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role of formaldehyde, made by body from methanol from foods and aspartame, in steep increases in fetal alcohol syndrome, autism, multiple sclerosis, lupus, teen suicide, breast cancer, Nutrition Prof. Woodrow C. Monte, retired, Arizona State U., two articles, 190 references supplied, Fitness Life New Zealand 2007 Nov, Dec: Murray 2007.12.26

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  • Rich Murray
    role of formaldehyde, made by body from methanol from foods and aspartame, in steep increases in fetal alcohol syndrome, autism, multiple sclerosis, lupus,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 26, 2007
      role of formaldehyde, made by body from methanol from foods and
      aspartame, in steep increases in fetal alcohol syndrome, autism,
      multiple sclerosis, lupus, teen suicide, breast cancer, Nutrition Prof.
      Woodrow C. Monte, retired, Arizona State U., two reviews, 190 references
      supplied, Fitness Life, New Zealand 2007 Nov, Dec: Murray 2007.12.26
      Wednesday, December 26 2007

      [ Rich Murray comments: Woody Monte sent me the URLs to these wonderful
      reviews on Christmas Eve -- a wonderful present for this medical layman,
      who has similarly reviewed many areas of mainstream medical research
      since January, 1999 as a volunteer information activist on the Net for
      quality, civil, balanced, detailed research on aspartame toxicity and
      related issues.

      His opus makes the essential, central point that aspartame toxicity
      research intimately involves methanol, formaldehyde, and formic acid, as
      well as co-factors like alcohol and folic acid that can mitigate the
      toxicity of methanol.

      Striking evidence is given to support bold claims that methanol is a
      major cause of fetal alcohol syndrome, autism, multiple sclerosis,
      lupus, teen suicide, and breast cancer.

      It is easy to suggest: obesity, diabetes, depression, seizures,
      Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, infertility,
      impaired pregnancies, birth defects, ADHD, accidents, and violent crimes.

      Indeed, we have here "Right To Life" issues comparable to the millions
      of deaths worldwide from war, murder, suicide, modern urban diet,
      vehicle accidents, air and water pollution, tobacco, alcohol, sugar,
      salt, toxic metals, fluoride, and a variety of illegal addictive drugs,
      including heroin, cocaine, and meth. There is much to be done, and quickly.

      Despite the urgency and huge scale of these problems, the toxicity of
      methanol and its products in humans is a remarkably undeveloped field of
      research and therapeutic practice.

      So far, most evidence is available mainly from alcohol hangover studies,
      and it may still be true that these teams are largely unaware that
      aspartame is an ubiquitous, potent methanol source that impinges all
      medical research and practice.

      Woodrow C. Monte has set a powerful precedent for effective, efficient
      scientific communication in today's Internet age, by putting full texts
      of over 190 references on the Net at no cost, expediting the process of
      assessing his interpretations and quickly developing a working paradigm
      among competent researchers, not controlled by various vested interests,
      for the necessary immediate next steps in focused research, as well as
      raising an urgently needed warning alert that reaches all levels of
      world society.

      Following the lead of all the major supermarket chains in the United
      Kingdom, producers, distributors, advertisers, media, medicine,
      education, service organizaions, governments at all levels, and
      corporate users should act immediately to protect the public, including
      their own staff and clients.

      I welcome civil comments, feedback, and papers, based on reason and
      evidence, to aspartameNM@yahoogroups.com, while of course the increasing
      network of concerned, competent citizens will doubtless form many such
      networks of frank, rapid collaboration, both privately and publicly.

      In recent years, without editing the text, I change the format to single
      lines with single spaces, in order to improve the readability of dense
      scientific prose, as with electronic media there is no need to conserve
      paper costs. Changing the format to plain text allows texts to be easily
      searched and combined on any computer in the world. ]



      While applauding the caution suggested by the Listener article on the
      dangers of Aspartame, I am disappointed that it did not more fully
      explain the biochemical processes by which Aspartame causes harm.

      The dangerous “poison” produced by consumption of this sweetener is wood
      alcohol (methanol)(1).

      Methanol is a poison that cannot legally be added to food in any
      civilized country in the world.

      All of John’s and Abby Cormack’s symptoms were the classic symptoms of
      chronic methanol poisoning...all.(12,13)

      Unlike the species of lab animals employed in most studies of Aspartame
      safety, humans lack enzymes which prevent methanol from metabolizing
      into formaldehyde.

      Consequently, when consumed by human beings, methanol enters the body’s
      cells and is converted to formaldehyde (7).

      This extremely dangerous chemical has been relegated to the highest
      level of cancer causing agent, Group I, by the IARC the International
      Agency for Research on Cancer. Lyon. France.(11)

      The NZFSA is seriously challenged by the methanol issue.

      Using the industry’s standard response, they indicate that some methanol
      is consumed as a part of our normal diets so what harm a little more?(19)

      They also cite unusually high levels of methanol in black currant and
      tomato juice to support the premise that methanol is not an uncommon
      component in our diets (1).

      However, when asked about the amount of methanol consumed in the typical
      Kiwi diet, sans Aspartame, they offer no reply.

      In the absence of unbiased baseline data on consumption, how can the
      NZFPA reach an informed decision or propose reasoned policy?

      The rate of consumption of a poison in a large population cannot be
      increased without consequence.

      The toxicological concept of LD01 refers to the amount of a poison that,
      when fed acutely to a population, will kill on average, one percent of
      that population.

      The level that causes symptoms is always much lower than the LD01.

      Is the NZFPA aware that the LD01 is not known for methanol in humans nor
      can it be extrapolated from animal testing since there are no animals
      that are as sensitive to methanol as humans?

      Aspartame is not safe enough to mandate its consumption in Schools.

      Woodrow C. Monte Ph.D.

      http://www.thetruthaboutstuff.com/review1.shtml plain text

      Review 1 - Published November 2007

      Monte WC. 2007, Is your Diet Sweetener killing you?
      Fitness Life Nov. 33: 31-33

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      Abby Cormack is a young lady from Wellington who recently made headlines
      because of serious adverse reactions her physician attributed to her use
      of the artificial sweetener aspartame.

      She sent me an email to ask for help.

      I was happy to assist since I have seen hundreds of similar complaints (1).

      Aspartame contains methanol(14, 48, 5). [ 50?]

      Methanol is a dangerous poison that, over time, is known to remove the
      insulation from nerve axons(18, 53), producing symptoms identical to
      Multiple Sclerosis (MS)(2).

      In fact, in the German scientific literature, Swiss physician, Dr Hugo
      Henzi, argued eloquently, that naturally occurring methanol was the
      cause of Multiple Sclerosis(5, 6, 8, 9, 10).

      [ Med Hypotheses. 1984 Jan; 13(1): 63-75.
      Chronic methanol poisoning with the clinical and pathologic-anatomical
      features of multiple sclerosis.
      Henzi H.

      The details of two cases of chronic methanol poisoning are presented.

      Both patients initially developed clinical symptoms of multiple
      sclerosis: visual disturbances, intention tremor, reduced abdominal
      reflexes, impaired coordination and difficulties with walking.

      After the exposure to methanol had ceased the multiple sclerosis
      symptoms persisted in patient 1 but disappeared gradually in patient 2
      (patient 2 had a history of excessive alcohol consumption, which is a
      critical fact in this discussion).

      Ultimately autopsies confirmed this picture: histological examination of
      patient 1 revealed plaques in the spinal cord, in the stem and in the
      proximity of the lower horn of one lateral ventricle, whereas no
      localized demyelination could be found in patient 2.

      The results are discussed in connection with the theory ("Methanol
      Hypothesis") that under certain circumstances multiple sclerosis itself
      is induced by formaldehyde stemming from the metabolism of methanol.
      PMID: 6708848 ]

      My name is Dr. Woodrow Monte.

      My 26 year career as Professor at Arizona State University was devoted
      to research and teaching of the composition and safety of foods.

      For 25 years I have had serious concerns about the consequences of the
      consumption of Aspartame.

      In 1983, I filed the first petition to the US Food and Drug
      Administration seeking Aspartame’s removal from foods(39).

      My 287 page petition, containing copious documentation of published
      research, was denied without explanation.

      In 1984, I wrote the first scientific article warning of the methanol
      produced when Aspartame is consumed(1).

      This issue of aspartame safety is embedded in a quagmire of politics(39).

      Aspartame’s approval by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
      was championed, by the former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

      At the time of Aspartame’s FDA approval, he was president of the company
      that invented it and which stood to make considerable financial gain
      from its manufacture and sales(39, 56).

      NZFAS Public Relations for the Beverage Industry The New Zealand Food
      Safety Authority (NZFSA) has endorsed Aspartame safety in all of their
      handouts, for the most part paraphrasing the claims of the sweetener
      industry(39, 56).

      The New Zealand government currently is considering a measure which
      endorses diet sweeteners as replacement for sugar sweetened beverages in

      Inexpensively produced aspartame from China is the product most likely
      to be selected to replace sugar.

      Fizzy drink beverage manufacturers stand to reap a substantial profit
      from the money saved substituting aspartame for sugar.

      But at what cost to the public health?

      Despite vigorous protest, the NZFSA has maintained a pro-aspartame stance.

      They have chosen not to allocate resources for study of the many
      hundreds of scientific works that comprise just the methanol toxicity

      I have studied this scientific literature and, in the remainder of this
      article, will present to you what I have learned, and why I believe, it
      is so important to reject this proposed measure.

      The Science: Aspartame tastes sweet because, attached to it, is a
      molecule of methanol (wood alcohol).

      The methanol is very loosely bound and will fly off with the slightest
      heating or when consumed(20, 51).

      Because methanol’s toxicity is well known, millions of dollars were
      invested by Aspartame’s inventors in an attempt to attach some other
      “safer” substance, but this attempt was not successful.

      With the approval of Aspartame, a new source of methanol was added to
      what is a very short list of methanol containing foods.

      Methanol -- Trojan Horse: Why is methanol dangerous?

      Inside cells, methanol is converted to formaldehyde(30), an undetectable
      toxin and recognized cancer causing agent of the highest order (Group

      Even when formaldehyde is injected directly into a living human, it
      turns into formal hydrate(4, 27), a very aggressive molecule that
      instantly attaches to any protein molecule which it makes contact.

      The formaldehyde molecule then completely disappears within the cover of
      the much larger protein(31, 32).

      No diagnostic procedures, can detect a protein molecule so changed, yet
      the damaged molecule, loses function.

      Damaged protein molecules are not tolerated by the immune system.

      Specific detection sites for “formaldehyde modified protein” are found
      on white blood cells called macrophages(23, 24).

      Macrophages seek out and destroy these proteins at a rate 100 times
      faster than proteins not treated with formaldehyde(25).

      Upon autopsy, macrophages are found in the damaged areas of the brains
      of those who have died with MS(42, 44).

      Pharmaceutical companies use formaldehyde treatment of viral proteins to
      greatly enhance antibody production during the manufacture of vaccines(26).

      However, the effect of formaldehyde (resulting from methanol poisoning)
      on human proteins, has not been examined as a cause of autoimmunity.

      A Question Never Answered: In response to these concerns, spokespersons
      for the soft drink beverage industry and for NZFSA claim that there is a
      large amount of methanol consumed in the normal diet and that a “little”
      more from aspartame will do no harm.

      This is their only justification for allowing more of this toxin to be
      introduced into foods.

      No estimate has been publicly presented by these spokespersons regarding
      the amount of methanol consumed per person, per day in the average diet.

      Consistent with the data in my published research(1), I believe that the
      amount of methanol in the typical diet without artificial sweeteners
      would be less than 8 milligrams per day.

      One can of aspartame sweetened diet cola yields 16 milligrams of
      methanol(47), more than twice the amount of methanol from other sources
      in a typical diet.

      Fresh fruits and vegetables contain small traces of methanol(28, 29) but
      their consumption is not problematic, in that, during fermentation in
      the gut, they produce a natural substance that stops the conversion of
      methanol to formaldehyde(35, 36).

      In fact, before Aspartame, methanol in the normal human diet came
      primarily from heat processed plant foods such as canned fruit and
      vegetables and their juices(33).

      While there are unusually high levels of methanol in black currant and
      tomato juices(1, 19, 33), these foods are included only occasionally in
      most diets and, thus, would have little impact on an average person’s
      methanol intake(1).

      Methanol is only found in natural foods that contain pectin(33), the
      glue that holds certain plants together.

      Fortunately, the bond that holds the methanol to pectin is so strong
      that it rarely breaks(36), or breaks only under certain conditions.

      These conditions include fermentation(35) or the high temperatures of
      the food canning process(1, 28, 29, 34).

      Even under these conditions only a small percentage of pectin’s methanol
      is released(35, 36).

      (It is interesting to note that MS was first documented as a disease(45)
      at about the time that canning began to flourish in Europe(46).

      Further, humans have no enzymes for pectin digestion (36), thus making
      pectin consumption rather unlikely to yield much methanol.

      In contrast, aspartame consumption yields methanol always and
      readily(20, 48).

      The Second Attempt to put Methanol into Foods

      A hundred years ago the scientific community believed methanol was
      benign and swore to its safety with disastrous consequences(21).

      At the turn of the century, industry scientist wanted to use the newly
      developed, inexpensive and odorless form of wood alcohol,... methanol,
      to extract vanilla and other flavorings(17, 21).

      Over the previous 50 years, many toxicity studies performed in reputable
      laboratories showed that more methanol than ethanol is required to kill
      a test animal(15, 30).

      Testing of this sort was repeated with monkeys, dogs, rabbits and
      laboratory rats(17, 30).

      Each time with the same result.

      This data was presumed to support the safety of methanol consumption.

      Accordingly, food and drug industries proceeded to use methanol in
      patent medicines and to produce flavorings.

      Soon after the first bottles of methanol laden extracts appeared on the
      market, many fell seriously ill(17).

      The stories that linked suffering, blindness and death were discounted
      by the scientific community as “anecdotal” and unrelated to the methanol
      which “had gone through so much testing”(17).

      When incidence of death(16) and vision loss(37) continued to mount,
      professionals surmised that some “impurity” had found its way into
      individual products.

      They maintained that nothing was wrong with methanol per se(17, 30).

      Thousands died before the scientific community determined that animals
      and humans do not metabolize methanol in the same manner(52).

      Eventually, scientists learned that a liver enzyme that metabolizes
      methanol, present in animals but absent in humans accounts for
      methanol’s toxicity for humans(52).

      While animals consume methanol safely, as little as 2 teaspoons can be
      lethal for a human(16).

      Since that time methanol has been forbidden in foods and must always be
      packaged with a label showing a skull and crossbones, the universal
      symbol for poison(49).

      Why I question the Safety of the worlds most tested food additive: The
      inventors of aspartame would have the advantage of hindsight when
      designing studies for determining the safety of their methanol
      containing product.

      Inexplicably, all of their toxicological testing was conducted on the
      same selection of animals that falsely supported methanol’s safety more
      than 60 years earlier(48).

      Despite this bias in sample selection, long term toxicity studies of
      Aspartame has shown an increased likelihood of cancer in test
      animals(50), an outcome not examined in earlier methanol studies.

      As a consequence, Aspartame became the first additive in the history of
      the US FDA denied approval for use in foods by the scientists of a
      Public Board of Inquiry (39, 57).

      Ultimate approval did occur, however, and it resulted not from
      additional research but rather from political intervention(39).

      What was remarkable was the method used to bend science to the will of
      an aggressive drug company.

      When it was clear that chances of approval were waning, representatives
      of the company sought out the few laboratories in the United states that
      were performing methanol research.

      These laboratories were, in effect, hired to help prove aspartame is

      Participating labs were tasked to find an animal that would respond as a
      human does to methanol(39), then to find a way to prove that
      formaldehyde was not producing the symptoms of methanol poisoning in
      that animal(39).

      If formaldehyde was proved the cause of the symptoms and death from
      methanol poisoning, (the opinion held by the scientific community at
      that time(21, 30), formaldehyde’s inability to be detected would put a
      quick end to any hope for the approval of Aspartame.

      Millions of dollars bought many scientific papers, few indicating the
      research therein was “contracted” by the manufacturers of the product(39).

      This “research” is now forever embedded in the scientific literature.

      Scientists who were on the corporate dole are now considered “experts”
      in the field of methanol safety.

      It should be noted that research not funded by the manufacturer of
      Aspartame has led to different conclusions.

      For example, 10 years ago an independent Spanish laboratory found that
      Aspartame most definitely turns into formaldehyde(7, 40).

      Because of differences across species in the production of enzymes that
      metabolize methanol, the results of animal research with Aspartame
      cannot safely be generalized to humans.

      Humans have become the test subjects in a 27-year long experiment on
      Aspartame safety.

      Unfortunately, the damage that methanol can cause is being revealed in
      populations of Aspartame consumers such as Abby Cormack.

      The issue is complex but the choice is simple.

      Fortunately there are several other readily available, artificial
      sweeteners that do not contain dangerous toxins.

      Therefore, it just makes good sense to keep Aspartame out of our schools.

      Woodrow Monte Ph.D.
      Professor of Food Science (retired)
      Arizona USA

      * please go to TheTruthAboutStuff.com to see my 1984 article for a full
      discussion of this issue and references for this article.

      Reference List 1 - 60 are given after the 2nd review, 2007 Dec.
      The abstracts and texts of all 190 references are given in pdf form at

      Multiple Sclerosis
      Breast Cancer

      Multiple Sclerosis
      Breast Cancer

      Breast Cancer A
      Breast Cancer B
      Fetal Alcohol
      Multiple Sclerosis
      Teen Suicide

      http://www.thetruthaboutstuff.com/review2.shtml plain text

      Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World

      Review 2 - Published December 2007

      Monte WC. 2007, A Deadly Experiment – (Fitness Life 2007 Dec.34:38-42)

      We cannot introduce a poison into the food supply without paying a
      terrible price, and I am convinced that this tragic scenario has and is
      playing itself out.

      In an earlier article regarding the dangers of Aspartame (Fitness Life
      2007 Nov 33:31-33), I explained how this artificial sweetener can
      degrade into methanol and then into formaldehyde, and I touched on some
      of the deleterious effects of formaldehyde on the human body.

      In this article I make the case that increased methanol consumption is
      implicated in the appearance and increased incidence of multiple
      sclerosis (MS) and that Aspartame consumption is one of the two primary
      sources of methanol in our diets.

      What Price Aspartame: The Early Warnings Ignored

      We have consumption data for Aspartame in the United States from
      mid-1981 when a ban on its use was reversed through political
      intervention (39).

      The increase in production and consumption was relatively slow until a
      surge occurred when approval came for its use in carbonated beverages.

      Although we would wish such periods did not occur, a period in which a
      substance is introduced into the diet of an unsuspecting population is a
      perfect time to look for anomalies that can help us to hypothesize about
      the extent to which the substance may be toxic.

      I examined data on diseases and conditions that I thought might be
      affected by the increased consumption of Aspartame such as depression,
      autoimmunity, and birth defects (terata).

      Both methanol and Aspartame are proven teratogens in animals far less
      sensitive to methanol than humans (92, 96, 103-105, 124, 159, 177).

      Data from the US National Center for Health Statistics regarding
      morbidity numbers during those critical early years are presented here
      in graphic form.

      These are the original data with no modification save for those
      regarding autism; these were displaced by six years because the data
      presented to me were for patients diagnosed at six years of age(98).

      This displacement reflects that exposure to methanol occurred in the womb.

      If these data teach us anything they teach us that the first question we
      should ask a depressed child is “Do you drink diet soda?"...
      and that pregnancy is not the time to consume Aspartame(100).

      It is interesting to note that Breast Cancer has the same worldwide
      distribution and incidence characteristics as MS (190) and shares with
      MS the known, methanol rich, causal agent…cigarette smoking.

      I found the most striking graph to be the one showing increase in
      diagnosed cases of multiple sclerosis.

      It usually takes, at least, 10 years from first onset of symptoms to
      reportable diagnosis of the disease(86, 167).

      This early reporting was evidence, to me, of much worse to follow.

      Science has been seeking the cause of multiple sclerosis for 150 years.

      It has repeatedly been suggested there is evidence to implicate a small
      toxic molecule(153, 185)... a solvent(74, 140).

      Methanol is the smallest of solvents.

      The results of 27 years of Aspartame consumption

      The Worst of Timing

      The 1980’s was well into the era when laboratories that had been
      performing methanol toxicity research were being paid by the company who
      invented Aspartame to prove the safety of its sweetener(121, 131).

      Dr. Hugo Henzi, an M.D. now deceased, published a book in 1980
      purporting to prove dietary methanol as the cause of multiple sclerosis(5).

      His clinical logic and anatomical observations were impeccable (6,
      8-10), but he made a major mistake.

      He erroneously believed that the methanol that caused MS came from
      “fresh” fruits and vegetables, and as a consequence, he proposed a
      curative diet that we now know had little chance of success(101).

      However, several lines of evidence are now converging to support Dr.
      Henzi’s primary assertion.

      The Secret Battle that is Autoimmunity

      From an early moment in the evolution of man…from as far back as the
      mutation that accounted for universality in its distribution...
      a biochemical battle has quietly raged within the most intimate anatomy
      of the human body.

      Two alcohols competing for the attention of a serendipitously
      distributed and poorly understood enzyme... an enzyme that, by accident,
      has become the lonely suitor to and only benefactor of their advances.

      The outcome, after years of struggle, determines who will and who will
      not die with MS.

      The alcohols are ethyl and methyl alcohol.

      Methanol is the smallest known alcohol containing only one carbon atom;
      ethanol has two carbon atoms.

      The enzyme has had several names as it has been discovered and
      rediscovered over the years in the physiological, neurological, and
      opthalmological sciences.

      However, it is most commonly referred to as ADH (alcohol dehydrogenase).

      ADH is known to serve a number of functions in the healthy human body.

      In the retina it is called retinal reductase and plays a major role in
      vision (112), but ADH’s ability to convert alcohols to aldehydes is what
      is paramount to our discussion here.

      ADH is a large protein molecule and due to its unique structure it much
      “prefers” coupling with ethanol, which it converts to acetaldehyde that
      our body uses for many good purposes.

      It is only when ADH finds no ethanol in the blood or when the methanol
      concentration in the blood is 10 times greater than that for ethanol
      that ADH slowly and “reluctantly” turns methanol into formaldehyde
      (113, 114, 116-118, 122).

      Only a small amount of ethanol in one’s blood prevents methanol from
      turning into formaldehyde (141).

      This is fortunate for without this inhibiting effect on formaldehyde
      formation humans would have become extinct eons ago.

      Another bit of good fortune for the majority of those in the human race
      is something that was noticed during the development of breath analyzers
      for the detection of drunk drivers and subsequently confirmed in the
      scientific literature.

      That is, we nearly always have ethanol, circulating in our bloodstreams
      (64, 188).

      The presence of ethanol is the natural outcome of digesting plant
      material in the gut(134, 174), but the amounts of this endogenous
      ethanol in our blood varies greatly across individuals(64, 173).

      No ethanol could be found in the blood of some subjects while others
      have high enough ethanol in their blood to be considered impaired (186).

      Individual differences in the presence of endogenous ethanol (and the
      location of tissue containing ADH) may well account for why some people
      die or become blind from a teaspoon of methanol(16) and some consume it,
      mixed with ethanol, as a preferred source of intoxication(110).

      I also believe that these individual differences in the presence of
      endogenous ethanol provides an explanation for why some people develop
      autoimmune disease and others do not, no matter what they consume or smoke.

      Interestingly the location of ADH in our bodily tissue seems to vary
      with our genetic makeup(187).

      ADH might, for reasons not fully understood, be found in the liver, gut,
      brain, eye, skin and sinew.

      These hereditary differences are most likely responsible for the varied
      manifestations of autoimmunity.

      Higher enzyme representation in the brain might predispose the
      individual to develop MS while its presence in the skin would be
      required for the evolution of lupus.

      Autoimmunity: Teaching our Body to Produce Antibodies against our own

      During the evolution of vaccines, not long after the pioneering work of
      Jennings and Pasture, the pharmaceutical industry noticed and took good
      advantage of the “trick” of toxoid production(75, 114, 179).

      A toxoid is a bacterial or viral protein that has been treated in the
      laboratory with a low concentration of formaldehyde (26).

      The concentration is just enough to attract the attention of the
      macrophage but not enough to completely change the protein’s structure.

      The toxoid (vaccine) is injected into humans who then produce antibodies
      and thus develop immunity to the original, offending organism.

      It is interesting to note that injection of the original protein without
      formaldehyde treatment often causes little or no antibody production and
      therefore little immunity to that bacterium or virus.

      As discussed in my previous article, once methanol is changed into
      formaldehyde and then, by water, to formal hydrate (4, 27, 114), all
      hell breaks lose.

      Unbeknownst to most researchers, formal hydrate is extremely acidic(114)
      along with being a powerful esterifying agent (122).

      These two characteristics make it irresistibly attractive to our body’s
      protein molecules, especially to those found in the insulation of the
      human brain(18, 53).

      Opposites attract and the basic protein (MBP) of myelin quickly falls
      prey to acidic formal hydrate.

      Macrophages are large white, amoeba like blood cells for which the major
      purpose in our body is to destroy attacking life forms and consume
      foreign and broken protein from our bodies.

      For reasons yet unknown, evolution has equipped macrophages with
      chemical receptors to detect and destroy specifically and with great
      vigor protein treated with formaldehyde (23, 24, 25).

      Macrophages can signal the immune system to produce antibodies to the
      proteins that they consume.

      This is a dark side to the good work of the macrophage.

      What happens when the protein in our brain comes in contact with
      formaldehyde from diet soda?

      An Increase in MS

      There is no denying…there has been an epidemic of autoimmune disease
      throughout the world over the last 30 years (79, 79a-j, 80, 80a-c, 81,
      81a, 82).

      Multiple sclerosis, once almost unknown in Japan( 44, 85, 168), has now
      risen to menace a large portion of the population(81, 81a).

      The lower latitudes and warmer climates once “mysteriously” protected
      from the full brunt of this tragically debilitating disease (83, 85,
      168) have seen incidence and prevalence of MS climb to as much as four
      times what they were in the days before summer drinks were sweetened
      with Aspartame (79, 79b, 79d, 79f,g,h, 79j, 80, 80a-c).

      The United States which has long had a relatively high MS incidence has
      seen at least a 50% increase (77).

      Medical journals in Australia (82) and New Zealand (90) both report
      unexplainable increases in their inordinately high (168) “infection” rates.

      Where Does Methanol Come from Aside from Aspartame?

      Cigarette Smoking

      After 150 years of study of MS only cigarette smoking is universally
      accepted as a causative agent(67-70, 70a-d, 71).

      Smoking has also been causally linked to the progression of MS,
      transforming a relapsing-remitting clinical course into a much more
      serious secondary progressive course (69).

      Tobacco leaves contain large amounts of pectin; and although most
      scientists are unaware of this, tobacco leaves are left in barns to
      ferment for weeks (61, 62, 66).

      This fermentation releases much of the available methanol from the
      pectin into the moisture content of the tobacco before it is sold to be
      made into cigarettes (65).

      Consequently, methanol is one of the most abundant toxic compounds found
      in cigarette smoke (63).

      Methanol is found in human breath following smoking (64) indicating a
      presence in the blood.

      A large case-controlled study, mostly of prevalent disease, has shown
      that systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is also positively associated
      with cigarette smoking and inversely associated with alcohol consumption

      Food Processing

      Although acknowledging the role played by smoking, I believe that food
      processing and preserving is what first dramatically increased methanol

      At some point in our genetic history a mutation occurred that disrupted
      the ability of liver catalase enzyme’s to quickly and safely clean
      methanol from our blood (52).

      For several million years after this mutation there was no downside to
      the mutation, no autoimmunity.

      We ate fresh food, and what very little methanol is in fresh fruits and
      vegetables is countered by their own ethanol content (1, 28, 29) and
      their ubiquitous gift for slow, steady ethanol production in the gut(64,
      134, 188).

      However, when the fruits and vegetables and their naturally occurring
      pectin is placed in a sealed container (as in canning) that is then
      sterilized, heated or even just stored at room temperature for months,
      the normally unavailable, chemically bound methanol is released from the
      pectin (1, 28, 29, 34).

      The methanol slowly builds up, trapped in the container, to hundreds of
      times more than when fresh(28, 29).

      Very simply it is “canned” fruits and vegetables that were (before
      aspartame) the major source of free methanol in the human diet.

      The History of MS Recapitulates the History of the Canning Industry

      Nicolas Appert invented canning in the 1790s, and the first canning
      factory was fully operational in England by 1813 (46).

      Due to the expense, early canning was undertaken primarily with meats
      which have no pectin content and therefore would not have caused
      methanol accumulation.

      However, canning of fruits and vegetables followed.

      Over time canning became more prevalent and less expensive(46), and the
      consumption of canned food skyrocketed as did the incidence of multiple

      As the canning industry flourished so did the practice of incorporating
      into recipes the “natural”, methanol-laden juices from canned fruits and
      vegetables rather than throwing them away(74).

      The first documented case of multiple sclerosis was reported by
      Jean-Martin Charcot in a lecture in 1868(45), although it is thought
      that the “first identifiable instance of MS” was that of Augustus d”Este
      whose symptoms started between 1822 and 1843(45).

      During the 19th century MS was recognized as a disease but considered
      “quite rare” with Charcot reporting fewer than 40 cases during his long

      Increasing numbers of cases were reported in the late 19th century(45).

      Although co-occurrence is not proof of causality, similarities in
      initial appearance and in rate of increasing incidence are consistent
      with a close linkage between MS and consumption of canned fruits and

      Explaining the Unexplainable

      MS a Disease of the Colder Countries

      The differential prevalence of MS across different geographical regions
      also supports this linkage.

      The “latitude gradient theory” of MS is a way to explain the occurrence
      of higher MS prevalence in colder regions of the world (168).

      The tropics have until recently been blessed with very low incidence of
      MS (83, 85, 168).

      These warmer climes are, of course, regions in which the on-going supply
      of fresh fruits and vegetables has obviated the need for more expensive,
      canned produce, hence minimizing daily methanol consumption.

      The last 30 years has seen an increase in aspartame consumption in these
      areas and with it a significant attenuation of this gradient (91b, 95)

      An exception to the generalization regarding temperate regions would be
      expected in areas with established canning industries that are able to
      offer products so economically as to make the canned product a tempting
      alternative even in the summer months.

      For many years both Australia and New Zealand have had such a canning
      infrastructure and these countries are significant exceptions to the
      latitude gradient theory.

      Both have extremely high MS prevalence and incidence numbers (168).

      Another exception (albeit in the opposite direction) is Japan which is
      in the colder latitudes but which has had little MS incidence through
      most of its recorded history(85, 168).

      Note, however, that the Japanese cultural habit of eating everything in
      its season did not foster the production or importation of much canned
      plant material.

      Although far from tropical, until recently Japan has had one of the
      lowest rates of methanol consumption per person in the world.

      This rate has increased with the growing popularity of diet beverages
      (81, 81a).

      The worlds largest manufacturer of Aspartame is a Japanese company.

      Seasonally speaking, in the northern latitudes, before Aspartame,
      patients with relapsing-remitting MS could expect relapses to be
      experienced in the winter or Spring (72a) during periods of peak
      methanol consumption.

      With increased consumption of diet beverages, Japan and the warmer
      countries are now reporting their worst relapse period to be the summer
      (72, 72a-b).

      The difference between warm and cool regions in remission-relapse cycles
      appears to parallel periods during which toxic canned vegetables and
      toxic thirst quenchers are most frequently consumed.

      Epidemics of MS

      There have also been bizarre epidemics or clusters of MS on the Faroe
      Islands, Orkney and Shetland Islands, and Iceland (84).

      All of these have been studied in great detail and all involve the
      influx of massive numbers of British or Allied troops (84, 168).

      One researcher concluded that those individuals most affected were those
      who had been in direct contact with these troops(168).

      Another article goes so far as to accuse MS of being a “sexually
      transmitted infection”(184).

      An alternative explanation is that these islands had a very low
      incidence of MS to begin with due the lack of an established canning

      Troops brought with them items such as canned foods, fruit preserves,
      marmalades and rations along with the ubiquitous cigarette, all of which
      would be very desirable to the island people, especially during war time.

      Methanol consumption was overlooked as a factor in all these studies.

      The Scandinavian countries and portions of the Slavic nations have some
      of the highest incidence of MS of any populations in the world (95a, 168).

      In these countries consumption of canned and home-canned fruits and
      vegetables is high, as is consumption of smoked-food products and
      traditional liquors made from rotted culled fruit.

      Some of these liquors have high enough methanol content to exclude them
      from international commerce.

      The alternate name for methanol is “wood alcohol” due to its original
      source as a condensate product made from wood smoke.

      Smoked meats and fish are the exception to the rule that animal products
      do not contain methanol.

      The White Man’s Burden

      MS was once considered to be a “rich man’s disease” in that its
      prevalence was positively correlated with the trappings of civilization
      including modern sanitation practices (85).

      It now appears that consumption of canned produce provides a better
      explanation for the relative dearth of MS in many economically depressed

      To this day the very poorest people of the world are free from
      autoimmune diseases such as MS (168), lack proper sanitation, and cannot
      afford canned fruits and vegetables or diet soda.

      Identical Symptoms of MS, Methanol Poisoning and Aspartame Toxicity

      The symptoms of multiple sclerosis (44, 83, 85, 169), chronic and acute
      methanol poisoning (13, 144, 189), and Aspartame toxicity (54, 58, 93,
      181), are in all ways identical.

      There is nothing that happens to the human body from the toxic effect of
      methanol that has not been expressed during the course of MS... nothing
      (143, 144).

      This generalization extends even to the remarkable opthomological
      conditions common to both: transitory optic neuritis and retrolaminar
      demyelinating optic neuropathy with scotoma of the central visual field
      (which occasionally manifests as unilateral temporary blindness (85,
      138, 163).

      In fact, these opthomological symptoms have been thought of for years in
      their respective literatures to be “tell tale” indications for the
      differential diagnosis for each of these maladies independently (85,
      138, 148, 163, 169).

      The common symptoms of
      headache (13, 83, 181, 189),
      nervousness (13, 83, 181),
      depression (58, 83, 189, 181),
      memory loss (18, 147, 85, 169, 181),
      tingling sensations (13, 85, 168, 138, 169),
      pain in the extremities (13, 85, 169),
      optic neuritis (85, 138, 148, 163, 169),
      bright lights in the visual field (139, 83),
      seizures (21, 83, 160),
      inability to urinate or to keep from urinating (139, 146, 167)
      are all shared by each of these conditions and shared yet again by
      complaints from aspartame poisoning (54, 58, 93, 181).

      I take these strikingly similar symptom patterns as evidence that these
      disorders act on identical components of the central nervous system and
      in the same way.

      The “Miracle” that MS shares with Methanol poisoning In the early stages
      of MS, or when a non-lethal dose of methanol has been administered,
      complete recovery is a possibility.

      The only two afflictions for which such dramatic “remissions” are
      reported from identical neuromuscular and opthomological damage, even
      “blindness” is relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (85) and methyl
      alcohol poisoning (138, 163).

      The pathology of the two maladies is in may ways identical, particularly
      when it comes to destruction of the myelin sheath with no harm to the
      axon itself (18, 148, 176).

      Sex Ratios for MS and Aspartame Reactions Women bear the brunt of
      multiple sclerosis (91a-c) and lupus (SLE)(73) with fully three-fold
      representations in infliction numbers over men for both diseases.

      This is exactly the proportion represented by adverse reactors to
      Aspartame reported by the US Center for Disease Control in their study
      of 1984(58).

      The Center found three women to every man whose Aspartame consumption
      complaints were serious enough to warrant investigation (93).

      Although the female/male ratio for those stricken with MS has always
      been high recent estimates place it at over 3 to 1(91, 91a, 91c).

      What might account for the difference across sexes in incidence?

      A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (94) reports
      biopsies of the gastric lining of men and women.

      A result was that the concentration of ADH in the gastric lining of men
      was much higher than for woman.

      Men have the advantage of removing methanol from the bloodstream four
      times faster on an equal-body-size basis than women.

      Thus, for men, methanol is more likely to be removed from the blood
      before it reaches the brain.

      The brain is spared but the methanol removed would still be metabolized
      to formaldehyde in the gut where it would reap its havoc on a more
      forgiving organ.

      This may help explain why men have more gastrointestinal complaints from
      both methanol and Aspartame consumption (93, 99).

      On the other hand, women’s complaints from both more frequently involve
      serious neurological complications.

      MS Cures and treatments

      There are no known cures for MS and after reading about all of the many,
      many treatments, I conclude that the only one that shows statistically
      valid improvement in double-blind studies, albeit for a relatively short
      period of time, is plasmapheresis (186).

      Plasmapheresis involves removing the liquid portion (plasma) of a
      patient’s blood, then returning the red and white blood cells to the
      patient without the plasma.

      Although not done for this reason, the process would be expected to
      remove much of the methanol from the bloodstream reducing its
      concentration substantially in the tissues.

      Transfusions (43) seem also to have similar effect.

      Viewing methanol toxicity as the ethnologic cause of MS seems to answer
      all of the nagging question and unexplained anomalies that have stalled
      the cure for this increasingly persistent disease.

      Consumption of aspartame always results in methanol consumption (14, 48,

      Methanol will always convert to formaldehyde where it finds an idle ADH

      When this happens in the brain any protein changed by the formaldehyde
      will be destroyed by white blood cells (20, 23, 24, 25).

      The protein most likely destroyed would be myelin basic protein MBP
      found in the axons.

      Over a long enough period of time, even without concomitant antibody
      production, there are those who would call this MS(44).

      This ends my case for considering methanol to be the cause for multiple

      Call all this hypothesis and circumstantial evidence if you like.

      The best experiment to confirm it would never have been allowed by any
      human subjects committee even though it has been going on for 27 years;
      and as far as I am concerned it is time to call the experiment complete
      and to count the bodies.

      Woodrow C. Monte Ph.D. Professor of Food Science (retired) Page, Arizona

      Note 1: It has been over 25 years since I heard my first unsolicited
      plea for help from an Aspartame consumer who had linked consumption of
      the product to her suffering.

      My first thought after an hour’s listening was that this courageous
      young woman would soon be diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

      It is in her honor that I seek to explain the compelling link between
      Aspartame, methanol and autoimmunity.

      Note 2: A fully referenced version of this article will be available at

      The abstracts and texts of all 190 references are given in pdf form at

      Many full original texts are provided, annotated by Monte by hand, and
      often collected together as brief reviews of specific topics.

      In Mozilla ThunderBird email client, you can click on the pdf text, use
      Ctr A to highlight the text, and then Ctr C to copy it to the Note Pad,
      and then left click on an email and use Ctr V to paste the full text
      into the email as plain text.

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