By Dr. Betty Martini, D.Hum.
Mission Possible International
9270 River Club Parkway
Duluth, Georgia 30097
Telephone: 770-242-2599
Web Site:

Posted: 29 July 2008

At the writer's request no name is given. For more information on aspartame see:

Aspartame Toxicity Center:


JULY 2008



Aspartame illness is crippling the nation and harming our children "To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice." Confucius.

When sugar-free gum came onto the market in the early to mid 1980s, I embraced this as I was doing one of my attempts to give up smoking, and chewing gum was a traditional way to do this. Quite early on in my Extra sugar-free gum-chewing career I noticed strange things began to happen. I would put things down and not remember where they were, I developed migraines; I started to get tired for no particular reason, even though my diet and fitness lifestyle were so fanatically healthy and I was doing all the good things. All this was inexplicable, and not anything I had experienced before, and crept up slowly.

It was in the late 1980s when I returned to the stress of newspaper reporting and as workplaces gradually became smoke-free, that I really began chewing sugar-free gum in earnest. I noticed that it seemed to scramble my brain cells in some way, making concentration difficult, although I didn't know what was causing this at the time. I began sitting in front the computer screen struggling to focus and concentrate. I compensated by drinking more coffee, thinking I was just tired.

This situation continued, I needed to keep my job as I was supporting my daughter, and like the lobster in the pot of cold water on the element, who doesn't notice the water is gradually heating up and he is going to be boiled alive because it happens so slowly and he becomes acclimatised, I was slowly wrecking my health, nearly my career, and my life in general.

Increasing tiredness resulted, but I was also craving the gum and could make no connection between the two. Then in the early 1990s I began drinking Diet Coca-Cola. I had never been a soft drink drinker, I was scrupulous that my diet be as healthy as possible, but growing tiredness meant I was using the soft drink as a caffeine boost. I had figured, against my internal voice and natural instincts, that it might be better than tea and coffee, and believed the advertising and the mantra that sugar-free was best, and was particularly swayed by a dishonest and very defective article in Time Magazine on aspartame claiming it was perfectly healthy.

This is when the trouble began in earnest. I quickly became addicted, building up to two 2.5 litres of Diet Coke a day by 2001. Over those years my life became a nightmare, of illness and pain, and an inability to "get it together".

Slowly over time I had to watch everything slide, but became unwittingly addicted to aspartame, as it is a highly addictive psychoactive neurotoxin. I was also working in the fashion-media world where I bought the brainwashing and thought drinking Diet Coke would make me thin. So I couldn't work out WHY I started to wake up in the middle of the night with the right side of my body frighteningly paralysed. I couldn't work out WHY the nerves in my teeth were dying one after the other for no apparent reason.

I couldn't work out WHY I was plagued with brain fog, permanent exhaustion, pins and needles, numbness in fingers and toes, blurred vision, inability to concentrate, and pain, everywhere it seemed. The problems rotated themselves in constantly shifting motion, from one part of the body to the other. It often brought to mind a line from Hamlet: "What fresh hell is this?" The migraines intensified and were set off by very little. My physical ability to work out at the gym declined, and I had to let my membership just hang there in the wind, unused. I would start an aerobics class but my ability to exercise without becoming exhausted would last about two minutes. Previously, before the late 1980s, I could get through two aerobics classes a day if I wanted to. Finally the gym graciously agreed to let me bow out of my contract because of illness. Every morning for years, bewildering, dark and frightening years, I would wake full of hope. I would think: "Today is going to be a good day and I will feel normal again, and my life, all my ambitions, the things I want to do, my personal life, will begin again."

Every night I would go to bed exhausted, sick and tired, and think: "Tomorrow I will wake up refreshed, my life will begin again, my legs will not go from under me today and I will not cascade down the stairs at work for no reason, I will not be slumped in an uncoordinated heap on the pavement outside a department store in the lunch hour simply because the muscles in my legs are so weak they can barely hold me, I will be able to think and to do my workload without still being at the office at 3am sipping on a can of Diet Coke and struggling to connect the dots to write, I will not have the frightening brain fog, and the feeling that an unseen force had taken me over and blanked out my mind. I will be able to cope with stress, I will not snap at people, I will not appear stupid. I know I am not at all stupid. What has happened to my mind?" I mentally and emotionally tried to fight this bewildering illness every step of the way.

"Tomorrow" didn't come for a very long time. And I got very, very sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.

After leaving my job in 2001 I struggled my way through the two-month "dream" holiday through Europe I had worked hard and saved for, came back to New Zealand and tried to take up my much-anticipated place on the fashion design course at design school, which had been a lifetime dream of mine. But three months down the track I was diagnosed with glandular fever (again), chronic fatigue syndrome, and finally, multiple sclerosis symptoms.

Heartbreakingly, I had to leave my dream course on illness grounds. Home alone in the flat I took a call one day from a friend who said his doctor had told him to pack in the Coca-Cola (he drank the regular sort, not Diet) because it was ruining his kidneys. I went on the Internet for him and Googled "dangers of Coca-Cola". Up came aspartame. I opened a site and read on. The rest is history as they say, and I was so lucky, it was the luckiest phone call I have had in my life to date, it truly and literally saved my life. Incidentally, that morning had started with an aspartame-laced supermarket Vitamin C tablet fizzing in a large glass of Diet Coke. Ironic, isn't it? That's the last time I knowingly took in any aspartame.

Shortly after giving up the Diet Coke and Extra gum and several weeks of the most horrendous withdrawal symptoms that you can imagine, I joined my then-partner in Europe, for a few months, where he was contracting for American IT companies. In such a beautiful and interesting city, I spent most of my time indoors, in bed. On the occasions I did go out I was dragging my right leg around. The body's synovial fluids had just about been cemented rigid by the aspartame accumulating in the tissues, and slowly my body began to try and remove the gunk. That too, was a bizarre experience.

Two years later and on a diet that was as fresh and raw and organic as possible, and I was ready to work and study. Seven years down the track and there are only residual problems. I believe it could take up to 10 years to get back to normal. Because every year, even now, this long after quitting aspartame ingestion, I continue to feel better and better.

I have taken back my life, thanks to my friend and his casual remark in that phone call to me in 2001, and thanks to the Internet. Because over all those years and visits to clueless doctors, years of frustration and loss because of my health status and the brain fog, the answer was so simple, and so unbelievable at the time, and the outcome of that knowledge and the change that has occurred since so profound.

I feel it is imperative everybody in the community knows the truth. They have a RIGHT to know what is in their soft drinks, their chewing gum, their "diet" products, their children's medicines and vitamins, their supermarket water soluble "vitamins", and any number of the estimated over 5000 products worldwide, including toothpaste and mouthwashes, that contain this noxious poisonous cocktail of methanol, formaldehyde and aspartic acid.

Former American Food and Drug Administration investigator Arthur Evangelista has written a compelling, authoritative text, Aspartame: The History Of A Killer - The Whole Story, on the sordid history of aspartame approval. It is the story of how the power of big business, public relations, and a slick operator called Don Rumsfeld, have ruthlessly and without conscience, knowing that rats were dying of brain tumours in lab experiments to test aspartame, condemned millions of unwitting and innocent humans worldwide to inexplicable, sometimes lifelong, misery. The kind of baffling misery that is also bewildering for their friends and loved ones to witness if they are not also victims themselves.

To continue to foist this poison on the New Zealand population without consideration for what is real and what is true - the undeniable evidence that this product is so toxic; to ignore the millions of heartbreaking stories that are available from overseas and those that are being presented to you this week by Abby Cormack and myself and others; to ignore the evidence from some of the world's most eminent doctors, like Dr H J Roberts of Florida, USA, and researchers, such as neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock - is as grave a travesty of common sense and justice as a New Zealand Parliamentary select committee could ever commit.

I hope this committee, in which I have faith, is gifted with seeing what is real and obvious, and sincere, and will make the groundbreaking decision to make New Zealand the first country in the world to do the right thing - to pull aspartame products off the New Zealand market. We were the first country to go nuclear free. Let's, please, also go aspartame free. Let us be the first nation to my knowledge on this earth to do what is right in this matter. For the sake of us all, for our children, and for the health of future generations.

The one thing you cannot do, ladies and gentlemen, is give me back those years and the things I lost because this product was approved as safe for consumption in foodstuffs and other products in New Zealand. That is what I have to live with. I appeal to your intelligence, your common sense, your consciences, and above all, your integrity, to do, as Confucius said, THE RIGHT THING.

Dr. Betty Martini, D.Hum.
Founder, Mission Possible World Health International
9270 River Club Parkway
Duluth, Georgia 30097

Aspartame Toxicity Center: