January 23, 2017

Aspartame and Donald Rumsfeld Disease

What does aspartame, the sweetener used in diet sodas, chewing gum, kids’ vitamins, and hundreds of other products, have to do with Donald Rumsfeld, a chief architect of the Iraq invasion? If you don’t yet know, you’re in for a rude awakening. It’s not a pretty sight.

But let’s start with Aspartame. It was originally being produced by G.D. Searle & Company as a possible anti-ulcer drug. But when their chemist, James M. Schlatter, accidentally licked some on his finger, a new sweetener was born.

Now found under names such as NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, Canderel, Benevia, and E951, aspartame contains methyl ester. According to food science professor Woodrow Monte, methyl ester immediately converts to methyl (wood) alcohol, a deadly poison that can bioaccumulate in the body. A single ounce can be fatal.

Monte, whose article “Aspartame: Methanol and the Public Health” appeared in the Journal of Applied Nutrition,[1] says, “Methyl alcohol then converts to two other known toxins—formaldehyde and formic acid.” Do you still want to sweeten your coffee with this? Wait…there’s more.

The two other two sub-units in aspartame are the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine. These both may be harmless when they are part of protein, but according to physician H. J. Roberts, author of the medical text, Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic, the amino acids in aspartame are isolated and in a dangerous configuration (L. stereoisomer). In addition, they interact with free methyl alcohol, which is available because of the methyl ester. All these factors make the amino acids particularly harmful.

­Roberts says the isolated phenylalanine lowers the seizure threshold and triggers psychiatric and behavioral problems, as well as other symptoms and diseases. Neuroscientist John Olney, who founded the field of neuroscience called excitotoxicity, says that aspartic acid is an excitotoxin that stimulates neurons into hyperactivity until they exhaust and die.

Test Subject Loses Sight In One Eye

Psychiatrist Ralph G. Walton, medical director of Safe Harbor Behavioral Health, had to abruptly stop his own human clinical trial on aspartame when some of the subjects had serious reactions. One participant, the hospital’s administrator, suffered a detached retina and went blind in one eye. Another had bleeding of the eye; others reported being poisoned.[2]

Walton says that “Aspartame is a multipotential toxin and carcinogen,” which also lowers seizure thresholds, produces “carbohydrate craving,” and in vulnerable individuals, can cause “panic, depressive and cognitive symptoms.”[3]

There are up to 10 breakdown products of aspartame.[4] The largest (diketopiperazine) appears to be the cause for brain tumors in animal feeding studies. Olney says when it is processed (nitrosated) by the gut it produces a compound closely resembling a powerful chemical (N-nitrosourea) that causes brain tumors.[5] Author and neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, suggests that a jump in brain tumors in the U.S. population in the 1980s is linked to the introduction of aspartame. [6] Blaylock refers to an Italian rat study[7] in which “they fed animals aspartame throughout their lives and let them die a natural death. They found a dramatic and statistically significant increase in the related cancers of lymphoma and leukemia, along with several histological types of lymphomas.” He said, “What the Italian study found is that if you take these same animals and expose them to formaldehyde in the same doses, they developed the same leukemias and lymphomas.”[8]

Would You Like Seizures With That?

The FDA compiled a list of 92 symptoms from the more than 10,000 consumer complaints they received about aspartame. These included four kinds of seizures, blindness, memory loss, fatigue, change in heart rate, difficulty breathing, joint, bone and chest pain, speech impairment, tremors, change in body weight, lumps, blood and lymphatic problems, developmental retardation and problems with pregnancy, anemia, conjunctivitis, male sexual dysfunction, and death. Roberts’ medical text also identifies neurodegenerative disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and sudden cardiac death, among others.

Aspartame happens to be genetically engineered.[9] The amino acids are grown using genetically modified (GM) E. coli bacteria. It is unclear if the process of genetic engineering contributes to any of the problems linked to aspartame.

History Of Deceit

According to material submitted to the FDA by Mark D. Gold of the Aspartame Toxicity Information Center,[10] the FDA had discovered alleged fraud in the aspartame tests submitted by G.D. Searle. In a January 10, 1977 33-page letter from FDA Chief Counsel Richard Merrill to U.S. Attorney Sam Skinner, Merrill asked the justice department to investigate the company’s failure to file required reports to the FDA, and “for concealing material facts and making false statements in reports of animal studies…” Their so-called safety studies were riddled with problems. For example, they allegedly:

  • Delayed autopsies on dead animals by as much as a year, so that much of the tissues were unusable;
  • Lost samples, then found some, then lost some;
  • Submitted contradictory information. For example, “One animal was reported alive at week 88, dead from week 92 through week 104, alive at week 108, and finally dead at week 112.”
  • “Many of the animals from which G.D. Searle claimed had blood drawn from were actually dead…”

The Justice Department pursued fraud charges, but on July 1, 1977, the U.S. Attorney on the case quit his job to work for the G.D. Searle law firm Sidley & Austin. Then an assistant U.S. Attorney, William Conlon, let the Statute of Limitations run out on the aspartame charges. He too, like his predecessor, later accepted a job with Sidley & Austin.

With the FDA and the Justice Department trying to prosecute, how in the world did the G.D. Searle get their sweetener approved? In 1977, they hired a new company president. He was a former Congressman, and Chief of Staff under Gerald Ford. You guessed it, Donald Rumsfeld.

Rumsfeld was part of the Reagan transition team. According to attorney and FDA watchdog James Turner,[11] in January 1981 “Rumsfeld told a sales meeting, according to one attendee, that he would call in his chips and get aspartame approved by the end of the year. On January 25th, the day the new president took office, the previous FDA commissioner’s authority was suspended, and the next month, the commissioner’s job went to Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes.”

Hayes was a Defense Department contractor, and described often as a friend of Rumsfeld. His first major decision was to approve aspartame. Hayes later stepped down from the FDA in controversy over accepting corporate gifts. He went to work for the PR firm that handled G.D. Searle and Monsanto.

Rumsfeld also hired Robert Shapiro to become G.D. Searle’s general counsel. After Monsanto bought the company in 1985, Shapiro became the head of Monsanto, and was responsible for the aggressive fast-tracking of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the US.

There are untold numbers of people who allegedly suffer from symptoms related to aspartame. Some who know the story of its approval have a name for their condition: Rumsfeld’s Disease.

Safe eating.


Jeffrey Smith
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Jeffrey M. Smith is the director of the award-winning film Genetic Roulette—The Gamble of Our Lives. He is the international best-selling author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette, and the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, which is educating consumers about the dangers of GMOs and mounting a campaign to drive the tipping point of consumer rejection. See www.responsibletechnology.org.

[1] Woodrow Monte, “Aspartame: Methanol And the Public Health”, Journal of Applied Nutrition, Volume 36, Number 1, l984. www.dorway.com/monte84.html

[2] Ralph G. Walton, et al., “Adverse Reactions to Aspartame: Double-Blind Challenge in Patients from a Vulnerable Population,” Biol. Psychiatry v.34 pp.13-17 1993

[3] Woodrow Monte, “Aspartame: Methanol And the Public Health”, Journal of Applied Nutrition, Volume 36, Number 1, l984. www.dorway.com/monte84.html

[4] Personal communication from Jeffrey Bada to H. J. Roberts. Bada is Professor of Chemistry at the University of California and researcher at the Amino Acid Dating Laboratory of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

[5] Russell L. Blaylock, Excitotoxins:  The Taste That Kills, Health Press, Sante Fe, NM, 1997

[6] Russell L. Blaylock, Excitotoxins:  The Taste That Kills, Health Press, Sante Fe, NM, 1997

[7] Morando Soffritti, et al., Aspartame induces lymphomas and leukaemias in rats, Eur. J. Oncol., vol. 10, n. 2, pp. 107-116, 2005

[8] Mike Adams, Interview with Dr. Russell Blaylock on devastating health effects of MSG, aspartame and excitotoxins, NewsTarget.com September 27 2006, http://www.newstarget.com/020550.html

[9] M. Wolf, “World’s Top Sweetener is Made with GM Bacteria,” The Independent, June 6, 1999 www.wnho.net/gmbacteria.htm

[11] James S. Turner, The Aspartame / NutraSweet Fiasco, http://www.stevia.net/aspartame.htm


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