Dangers of Aspartame

Topics: Aspartame, Amino acid, Sucralose Pages: 2 (678 words) Published: May 2, 2013
Dangers of Aspartame

Farheen Sindhi
A&P 209

Aspartame (otherwise known by its brand names NutraSweet and Equal or alternate monicker Acesulfame Potassium) is one of the most widely used artificial sweeteners on the market today. Aspartame is not limited only to “sugar-free” diet products. It is also found in thousands of foods and beverages including chewing gum, candies, diet soft drinks, desserts, yogurt, condiments, and even vitamins and pharmaceuticals, It was discovered by accident in 1965 when James Schlatter, a chemist of G.D. Searle Company, was testing an anti-ulcer drug. Aspartame is comprised of 40 percent aspartic acid, 50 percent phenylalanine, and 10 percent methanol. Aspartic acid acts as a neurotransmitter, and too much can actually over-excite the cells, thus stimulating them to death. The blood brain barrier cannot prevent this in many, as it does not fully protect all areas of the brain, especially in people already suffering from other chronic diseases and disorders, and is not fully developed in children. While phenylalanine is an amino acid already present in the brain, excess levels can cause serotonin to decrease over time, which can, in turn, cause depression and other emotional disorders. Methanol is an industrial solvent used as fuel and antifreeze, and is a main ingredient in many paints and varnish removers. Methanol is not meant to be in food to be digested, because of its severe effects and the chemical compound structure being so strong. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) warns that methanol ingestion may result in neurological damage and visual disturbances, and eventually blindness. Because of the hard ingredients used in aspartame, only someone without the knowledge would consume such a food containing harmful ingredients. Aspartame is an NMDA receptor antagonist, which means that it inhibits the release of neurotransmitters that cause pain within the body. NMDA receptor antagonists...
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