Fact or Myth: Is There a Link Between Aspartame and Alzheimer’s?

This is a FACT.

In the name of weight loss, fat loss, and sugar-free diets, the world has been trending towards low- or no-calorie artificial sweeteners like Aspartame. If you’re health conscious, you’ve probably been warned not to jump on the Aspartame/Splenda train, as these no-calorie sugar substitutes have been linked to brain damage, headaches, migraines, increased hunger, weight gain, seizures, and cancer. In fact, Aspartame is the number one cause of side effect complaints to the FDA—10,000 complaints and 91 documented symptoms! Even as studies continue to tighten the link between Aspartame and Alzheimer’s, the FDA has yet to remove its stamp of approval.

aspartameAlzheimer’s and Methanol Toxicity

Methanol toxicity seems to be the driving mechanism behind the link between Aspartame and Alzheimer’s. Here’s how it works:

Aspartame is manufactured as a mixture of aspartic acid and synthetically modified phenylalanine, which contains a methyl group. The phenylalanine sweetens the aspartame up, making it a viable sugar substitute. The problem with this phenylalanine methyl bond (called a methyl ester) is that it is extremely fragile and easily detaches and becomes methanol, which scours our cells and tissues.

But what’s wrong with methanol? Nothing, when it comes as part of a whole food like a fruit or vegetable. In this case, methanol binds with pectin and is safely eliminated through your digestive tract. But…when it’s not binded to something (as is the case with Aspartame)…it becomes a poison in your body.

Your cells convert methanol from Aspartame into formaldehyde. Every other mammal except humans is able to convert this toxic formaldehyde into harmless formic acid. Humans, however, cannot, and the formaldehyde stays in toxic form and presents as methanol toxicity in the body. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that damages the retina and DNA, and may cause birth defects.

The symptoms of methanol toxicity include:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Digestive upset
  • Vertigo
  • Chills
  • Mental disturbances
  • Vision problems
  • Weakness
  • Neuritis
  • Shooting pains in the limbs

 The Invalidity of Animal Studies

The studies that assert the safety of Aspartame have tested the effects of the artificial sweetener on animals, not humans—which renders the validity of these tests null and void, as humans don’t have the biological mechanism to break down Aspartame’s dangerous components like animals do. Case in point, a recent study on rhesus monkeys demonstrated that methanol toxicity was much more likely to occur than what was previously demonstrated by a similar study on mice. Mice fed methanol presented partial “Alzheimer’s disease-like symptoms,” while rhesus monkeys fed methanol exhibited persistent pathological changes linked to Alzheimer’s. What’s declared “safe” by the FDA according to animal studies does not translate to safety in humans.

Artificial sweeteners aren’t a safe alternative to sugar. Use all-natural sweeteners like honey, Yacon syrup, and coconut sugar instead.