Compiled By Rich Murray, MA
Room For All
1943 Otowi Road
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505 USA
Telephone: 505-501-2298
E-Mail: rmforall@comcast.net
Web Site: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM

Posted: 13 November 2009

Older women drinking over 2 aspartame beverages weekly had 30% decline kidney function in 11 years, Nurses Health Study, Julie Lin, Gary C Curhan, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston: Rich Murray 2009.11.02
Monday, November 2, 2009


"Lin's team looked at the cumulative average beverage intake, derived from food questionnaires completed in 1984, 1986, and 1990. The women replied whether they drank the beverages less than once a month, one to four times a month, two to six times weekly, once daily but less than twice, or twice a day or more often."

[ Aspartame, approved in the USA for beverages in July, 1983, was by far the dominant artificial sweetener in beverages in 1984 to 1990. ]

3,267 women, median age 67 in 2000, in Nurses Health Study:

"When the researchers compared kidney function of the women in 1989 and 2000, they found that 11.4% or 372 women had a kidney function decline of 30% or more. When they looked at the diet information, they found that the 30% decline in kidney function was associated with drinking two or more artificially sweetened sodas a day. This was true even after taking into account factors such as age, high blood pressure, diabetes, and physical activity."


Study presented at the American Society of Nephrology's 42nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition, held from Oct. 27 to Nov. 1 in San Diego

In separate studies, Julie Lin, M.D., and Gary Curhan, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined the effects of sodium and artificial sweeteners on kidney function among more than 3,000 women in the Nurses Health Study. Higher dietary sodium intake was found to be associated with a greater kidney function decline in women with well-preserved kidneys, while the odds for kidney decline doubled for women consuming two or more daily servings of artificially sweetened soda.

"While more study is needed, our research suggests that higher sodium and artificially sweetened soda intake are associated with greater rate of decline in kidney function," Lin said in a statement.


Diet Sodas May Be Hard on the Kidneys
Women Who Drink 2 or More Diet Sodas Daily Double Their Risk of Kidney Function Decline, Study Shows
By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Nov. 2, 2009 -- Diet soda may help keep your calories in check, but drinking two or more diet sodas a day may double your risk of declining kidney function, a new study shows.

Women who drank two or more diet sodas a day had a 30% drop in a measure of kidney function during the lengthy study follow-up, according to research presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology in San Diego.

"Thirty percent is considered significant,'' says researcher Julie Lin, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a staff physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. That's especially true, she says, because most study participants had well-preserved kidney function at the start of the study.

Diet Soda and Kidneys: Study Details
The researchers evaluated 3,256 women already participating in the Nurses' Health Study who had submitted dietary information, including their intake of sugary beverages -- sugar-sweetened drinks, sugar-sweetened soda, and artificially sweetened soda. Sugar-sweetened drinks included soda, fruit juices, punch, and iced tea.

Information was also available on measures of kidney function. Their median age was 67.

Lin's team looked at the cumulative average beverage intake, derived from food questionnaires completed in 1984, 1986, and 1990. The women replied whether they drank the beverages less than once a month, one to four times a month, two to six times weekly, once daily but less than twice, or twice a day or more often.

Diet Soda and Kidneys: Study Results
When the researchers compared kidney function of the women in 1989 and 2000, they found that 11.4% or 372 women had a kidney function decline of 30% or more. When they looked at the diet information, they found that the 30% decline in kidney function was associated with drinking two or more artificially sweetened sodas a day. This was true even after taking into account factors such as age, high blood pressure, diabetes, and physical activity.

Put another way: the women who drank two or more diet sodas a day had a decline in their glomerular filtration rate, a measure of kidney function, of 3 milliliters per minute per year. ''With natural aging, kidney function declines about 1 mL per minute per year after age 40," Lin says. No link was found with the other beverages. And less than two sodas a day didn't seem to hurt. "We didn't see any association up to two artificially sweetened beverages a day," Lin says.

''A serving was reported as either a glass, a can, or a bottle of a beverage," Lin tells WebMD. ''It was not more specific than that."

''The mechanisms aren't clear," Lin says of the association she found. In another study she presented at the meeting, she found higher salt intake is also associated with faster kidney function decline.

All of the participants were women, so Lin can't say for sure that the association holds for men, although she says there is ''no biological reason to think it wouldn't."

About 20 million Americans have some evidence of chronic kidney disease, according to the society. Kidney disease diagnoses have doubled each of the last two decades. [4X more in 20 years]

Diet Soda and Kidney Function: Industry Input
Asked to review the study findings, Maureen Storey, senior vice president of science policy for the American Beverage Association, says in a prepared statement: "It's important to remember that this is an abstract presented at an annual meeting." She notes that the research needs further scrutiny by researchers.

She acknowledges that kidney disease is serious but that diabetes and high blood pressure account for the majority of kidney disease cases, ''not consumption of diet soda."

Diet Soda and Kidney Function: Dietitian's View
In reviewing the study, Connie Diekman, RD, director of university nutrition for Washington University, St. Louis, wonders if the link might have come about because of long-term consumption, as many of the participants were older adults.

The link found, she says, "calls for more studies where actual intake can be assessed, rather than taking the information from food frequency questionnaires, which could be subject to mistakes."

Diet drinks, she says, are ''generally low in important health-promoting nutrients, so keeping them as a small part of your eating plan would be a smart step."

Abstract - FC342 (login required)
Abstract - PO2751 (login required)
Abstract - FC037 (login required)

Julie Lin, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine,
Harvard Medical School, staff physician,
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston.
American Society of Nephrology annual meeting,
San Diego, Oct 27-Nov. 1, 2009.
Connie Diekman, RD, director of university nutrition,
Washington University, St. Louis.
News release, American Beverage Association.
(c) 2009 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kathleen Doheny
Kathleen Doheny is a Los Angeles-based journalist specializing in health, fitness, and behavior topics. In addition to writing for WebMD, her articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Shape, Natural Health, and many other magazines and web sites.

Louise Chang, MD
Louise Chang, MD, is part of the WebMD medical editing team and is responsible for reviewing WebMD news and feature stories to ensure their medical accuracy. She has always considered herself a patient advocate and educator at heart. She has had broad experience of both inpatient and outpatient practice in urban and suburban settings. Dr. Chang shares the WebMD mission to provide the most accurate and useful medical information for people.

Dr. Chang completed her undergraduate degree at Stanford University and attended medical school at New York Medical College. She completed her internal medicine residency at Saint Vincent's Hospital in New York City, where she also served as a chief resident from 2001-2002. Immediately prior to joining WebMD, Dr. Chang worked as an attending physician and clinical instructor at Grady Memorial Hospital as part of the Emory School of Medicine in downtown Atlanta, seeing patients and working with and teaching medical residents and students.

Dr. Chang is board-certified in internal medicine. She is a member of both the American College of Physicians and the Society of General Internal Medicine. Her prior research work has been published and presented at regional and national conferences.


Help your kidneys: Pass on salt and diet soda

Individuals who consume a diet high in sodium or artificially sweetened drinks are more likely to experience a decline in kidney function, according to two papers being presented at the American Society of Nephrology's annual meeting in San Diego, California.

Julie Lin MD, MPH, FASN and Gary Curhan, MD, ScD, FASN of Brigham and Women's Hospital studied more than 3,000 women participating in the Nurses Health Study to identify the impact of sodium and sweetened drinks on kidney function.

"There are currently limited data on the role of diet in kidney disease," said Dr. Lin. "While more study is needed, our research suggests that higher sodium and artificially sweetened soda intake are associated with greater rate of decline in kidney function."

The first study, "Associations of Diet with Kidney Function Decline," examined the influence of individual dietary nutrients on kidney function decline over 11 years in more than 3,000 women participants of the Nurses Health Study. The authors found that "in women with well-preserved kidney function, higher dietary sodium intake was associated with greater kidney function decline, which is consistent with experimental animal data that high sodium intake promotes progressive kidney decline."

The second study, also conducted by Dr. Lin and Dr. Curhan, "Associations of Sweetened Beverages with Kidney Function Decline," examined the influence of sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages on kidney function decline in the same group of Nurses Health Study participants. An analysis of the nationally representative NHANES III participants had previously reported an association between sugar-sweetened soda and urinary protein, but data on kidney function change was not available.

This investigation reported "a significant two-fold increased odds, between two or more servings per day of artificially sweetened soda and faster kidney function decline; no relation between sugar-sweetened beverages and kidney function decline was noted" said Dr. Lin. This association persisted even after the study authors accounted for age, caloric intake, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cigarette smoking, physical activity, and cardiovascular disease. The mechanisms for kidney decline in the setting of high intake of artificial sweetenters have not been previously studied and deserve further investigation.

The study participants were older Caucasian women and the authors note that the findings may not be directly applicable to men or people of other ethnicities.

The authors report no financial disclosures.

"Associations of Diet with Kidney Function Decline," (SA-FC342) will be presented as part of a Free Communication Session at the American Society of Nephrology's 42nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition on Oct. 31 at 4:24 pm in Room 25 of the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, CA. "Associations of Sweetened Beverages with Kidney Function Decline," (SA-PO2751) will be presented as part of a Poster Session from 10:00 am -- 12:00 pm in the Scientific Exposition Hall of the San Diego Convention Center also on Oct. 31. Both abstracts will be presented as part of a Press Briefing on Oct. 30 at 12:15 pm in Room 12.

ASN Renal Week 2009, the largest nephrology meeting of its kind, will provide a forum for 13,000 professionals to discuss the latest findings in renal research and engage in educational sessions related to advances in the care of patients with kidney and related disorders. Renal Week 2009 will take place October 27 -- November 1 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego.

Founded in 1966, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) is the world's largest professional society devoted to the study of kidney disease. Comprised of 11,000 physicians and scientists, ASN continues to promote expert patient care, to advance medical research, and to educate the renal community. ASN also informs policymakers about issues of importance to kidney doctors and their patients. ASN funds research, and through its world-renowned meetings and first-class publications, disseminates information and educational tools that empower physicians.


Contact: Shari Leventhal
American Society of Nephrology


Dr. Lin's research interests focuses on proteinuric renal diseases and glomerulopathies. Her current research examines associations between diet, lipids, and inflammatory biomarkers and the development of nephropathy in adult-onset diabetes mellitus using subjects participating in the Nurses Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

10 studies listed 2001-2004

Julie Lin, M.D.,M.P.H.. Associate Physician.
Phone, (617) 732-6383. Fax, (617) 975-0840.
Office Address, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Renal Division
BWH, 75 Francis Street Boston, MA 02115 617-732-5500


Assistant Professor
Diabetic nephropathy, CKD and cardiovascular disease

Dr. Lin is a renal epidemiologist whose research interests focus on proteinuric renal diseases, glomerulopathies, and chronic kidney disease progression. Research includes analyses of diet, lipids, genetics and inflammatory biomarkers and nephropathy in type 2 diabetes mellitus in participants of the Nurses Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Another area of interest is associations of chronic kidney disease with quality of life measures in cognitive and physical functioning. As the lead living kidney donor advocate for Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dr. Lin is also studying outcomes and quality of life in living kidney donors in collaboration with the Division of Transplantation Surgery. She also has on-going collaborations with other investigators within and outside of Harvard Medical School in projects that examine cardiovascular disease risk in the setting of chronic kidney disease.

3 previous studies published with GC Curhan

Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine,
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School,
Boston, MA, USA. jlin11@partners.org


Gary C. Curhan, MD, ScD Associate Professor
Epidemiology of CKD, nephrolithiasis, gout, hypertension

Dr. Curhan's research focuses on the prevention of common diseases by investigating scientifically and clinically important questions and exploring the role of modifiable factors, chiefly in the areas of nephrology and urology. The synergy between his clinical training in nephrology and doctoral work in epidemiology has produced a strong interest in 'metabolic epidemiology.' In an effort to clarify and refine our insight into several prevalent conditions, much of his work has examined and challenged existing beliefs and commonly accepted practices, often motivating important changes in clinical practice and understanding.

Major ongoing areas or research include:

1) epidemiology of nephrolithiasis -- we are studying dietary and lifestyle factors as well as the genetics of stone disease;
2) epidemiology of hypertension;
3) risk factors for renal function decline and change in albuminuria;
4) epidemiology of gout;
5) epidemiology of hearing loss;
6) mineral metabolism and risk of cardiovascular disease;
7) risk factors for community acquired pneumonia;
8) epidemiology of incontinence;
9) epidemiology of hyponatremia.

Dr. Curhan works closely with several faculty members in the Renal Division and their efforts will hopefully lead to new approaches to prevention and treatment of these common conditions.


Taylor EN, Fung TT, Curhan GC.
DASH-style diet and the risk of incident kidney stones.>br> J Am Soc Nephrol. 2009; (in press). (PMC Journal - In Process)
Forman JP, Stampfer MJ, Curhan GC.
Diet and lifestyle risk factors associated with incident hypertension in women.
JAMA. 2009 Jul 22; 302(4):401-11
Choi HK, Curhan GC.
Soft drinks, fructose consumption, and the risk of gout in men - A Prospective Cohort Study.
BMJ. 2008 Feb 9; 336(7639):309-12. PMCID: PMC2234536
Waikar SS, Mount DB, Curhan GC.
Mortality after hospitalization with mild, moderate, and severe hyponatremia.
Am J Med. 2009; (in press).
Curhan SG, Eavey R, Shargorodsky J, Curhan GC.
Analgesic use and the risk of hearing loss in men.
Am J Med. 2009; (in press).

Department of Medicine, Renal Division,
Brigham and Women's Hospital,
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Consider co-factors (methanol, formaldehyde, and protective folic acid), re UK FSA test of aspartame in candy bars on 50 reactors, Stephen L Atkin, Hull York Medical School: Rich Murray 2009.09.29
Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Included herein is substantial mainstream evidence that the natural conversion in humans of orally ingested methanol into formaldehyde and then formic acid results in substantial, durable, cumulative retention of toxic reaction products.

Adequate folic acid levels expedite the safe metabolism of methanol in most people.

Ethyl alcohol and folic acid in vegetables and fruits are sufficient to protect most people from conversion of their methanol into formaldehyde.

Many common agents interfere with folic acid (folic acid antagonists).

Additionally, genetic variations are potent.

About 3/4 of reactors are female.

Those who rarely have alcohol hangovers may be substantially immune to methanol and formaldehyde.

Recent exposure to alcohol beverages, tobacco and wood smoke, and a large variety of formaldehyde sources may compromise the clarity of aspartame reaction tests.

Aspartame reactors often report allergies to many agents, with similar symptoms: mercury (amalgams and fish), MSG and free glutamate in foods (for instance, hydrolyzed vegetable or yeast protein), carbon monoxide, molds, many foods, etc. -- up to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.

Aspartame reactors often take many steps to exercise, reduce stress, lower salt, emphasize organic plant foods, reduce drug and chemical exposures, limit protein and fat intake, use vitamin and mineral supplements, limit processed foods -- thus complicating attempts to create a matching control group, and introducing uncertainty about whether the reactors are as vulnerable now as in the past, when they may have had more negative factors for years.

So, genetic background, age, sex, obesity, existing illnesses, diet, exercise, environmental toxins, medicines and drugs, parental exposure to all these factors, and more may corrode the "gold standard" of a single exposure double-blind experimental test, especially for a rather modest test group of 50.

Perhaps, a more productive research strategy would be to test 10 reactors, one at a time, for 24 hours each, using a wide range of tests, recording the enormous individual variations that are usually swamped by taking group data averages.

Computerized tests facilitate fast, affordable measures of cognitive and memory effects.

Full audio and video recording is now available.

Dimethyl dicarbonate, an approved additive for reducing fungi in wines, perhaps with a neutral taste, quickly releases about the same level of methanol upon ingestion as aspartame drinks, making possible studies free of any possible "excitotoxic" effects of aspartic acid and phenylalanine, while allowing a third beverage to be a control substance.

This approach would also contribute to the meager research literature about the role of methanol in alcohol hangovers.

Aspartame reactors may send detailed feedback to Andrew Wadge, UK Food Standards Agency to guide new pilot study re bad reactions: Rich Murray 2009.06.22
Monday, June 22, 2009

Unexamined cofactors re folic acid antagonist research include methanol (quickly turns into formaldehyde and then formic acid in humans) from tobacco and wood smoke, alcohol beverages, aspartame, demethylation of caffeine: Rich Murray 2008.12.01
Monday, December 1, 2008


[ rearranged, 11% methanol added ]
From the Nutrasweet Web Site: (amounts in various "foods")
Product Category -- Serving Size -- aspartame -- 11% methanol

Gelatin Dessert ----------- 8 ounces -----190 mg ---- 21 mg
Carbonated Beverage --- 12 ounces ----- 180 ------- 20
" ------------------------ 48 ounces ----- 720 ------- 79
Powdered Drink -------- 12 ounces ----- 180 -------- 20
Fruit Drink (10% juice) -- 12 ounces ----- 140 -------15.4
Hot Chocolate ----------- 12 ounces ----- 100 -------11
Yogurt ------------------- 8 ounces ----- 124 --------13.6
Ice Cream ---------------- 8 ounces ----- 100 ------- 11
Pudding Dessert ---------- 8 ounces ------ 50 --------- 5.5
Frozen Novelty ----------- 2-3 ounces ---- 50 --------- 5.5
Gum ----------------------- 1 stick -------- 6-8 -------- 0.7-0.9
Vitamins ------------------ 1 vitamin ------ 4 ---------- 0.44
Breath mint ---------------- 1 mint --------- 1.5 -------- 0.17

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 newmanache@aol.com
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
Innovative Medical Research RLipton@aecom.yu.edu

Blumenthall & Vance: aspartame chewing gum headaches
Nov 1997: Murray 2002.07.28

Harvey J. Blumenthal, MD, Dwight A Vance, RPh
Chewing Gum Headaches. Headache 1997 Nov; 37(10): 665-6.
Department of Neurology, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Tulsa, USA. neurotulsa@aol.com
Aspartame, a popular dietetic sweetener, may provoke headache in some susceptible individuals. Herein, we describe three cases of young women with migraine who reported their headaches could be provoked by chewing gum sweetened with aspartame. [6-8 mg aspartame per stick chewing gum]

Antiseptic? antifungal? antiviral? methanol (formaldehyde, formic acid) disposition: Bouchard M et al, full plain text, 2001: substantial sources are degradation of fruit pectins, liquors, aspartame, smoke: Murray 2005.01.05 rmforall

Free full text

A Biologically Based Dynamic Model for Predicting the Disposition of Methanol and Its Metabolites in Animals and Humans.
Michèle Bouchard,
Robert C. Brunet,
Pierre-Olivier Droz,
and Gaétan Carrier.
Toxicological Sciences 64, 169-184 (2001)
Copyright (c) 2001 by the Society of Toxicology

[ extracts ]

"Exposure to methanol also results from the consumption of certain foodstuffs (fruits, fruit juices, certain vegetables, aspartame sweetener, roasted coffee, honey) and alcoholic beverages (Health Effects Institute, 1987; Jacobsen et al., 1988). [ It's unusual for a mainstream journal article to mention "fruits, fruit juices, certain vegetables, aspartame sweetener" and "alcoholic beverages" to be methanol sources.] ... little is known about the chronic effects of low exposure doses... Systemic methanol is extensively metabolized by liver alcohol dehydrogenase [ ADH ] and catalase-peroxidase enzymes to formaldehyde, which is in turn rapidly oxidized to formic acid by formaldehyde dehydrogenase enzymes... Formaldehyde, as it is highly reactive, forms relatively stable adducts with cellular constituents... Primates and humans appear to be more susceptible to the acute toxicity of methanol than rodents... Although methanol has been reported to be metabolized mainly in the liver, pulmonary metabolism is also likely to occur. Indeed, the catalase-peroxidase system responsible for a major fraction of methanol metabolism in rats is widely distributed in mammalian tissues... The model included a constant background whole body methanol burden of 2.133 mmol, which corresponds to the mean blood concentration of 0.5 mg/L of methanol measured by Osterloh et al. (1996) in control subjects at the end of an 8-h frequent blood sampling period... once formed, a substantial fraction of formaldehyde is converted to unobserved forms. This pathway contributes to a long-term unobserved compartment. The latter, most plausibly, represents either the formaldehyde that ( directly or after oxidation to formate ) binds to various endogenous molecules (Heck et al., 1983; Roe, 1982)... That substantial amounts of methanol metabolites or by-products are retained for a long time is verified by Horton et al. (1992) who estimated that 18 h following an iv injection of 100 mg/kg of 14C-methanol in male Fischer-344 rats, only 57% of the dose was eliminated from the body. From the data of Dorman et al. (1994) and Medinsky et al. (1997), it can further be calculated that 48 h following the start of a 2-h inhalation exposure to 900 ppm of 14C-methanol vapors in female cynomolgus monkeys, only 23% of the absorbed 14C-methanol was eliminated from the body. These findings are corroborated by the data of Heck et al. (1983) showing that 40% of a 14C-formaldehyde inhalation dose remained in the body 70 h postexposure... Experimental studies on the detailed time profiles following controlled repeated exposures to methanol are lacking... Thus, in monkeys and plausibly humans, a much larger fraction of body formaldehyde is rapidly converted to unobserved forms rather than passed on to formate and eventually CO2." http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1495
Folic acid prevents neurotoxicity from formic acid, made by body from methanol impurity in alcohol drinks [ also 11 % of aspartame ]
BM Kapur, PL Carlen, DC Lehotay, AC Vandenbroucke, Y Adamchik, U. of Toronto, 2007 Dec., Alcoholism Cl. Exp. Res.:
Murray 2007.11.27

Furthermore, BM Kapur et al, 2007 give evidence that formic acid from methanol in ethanol drinks is a major cause of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, readily preventable by adequate levels of folic acid, which expedites the safe metabolism of formaldehyde, in most people. "Methanol is endogenously formed in the brain and is present as a congener in most alcoholic beverages. Because ethanol is preferentially metabolized over methanol (MeOH) by alcohol dehydrogenase, it is not surprising that MeOH accumulates in the alcohol-abusing population. This suggests that the alcohol-drinking population will have higher levels of MeOH's neurotoxic metabolite, formic acid (FA). FA elimination is mediated by folic acid. Neurotoxicity is a common result of chronic alcoholism. This study shows for the first time that FA, found in chronic alcoholics, is neurotoxic and this toxicity can be .mitigated by folic acid administration." ... "MeOH concentrations between 4 and 4500 mg/l can be present in various alcoholic beverages (Sprung et al., 1988)."

A variety of mutations, as well as aspirin and many painkillers, impede folic acid. However, fruits and vegetables give enough folic acid to mitigate harm from their methanol. Then again, formaldehyde may in many people treat infections by fungi, bacteria, and viruses. All these unexamined co-factors have confused attempts to study aspartame toxicity for three decades.

Nurses Health Study can quickly reveal the extent of aspartame (methanol, formaldehyde, formic acid) toxicity: Murray 2004.11.21

The Nurses Health Study is a bonanza of information about the health of probably hundreds of nurses who use 6 or more cans daily of diet soft drinks -- they have also stored blood and tissue samples from their immense pool of subjects, over 100,000 for decades.

Details on 6 epidemiological studies since 2004 on diet soda (mainly aspartame) correlations, as well as 14 other mainstream studies on aspartame toxicity since summer 2005: Murray 2007.11.27

A widely proclaimed NIH-AARP mass survey by U Lim et al. 2006, while failing to show specific cancers with feeble diet drink consumption data for a year for seniors, did find that 4% of a half-million seniors drank 3 and more cans daily diet soda [ 12-oz can gives 200 mg aspartame, 22 mg methanol, 7 mg formaldehyde and formic acid at 30% cumulative retention ]

aspartame mg/d
0 ---- under 100 - 100-200 - 200-400 - 400-600 - 600-1200 -
cohort %
46 ------- 25 ------ 13 ------- 7 --------- 5 ------ about 3 ----

over 1200 mg/d
under 1% The highest level 3400 mg aspartame [ 17 12-oz cans ] gives 11% = 374 mg methanol, 48 times the recommended daily limit of consumption of 7.8 mg as recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).3

At 30% retention of cumulative toxic products of formaldehyde and formic acid, these would be 125 mg, 60 times higher than the 1999 EPA alarm level for formaldehyde in daily drinking water of 1 ppm = 2 mg for average daily drinking water of 2 L daily.

Since no adequate data has ever been published on the exact disposition of toxic metabolites in specific tissues in humans of the 11 % methanol component of aspartame, the many studies on morning-after hangover from the methanol impurity in alcohol drinks are the main available resource to date.

Highly toxic formaldehyde, the cause of alcohol hangovers, is made by the body from 100 mg doses of methanol from dark wines and liquors, dimethyl dicarbonate, and aspartame: Murray 2007.08.31

DMDC: Dimethyl dicarbonate 200mg/L in drinks adds methanol 98 mg/L ( becomes formaldehyde in body ): EU Scientific Committee on Foods 2001.07.12: Murray 2004.01.22


"...DMDC was evaluated by the SCF in 1990 and considered acceptable for the cold sterilization of soft drinks and fruit juices at levels of addition up to 250 mg/L (1) ...DMDC decomposes primarily to CO2 and methanol ...

[ Note: Sterilization of bacteria and fungi is a toxic process, probably due to the inevitable conversion in the body of methanol into highly toxic formaldehyde and then formic acid. ]

The use of 200 mg DMDC per liter would add 98 mg/L of methanol to wine which already contains an average of about 40 mg/L from natural sources.

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

Addict Biol. 2005 Dec;10(4): 351-5.
Concentration changes of methanol in blood samples during an experimentally induced alcohol hangover state.
Woo YS, Yoon SJ, Lee HK, Lee CU, Chae JH, Lee CT, Kim DJ.
Chuncheon National Hospital, Department of Psychiatry,
The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
http://www.cuk.ac.kr/eng/ sysop@catholic.ac.kr
Songsin Campus: 02-740-9714
Songsim Campus: 02-2164-4116
Songeui Campus: 02-2164-4114
http://www.cuk.ac.kr/eng/sub055.htm Eight hospitals

[ Han-Kyu Lee ]

A hangover is characterized by the unpleasant physical and mental symptoms that occur between 8 and 16 hours after drinking alcohol.

After inducing experimental hangover in normal individuals, we measured the methanol concentration prior to and after alcohol consumption and we assessed the association between the hangover condition and the blood methanol level.

A total of 18 normal adult males participated in this study.

They did not have any previous histories of psychiatric or medical disorders.

The blood ethanol concentration prior to the alcohol intake (2.26+/-2.08) was not significantly different from that 13 hours after the alcohol consumption (3.12+/-2.38).

However, the difference of methanol concentration between the day of experiment (prior to the alcohol intake) and the next day (13 hours after the alcohol intake) was significant (2.62+/-1.33/l vs. 3.88+/-2.10/l, respectively).

A significant positive correlation was observed between the changes of blood methanol concentration and hangover subjective scale score increment when covarying for the changes of blood ethanol level (r=0.498, p<0.05).

This result suggests the possible correlation of methanol as well as its toxic metabolite to hangover. PMID: 16318957

[The toxic metabolite of methanol is formaldehyde, which in turn partially becomes formic acid -- both potent cumulative toxins that are the actual cause of the toxicity of methanol.]

This study by Jones AW (1987) found next-morning hangover from red wine with 100 to 150 mg methanol (9.5 % w/v ethanol, 100 mg/l methanol, 0.01 %). 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).

Pharmacol Toxicol. 1987 Mar; 60(3): 217-20.
Elimination half-life of methanol during hangover.
Jones AW. wayne.jones@RMV.se;
Department of Forensic Toxicology,
University Hospital, SE-581 85 Linkoping, Sweden.

This paper reports the elimination half-life of methanol in human volunteers. Experiments were made during the morning after the subjects had consumed 1000-1500 ml red wine (9.5 % w/v ethanol, 100 mg/l methanol) the previous evening. [ 100 to 150 mg methanol ] The washout of methanol from the body coincided with the onset of hangover. The concentrations of ethanol and methanol in blood were determined indirectly by analysis of end-expired alveolar air. In the morning when blood-ethanol dropped below the Km of liver alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) of about 100 mg/l (2.2 mM), the disappearance half-life of ethanol was 21, 22, 18 and 15 min. in 4 test subjects respectively. The corresponding elimination half-lives of methanol were 213, 110, 133 and 142 min. in these same individuals. The experimental design outlined in this paper can be used to obtain useful data on elimination kinetics of methanol in human volunteers without undue ethical limitations. Circumstantial evidence is presented to link methanol or its toxic metabolic products, formaldehyde and formic acid, with the pathogenesis of hangover. PMID: 3588516

Four Murray AspartameNM reviews in SE Jacob & SA Stechschulte debate with EG Abegaz & RG Bursey of Ajinomoto re migraines from formaldehyde from aspartame, Dermatitis 2009 May: TE Hugli -- folic acid with V-C protects: Rich Murray 2009.08.12
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
[ extracts ]

Formaldehyde, aspartame, migraines: a possible connection.
Abegaz EG, Bursey RG.
Dermatitis. 2009 May-Jun;20(3):176-7; author reply 177-9.
No abstract available. PMID: 19470307

Eyassu G. Abegaz *
Robert G. Bursey
Ajinomoto Corporate Services LLC, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs
1120 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 1010
Washington, DC 20036
* Corresponding author.
Tel.: +1 202 457 0284; fax: +1 202 457 0107.
abegazee@ajiusa.com (E.G. Abegaz)
burseyb@ajiusa.com (R.G. Bursey)

"For example, fruit juices, coffee, and alcoholic beverages produce significantly greater quantities of formaldehyde than aspartame- containing products. [6]" "[6] Magnuson BA, Burdock GA, Doull J, et al. Aspartame: a safety evaluation based on current use levels, regulations, and toxicological and epidemiological studies. Crit Rev Toxicol 2007;37:629-727"

[ Two detailed critiques of industry affiliations and biased science in 99 page review with 415 references by BA Magnuson, GA Burdock and 8 more, Critical Reviews in Toxicology, 2007 Sept.: Mark D Gold 13 page: also Rich Murray 2007.09.15: 2008.03.24
Monday, March 24, 2008

"Nearly every section of the Magnuson (2007) review has research that is misrepresented and/or crucial pieces of information are left out.

In addition to the misrepresentation of the research, readers (including medical professionals) are often not told that this review was funded by the aspartame manufacturer, Ajinomoto, and the reviewers had enormous conflicts of interest." ]


Dermatitis. 2008; 19(3): E10-E11.
(c) 2008 American Contact Dermatitis Society
Formaldehyde, Aspartame, and Migraines: A Possible Connection
Sharon E. Jacob; Sarah Stechschulte
Published: 09/17/2008
[ Extract ]


Aspartame is a widely used artificial sweetener that has been linked to pediatric and adolescent migraines. Upon ingestion, aspartame is broken, converted, and oxidized into formaldehyde in various tissues. We present the first case series of aspartame-associated migraines related to clinically relevant positive reactions to formaldehyde on patch testing.

Case Series

Six patients (ages 16 to 75 years) were referred for evaluation of recalcitrant dermatitis. By history, five of the patients were noted to have developed migraines following aspartame consumption; the sixth reported dermatitis flares associated with diet cola consumption of >2 liters/day.

All six patients had current environmental exposures to formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing preservatives in their personal hygiene products and/or regular consumption of "sugar-free food" artificially sweetened with aspartame.

Based on their histories and clinical presentations, these patients were patch-tested with the North American Contact Dermatitis Group 65-allergen Standard Screening Series and selected chemicals from the University of Miami vehicle, fragrance, bakery, and textile trays.

All six patients had positive reactions to formaldehyde, and four had additional positive reactions to formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRPs). Expert counseling on allergen avoidance (including avoidance of formaldehyde, FRPs, and aspartame) and alternative product recommendations were provided to the patients.

At their follow-up appointments (between 8 and 12 weeks), all the patients showed clearance of their dermatitis. Four patients (two inadvertently) resumed their consumption of aspartame and subsequently returned for an additional follow-up visit. Three of the first five patients had recurrences of both their migraines and their dermatitis; the sixth patient (who had no migraines) had a positive rechallenge dermatitis. These four patients were again counseled on avoidance regimen.

Formaldehyde, aspartame, and migraines, the first case series, Sharon E Jacob-Soo, Sarah A Stechschulte, UCSD, Dermatitis 2008 May: Rich Murray 2008.07.18
Friday, July 18, 2008

Formaldehyde from many sources, including aspartame, is major cause of Allergic Contact Dermatitis, SE Jacob, T Steele, G Rodriguez, Skin and Aging 2005 Dec.: Murray 2008.03.27
Thursday, March 27, 2008

"For example, diet soda and yogurt containing aspartame (Nutrasweet), release formaldehyde in their natural biological degradation.

One of aspartame's metabolites, aspartic acid methyl ester, is converted to methanol in the body, which is oxidized to formaldehyde in all organs, including the liver and eyes.

Patients with a contact dermatitis to formaldehyde have been seen to improve once aspartame is avoided.

Notably, the case that Hill and Belsito reported had a 6-month history of eyelid dermatitis that subsided after 1 week of avoiding diet soda."

Avoiding formaldehyde allergic reactions in children, aspartame, vitamins, shampoo, conditioners, hair gel, baby wipes, Sharon E Jacob, MD, Tace Steele, U. Miami, Pediatric Annals 2007 Jan.: eyelid contact dermatitis, AM Hill, DV Belsito, 2003 Nov.: Murray 2008.03.27

Sharon E. Jacob, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine
University of California, San Diego 200 W. Arbor Drive #8420,
San Diego, CA 92103-8420 Tel: 858-552-8585 ×3504
Fax: 305-675-8317 sjacob@contactderm.net;
Sarah A. Stechschulte, BA sstechschulte@gmail.com


Rich Murray
1943 Otowi Road
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505

New primary archive:

Group with 143 members, 1,588 posts in a public archive:

Group with 1204 members, 23,945 posts in a public archive:



Participant, Santa Fe Complex: http://www.sfcomplex.org