ASPARTAME AND MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
FROM: H. J. Roberts, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.C.C.P.
SUBJECT: MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS CORRESPONDENCE WITH BETTY MARTINI
Betty has asked me to reply to your valid comments and those of several
other persons with related questions.
I should first indicate that I am a Board-Certified Internist, a member
of the American Academy of Neurology and a member of the Endocrine
Society. I have written on MS for nearly four decades - including a
chapter in my first text (DIFFICULT DIAGNOSIS; A GUIDE TO THE
INTERPRETATION OF OBSCURE DISEASE, W. B. Saunders, 1958), and a number of
prior personal research studies pertaining to the pathogenesis of M.S.
You might be interested in these references.
Roberts, H. J.: The syndrome of narcolepsy and diabetogenic
("functional") hyperinsulinism, with special reference
to obesity, diabetes, idiopathic edema, cerebral
dysrhythmias, and multiple sclerosis (200 patients).
Journal of the American Geriatric Society 1964: 12:926-976
Roberts, H. J.: On the etiology, rational treatment and prevention
of multiple sclerosis: Southern Medical Journal 1966:
Roberts, H. J.: An inquiry into the pathogenesis, rational treatment
and prevention of multiple sclerosis, with emphasis upon the
combined role of diabetogenic hyperinsulinism and recurrent
edema. Journal of the American Geriatric Society 1966:
Allow me to make several points. First, I have not said that aspartame
products cause Ms rather though they indeed might aggravate or accelerate
the disease. A number of patients in my series of nearly 650 aspartame
reactors were incorrectly diagnosed as having MS on the basis of their
various neurological and eye complaints. The following excerpt is germane:
"The frequency with which an erroneous diagnosis of multiple sclerosis
was made in aspartame reactors deserves special attention. This is
particularly true among weight-conscious young women who develop
visual and neurologic problems while consuming considerable amounts
of aspartame products. In my opinion, this diagnosis ought be
deferred at least several months after abstinence from aspartame
to enable sufficient observation for spontaneous recovery."
From: Roberts, H.J.: ASPARTAME (NUTRASWEET@): IS IT
SAFE? Philadelphia: The Charles Press, 1989, p.p. 109-110
Second, I have reviewed the neurotoxicity of aspartame and its components or
derivatives in these three texts and a recently-released 2-cassette set on
Aspartame Disease. It is not solely a matter of methanol intoxication.
Roberts, H.J.: ASPARTAME (NUTRASWEET@) IS IT SAFE? Philadelphia,
The Charles Press, 1989
Roberts, H. J.: SWEET'NER DEAREST: BITTERSWEET VIGNETTES ABOUT
ASPARTAME (NUTRASWEET@), West Palm Beach, Sunshine Sentinel Press,
Inc. 1992 (P. O. Box 17799, West Palm Beach, Fla. 33416, FAX
Roberts, H.J.: DEFENSE AGAINST ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE: A RATIONAL
BLUEPRINT FOR PREVENTION. West Palm Beach, Sunshine Sentinel Press,
Roberts, H.J.: IS ASPARTAME (NUTRASWEET@) SAFE? A MEDICAL PUBLIC
HEALTH AND LEGAL OVERVIEW - 1995. Sunshine Sentinel Press, Inc.
Third, I fully appreciate the matter of double-blind, randomized trials,
having headed a research institution since l964. The problems with most
such published studies on aspartame are the flawed protocols. I have reviewed
this issue at great length in the foregoing references - including some
disturbing details that qualify as "sciencegate".
Fourth, at this point, I would consider it unethical on my part to attempt
to provoke an attack on someone under my care who is in a remission of MS
by administering "real world" aspartame products. (You will probably
Fifth, the subjects of hypoglycemia, insulin in the brain and CSF, the
blood-brain barrier, experimental allergic encephalomyeletic (EAE), etc.
have been raised. They are relevant, but would require at least a 2-hour
A few comments:
*EAR is an experimental model, but quite different from MS in
*Insulin receptors are widely, but unevenly, distributed throughout
the (rat) central nervous system, being highest in the hypothalmus.
*Insulin is present in concentrations between 10 and 100 times that
found in (rat) plasma.
*Brain glucose metabolism is largely insulin independent, but
obviously severely affected by cerebral glucopenia but details
can be found in any physiology text. More insights about glucose
transport and diffusion in the brain are reviewed in my
*Insulin stimulates DNA, RNA and protein synthesis in fetal rat brain
*Intracisternal insulin increases arterial insulin levels, with a
decrease of plasma glucose-probably through a vagal mechanism.
*CSF insulin concentrations increase during intravenous insulin
infusions, and after an oral glucose load, perhaps by direct
transfer across brain capillary endothelial cells in the choroid
Finally, both amino acids of aspartame stimulate the release of insulin,
as described in my books and multiple papers.
I welcome your comment and criticisms.
H. J. Roberts, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.C.C.P.
Dr. Bleck: With regard to your comments about multiple sclerosis not
escalating, I wonder where you got your information. The last time I
called the National Multiple Sclerosis Society here in Atlanta they told
me they don't record figures and they estimate there are about 500,000
cases in the U.S. Keep in mind it depends on who you end up talking to.
Yesterday when I called Crystal told me she thought maybe it was 400,000.
I asked if they had any records of an earlier date. After 30 minutes of
her guesses I asked if she could fax me any material. She sent me a
report titled REVISED ESTIMATE OF THE PREVALENCE OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS IN
THE UNITED STATES, Anderson, Ellenberg, Leventhal, Reingold, Rodrigues,
Siiberberg, American Neurological Association 1992.
According to this there were about 123,000 persons in 1976. It says: "It is
estimated that approximately 250,000 to 350,000 persons in the United
States in 1990 had physician diagnosed multiple sclerosis.
Finally, Crystal told me that here in Georgia they had started tracking
3 years ago. "Finally", I said, "we're getting somewhere - how many
cases in Georgia 3 years ago?" She reported 2000 cases of MS. Then I said:
"So how many cases in Georgia now, 3 years later?" She said: "6000". So
I asked her if she didn't consider that to be an increase. She said: "No,
I think people are just now more willing to say they have MS!"
Personally, I don't believe you can get factual information from the MS
Society. They are another organization that takes in contributions but
helps the MS patient very little if at all, in my personal opinion, and
has no efficient records. They are like the American Diabetic Assn. Dr.
Roberts has been a member for almost 40 years and they refuse to publish
his research on diabetics and aspartame reactors. They know full well
what this poison will do to a diabetic. You've got as a component,
methyl ester which becomes methanol and then converts to formaldehyde and
formic acid (ant sting poison). The patient gets metabolic acidosis. As
Dr. Roberts points out in his book this severe biochemical state,
excessive acids in the body can result in respiratory failure and death.
They have sacrificed the diabetics! It was just yesterday when I
mentioned NutraSweet that a woman said: "Why my aunt is a diabetic and
uses NutraSweet all day long." I said: "Then your aunt is very sick -
she is either losing her vision or blind, has joint pain, her blood sugar
is out-of-control, she had headaches, is very depressed, and her
physician doesn't know why she has all the problems." The woman was
shocked and said: "Why yes, how did you know? The only thing you left
out is she has boils and she has to take two hands to open her eyelids.
Her doctor has no idea why she keeps getting worse or what is doing it."
I told Mrs. Foree that she probably then also has myasthenia gravis which
is also triggered by aspartame. When I mentioned it to Dr. Roberts he
said that probably is the case and she should have a Tensilon test.
Physicians don't know because Monsanto "funds" all these organizations
like the American Diabetic Assn., and American Dietetic Assn., etc. and
are told that aspartame is safe. They do it because they can't warn the
patients and continue to take money. Notice all these walk-a-thons for
diabetics are funded by NutraSweet (Monsanto) and they have people
wearing Equal shirts. I got so upset at seeing diabetics half blind and
almost dead on this poison that last October we exposed the ADA. Several
of us walked along side almost 1000 diabetics and handed them Dr. Roberts'
position paper on aspartame and diabetes, our warning flyer and a current
article on the danger of aspartame for diabetics. One by one they
eliminated aspartame, and my phone rang off the hook with diabetics saying:
"For the first time, my blood sugar is under control, my depression is gone,
my vision is clearing up, etc."
Dr. Moser, a consultant for the NutraSweet Company, hired to defend their
product when it gets exposed, wrote in a local paper that the only reason
the people get well is that it was all psychological. I wrote the paper
back and said: "Neat reasoning, Dr. Moser, get off poison, get well and
your brain did it. A burglar could think of a better alibi!" Except for
the line about the burglar it was published in the paper.
My last run in with Dr. Moser was on August 17. I poured out Diet Coke
at a press conference. They interviewed Dr. Moser who said: "This is
nutritional terrorism". I wrote CBS back and said: "That's so, he's
right - NutraSweet has terrorized nutrition. Disbelievers embark on The
Monsanto Titanic - it's iceberg proof, you know."
There are many physicians who will support the fact that this is a very
dangerous drug for anybody. Dr. Louis J. Elsas, II, Director, Division of
Medical Genetics, Professor of Pediatrics, testified before the Committee
on Labor and Human Resources of the United States Senate in 1987: He said:
"In the developing fetus such a rise in maternal blood phenylalanine
could be magnified four to six fold by the concentrative efforts of the
placenta and fetal blood brain barrier. Thus a maternal phenylalanine of
150 uM could reach 900 nM in the developing fetal brain cell and this
concentration kills such cells in tissue culture. The effect of such an
increased fetal brain concentrations in vivo would probably be much more
subtle and expressed as mental retardation, microcephaly, or potential
certain birth defects. .. In the rapidly growing post-natal brain
(children of 1-12 months) irreversible brain damage could occur by the
You should know that the American Diabetic Assn., and the American
Dietetic Assn. recommend aspartame for pregnant women! I recently
received a call from the National Child Development Assn. who said that
learning disabilities in children in the U.S. today are at 50%! She said
my packet I sent on NutraSweet is being duplicated and sent to 10,000
offices in the U.S. I also sent her Dr. Roberts paper on learning
disabilities as well as one he just recently wrote concerning the use of
products containing aspartame by pregnant women, infants and children.
This product masquerades as an additive used for weight loss and it is not.
In the Congressional Record of May 7, 1985 it quotes Dr. Richard Wurtman
of MIT (Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences).
"Aspartame has been demonstrated to inhibit the carbohydrate induced
synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin blunts the
sensation of craving carbohydrates and thus is part of the body's
feedback system that helps limit consumption to appropriate levels. Its
inhibition by aspartame could lead to the anomalous result of a diet
product causing increased consumption of carbohydrates."
Dr. Wurtman also says in: DIETARY PHENYLALANINE AND BRAIN FUNCTION,
Proceedings of the First International Meeting on Dietary Phenylalanine
and Brain Function in Washington, 5/8 - 10, 1987, page 84:
"Intermittent rise of blood phenylalanine following aspartame intake may
be detrimental to the developing fetus. Indeed, fetuses of
hyperphenylalaninemic mothers may have lower IQ and a higher incidence of
Studies that were funded by Searle (Monsanto bought Searle in l985) or
Monsanto were usually "flawed" and cannot even be considered for research
Dr. John Olney informed Searle that Aspartic acid caused holes in the
brains of mice he was testing. Ann Reynolds, a researcher hired by
Searle, confirmed Dr. Olney's findings in a similar study. A large Task
Force was formed, headed by FDA lead Investigator, Philip Brodsky. Here
are excerpts from the conclusions of their summary:
"We have uncovered serious deficiencies in Searle's integrity in
conducting high quality animal research to accurately determine or
characterize the toxic potential of its products."
"We have found instances of irrelevant or unproductive animal research
where experiments have been poorly conceived, carelessly executed or
inaccurately analyzed or reported." "The cumulative findings of problems
within and across the studies we investigated reveal a pattern of conduct
which compromised the scientific integrity of the studies."
In 1981 Senior FDA statistician, Satya Dubey, stated in a memo, that the
brain tumor data was so "worrisome" he could not recommend approval of
NutraSweet. In 1981 Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr. was appointed the New FDA
Commissioner. In July of l981 he overruled the Public Board of Inquiry's
recommendation that "Aspartame should not be approved for marketing until
further animal testing was conducted to resolve the brain tumor issue."
The FDA approval of NutraSweet as a "food additive" makes it exempt from
continued safety monitoring and therefore G. D. Searle is not obligated
to monitor adverse reactions associated with NutraSweet nor submit
reports to FDA of such adverse reactions.
In 1983 Commissioner Hayes of FDA approved NutraSweet for soft drinks two
months before he left office. He accepted a position as senior medical
advisor to a Searle Public Relations firm, Burston Marsteller who
represented NutraSweet. He refused to talk to the press for 10 years!
The National Soft Drink Association 30 page protest listed in the
Congressional Records admits that Searle used the wrong test, wrong
solution, didn't test for breakdown products and didn't test for
The soda pop companies sent truckloads of diet pop to the Persian Gulf
where one soldier said they sat for as long as 8 weeks on pallets in the
120 degree Arabian sun, and that they drank them all day. At 86 degrees
aspartame liberates methanol in the can! Desert Storm Syndrome symptoms
are identical to Aspartame Disease: Memory loss, vision loss, chronic
fatigue syndrome (methanol breaks down the immune system), joint pain,
headaches, manic depression, dizziness, equilibrium problems, confusion,
etc. The CFIDS Network (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Immunologic
Disease) said 6000 of the troops have already perished! I wonder how
many of them died from aspartame.
One lady posted a note to my private email about her burning tongue. She
said that Pepsi told her it was the sweetness breaking down, and they
sent her a new case of Diet Pepsi. On 60 Minutes this week they talked
about Desert Storm Syndrome, and one mentioned "the burning tongue".
Methanol gives the diet drinks their sweetness, and what Pepsi didn't
tell the lady that when it broke down it broke down into formaldehyde!
There have been many studies done, not funded by the NutraSweet Company,
and they showed how dangerous aspartame really is. Barbara Alexander
Mullarkey, a friend and outstanding journalist who has been writing about
NutraSweet since its approval, has written about these tests and has all
the references. Eventually when she sends it to me I will post these
studies that should be listed with Medline instead of those funded by
NutraSweet that cannot be trusted. At that time I will make them
available to you along with her story.
I hope this gives you a little more understanding of this very dangerous
drug. People are constantly being diagnosed as having Multiple Sclerosis
when, in fact, it is methanol toxicity from aspartame and reversible
usually within a couple of months. And someone who does have MS who uses
aspartame is going to escalate his disease. So far every case I've seen
was on NutraSweet (about 25) and reversed when we got them to abstain.
But some people who had MS symptoms like Joyce Wilson and Patricia Craine
just weren't warned in time and died from NutraSweet.
NutraSweet was very successful at killing rats in original studies, so it
would make a great rat killer. However, I would not put it in my food or
P.S. Dr. Wurtman in his papers disclosed the dangers of aspartame, but
he did later change sides and became a consultant for NutraSweet. It is
this kind of power that has prevented the removal of aspartame from the
marketplace. They can get to people in high places. Another story.
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS OR ASPARTAME DISEASE?
H. J. ROBERTS, M.D., F.A.C.P.,F.C.C.P.
Aspartame disease refers to symptoms and signs attributable to the use
of products containing aspartame. This synthetic chemical is commonly
known as NutraSweet (R) and Equal (R). Over half the U.S. population
currently consumes it.
In my opinion, aspartame disease afflicts numerous consumers of such
products, probably in the millions. This is based on my own data base
of over 1,200 (!) aspartame reactors and extensive research, coupled
with the many thousands of complaints volunteered to the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) by outraged persons.
Certain areas of the brain, eyes, inner ear and peripheral nerves are
highly vulnerable. The most frequent features of aspartame disease
include headache, dizziness, poor equilibrium, confusion, impaired or
double vision, convulsions, ringing in the ears, slurred speech,
tremors, extreme fatigue, motor and sensory disturbances affecting the
limbs, and other neuropsychiatric complaints.
I have encountered scores of patients with aspartame disease in whom
these features -- in varying combinations - were diagnosed as multiple
sclerosis. This has been particularly impressive in the case of weight-
conscious young women using "diet" soft drinks, tabletop sweeteners, and
sugar-free gum. The causative or contributing role of aspartame was
convincingly indicated by ( 1) their dramatic improvement within several
days or weeks after avoiding aspartame products, and (2) the prompt
predictable recurrence of complaints after resuming aspartame... often
Each of the components of aspartame -- phenylalanine (50%); aspartic
acid (40%); the methyl ester (10%) which promptly becomes free methyl
alcohol (!) or methanol -- and their multiple breakdown products after
exposure to heat or during prolonged storage is potentially toxic to the
brain, retina and other nerves.
An erroneous diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can penalize a person for
years. Accordingly, it is my opinion that this diagnosis should not be
made in individuals consuming aspartame products until they have been
observed for months of total abstinence. I must emphasize that some
minor finding in a CT or MRI scan of the brain does not conclusively
confirm this diagnosis.
These details are reviewed in IS ASPARTAME (NUTRASWEET (R) ) SAFE? A
MEDICAL PUBLIC HEALTH AND LEGAL OVERVIEW (2 audio-cassette set), and
SWEET'NER DEAREST: BITTERSWEET VIGNETTES ABOUT ASPARTAME (NUTRASWEET
(R))-published by the Sunshine Sentinel Press (P. O. Box 17799, West
Palm Beach, Florida 33416; 1 800 -814-9800; Fax 561-547-8008; home page
http://www.gate.net/~sunpress) Other related titles by this publisher
are IGNORED HEALTH HAZARDS FOR PILOTS AND DRIVERS; WITH EMPHASIS ON
ASPARTAME (NUTRASWEET(R)) DISEASE, and DEFENSE AGAINST ALZHEIMER'S
(C) 1999 H. J. Roberts, M.D.
6708 Pamela Lane
West Palm Beach, Florida 33405