled eggs (purchase those high in omega-three fatty acids) or add in some fresh cooked salmon or canned salmon and fresh herbs such as basil or cilantro
Fresh Blueberry Muffin or toasted whole grain bread
French toast recipe such as Seattle Apple French Toast (using skim milk)
Vegetable cottage cheese (low fat) in whole-wheat pita with lettuce or sprouts
Homemade soup that doesn't contain prohibited foods, such as Asparagus and Sesame Chicken Soup (substituting cider vinegar for the rice wine vinegar)
Calcium fortified juice
Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread with lettuce
Strawberry Sports Shake
Pasta stir-fry, such as Linguini Honey-Sauced Prawns
Garlic bread sticks
Fresh fruit salad
Broiled fish, such as salmon or tuna
Microwave Rhubarb Crisp
Gingered Pork and Peaches (made without the lemon juice or peel)
Mixed green salad
Cinnamon-Scented Raspberry Rice Pudding
1/2 cup cottage cheese topped with canned peaches and sprinkling of cinnamon
1/2 whole-wheat bagel with light cream cheese
Hard-boiled egg and whole-wheat crackers
Small bowl of high fiber cereal topped with skim milk or low-fat soy milk
Soft and Chewy Molasses Cookie
Healthy Dos and Don'ts
Take ginger at the first sign of a headache (1/3 teaspoon or 500 mg). According to the National Headache Foundation, ginger has a small amount of antihistamine and is an anti-inflammatory
Get plenty of sleep. Although the reasons are not well understood, studies show that sleep deprivation can cause headaches
Take a multivitamin supplement that includes the B vitamins and antioxidants. Deficiencies of these vitamins are a possible cause of migraines
Read all labels very carefully to avoid trigger foods
Avoid stress, which is considered a key headache trigger
Go long periods without eating or forget to drink enough fluids. Low blood sugar or dehydration may be other dietary causes of headaches
Consume artificial flavorings and preservatives, especially MSG, sulfites and nitrites. Most wines, many dried fruits and preserved fruits contain sulfites. Many canned foods contain the flavor enhancer MSG, particularly Chinese foods.Don't eat processed foods, and focus only on all natural, fresh foods. Also avoid cured meats including bacon, bologna, corned beef, ham, salami, sausage, hot dogs and smoked fish due to the nitrate content
Eat foods containing artificial sweeteners, especially Aspartame, found in diet beverages, candy or gum. Be skeptical of foods labeled "diet" or "light"
Eat legumes and broad beans, and pods of broad beans, including lima, navy, pinto, garbanzo, pole, fava, string and navy beans, lentils, snow peas and pea pods
Consume hot, fresh, yeast-containing breads, including coffee cakes or doughnuts (okay if allowed to cool and okay toasted)
Eat certain dairy products, including ripened cheeses (e.g., cheddar, brie, camembert, gruyere), whole milk, sour cream and yogurt
Eat nuts, including peanuts, and seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower
Eat fermented, pickled or marinated foods -- no pickles, olives, sauerkraut, chili peppers, miso, tempeh or soy sauce
Eat particular fruits -- papayas, passion fruit, figs, dates, raisins, citrus fruits. Limit bananas to one a day. Limit tomatoes to 1/2 cup per day
Use vinegars, except white and cider vinegar. Also avoid most mustard, mayonnaises and ketchups
Eat food containing Brewer's yeast, large amounts of onion, chocolate and alcohol or red wine
Content provided by All rights reserved.
All content � Copyright 2003 - 2007 WorldNow and KTRK. All Rights Reserved.
Lifetime exposure to low doses of aspartame beginning during prenatal
life increases cancer effects in rats, Morando Soffritti et al,
European Ramazzini Foundation, USA EPA Environmental Health
Perspectives 2007.06.13 free full text 24 pages: Murray 2007.06.16
www.ehponline.org/members/2007/10271/10271.pdf free full text 24
The results of our second long-term carcinogenicity bioassay on APM
not only confirm, but also reinforce our first experimental
demonstration of APM's multipotental carcinogenicity at a dose level
close to the human ADI.
Furthermore, the study demonstrates that when lifespan exposure to APM
begins during fetal life, its carcinogenic effects are increased.
On the basis of the present findings, we believe that a review of the
current regulations governing the use of aspartame cannot be delayed.
This review is particularly urgent with regard to aspartame-containing
beverages, heavily consumed by children. "
" APM is metabolized in the gastric tract of rodents, non-human
primates and humans to its three constituents: aspartic acid,
phenylalanine and methanol.
When absorbed, aspartic acid is transformed into alanine plus
oxaloacetate (Stegink 1984);
phenylalanine is transformed mainly into tyrosine and, to a lesser
extent, phenylethylamine and phenylpyruvate (Harper 1984);
and methanol is transformed into formaldehyde and then to formic acid
(Opperman 1984). "
aspartame in Merck Maxalt-MLT worsens migraine,
AstraZeneca Zomig, Eli Lilly Zyprexa,
J&J Merck Pepcid AC (Famotidine 10mg) Chewable Tab,
Pfizer Cool Mint Listerine Pocketpaks: Murray 2002.07.16
Migraine MLT-Down: an unusual presentation of migraine
in patients with aspartame-triggered headaches.
Newman LC, Lipton RB Headache 2001 Oct; 41(9): 899-901.
[ Merck 10-mg Maxalt-MLT, for migraine, has 3.75 mg aspartame,
while 12 oz diet soda has 200 mg. ]
Headache Institute, St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Center,
New York, NY
Department of Neurology newmana...@...
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
Innovative Medical Research RLip...@...
Blumenthall & Vance: aspartame chewing gum headaches Nov 1997:
Harvey J. Blumenthal, MD, Dwight A Vance, RPh
Chewing Gum Headaches. Headache 1997 Nov-Dec; 37(10): 665-6.
Department of Neurology, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine,
Tulsa, USA. neurotu...@...
Aspartame, a popular dietetic sweetener, may provoke headache in some
susceptible individuals. Herein, we describe three cases of young
with migraine who reported their headaches could be provoked by
chewing gum sweetened with aspartame.
[ 6-8 mg aspartame per stick chewing gum ]
stevia to be approved and cyclamates limited by Food Standards
Australia New Zealand: JMC Geuns critiques of two recent stevia
studies by Nunes: Murray 2007.05.29
more from The Independent, UK, Martin Hickman, re ASDA
(unit of Wal-Mart Stores) and Marks & Spencer ban of aspartame,
MSG, artificial chemical additives and dyes to prevent ADHD in kids:
ASDA (unit of Wal-Mart Stores WMT.N) and Marks & Spencer
will join Tesco and also Sainsbury to ban and limit aspartame,
MSG, artificial flavors dyes preservatives additives, trans fats,
salt "nasties" to protect kids from ADHD: leading UK media:
combining aspartame and quinoline yellow, or MSG and
brilliant blue, harms nerve cells, eminent C. Vyvyan
Howard et al, 2005 education.guardian.co.uk,
Felicity Lawrence: Murray 2005.12.21
50% UK baby food is now organic -- aspartame or MSG
with food dyes harm nerve cells, CV Howard 3 year study
funded by Lizzy Vann, CEO, Organix Brands,
Children's Food Advisory Service: Murray 2006.01.13
formaldehyde as a potent unexamined cofactor in cancer research --
sources include methanol, dark wines and liquors, aspartame, wood and
tobacco smoke: IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks
to Humans implicate formaldehyde in #88 and alcohol drinks in #96:
some related abstracts: Murray 2007.05.15
aspartame (methanol, formaldehyde) toxicity research summary:
Rich Murray 2007.06.16
One liter aspartame diet soda, about 3 12-oz cans,
gives 61.5 mg methanol,
so if 30% is turned into formaldehyde, the formaldehyde
dose of 18.5 mg is 37 times the recent EPA limit of
0.5 mg per liter daily drinking water for a 10-kg child:
2007.01.05 [ does not discuss formaldehyde from methanol
or aspartame ]
"Of course, everyone chooses, as a natural priority,
to actively find, quickly share, and positively act upon
the facts about healthy and safe food, drink, and
Rich Murray, MA Room For All rmforall@...
505-501-2298 1943 Otowi Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
group with 76 members, 1,442 posts in a public, searchable archive
aspartame groups and books: updated research review of
2004.07.16: Murray 2006.05.11
Aspartame Controversy, in Wikipedia democratic
encyclopedia, 72 references (including AspartameNM # 864
and 1173 by Murray), brief fair summary of much more
research: Murray 2007.01.01
Dark wines and liquors, as well as aspartame, provide
similar levels of methanol, above 120 mg daily, for
long-term heavy users, 2 L daily, about 6 cans.
Within hours, methanol is inevitably largely turned into
formaldehyde, and thence largely into formic acid -- the
major causes of the dreaded symptoms of "next morning"
Fully 11% of aspartame is methanol -- 1,120 mg aspartame
in 2 L diet soda, almost six 12-oz cans, gives 123 mg
methanol (wood alcohol). If 30% of the methanol is turned
into formaldehyde, the amount of formaldehyde, 37 mg,
is 18.5 times the USA EPA limit for daily formaldehyde in
drinking water, 2.0 mg in 2 L average daily drinking water.
methanol products (formaldehyde and formic acid) are main
cause of alcohol hangover symptoms [same as from similar
amounts of methanol, the 11% part of aspartame]:
YS Woo et al, 2005 Dec: Murray 2006.01.20
methanol (formaldehyde, formic acid) disposition:
Bouchard M et al, full plain text, 2001: substantial
sources are degradation of fruit pectins, liquors,
aspartame, smoke: Murray 2005.04.02