The authors of the study in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), is the first to demonstrate multipotential carcinogenic effects of aspartame administered to rats in feed, called for an “urgent reevaluation” of the current guidelines for the use and consumption of this compound.
“Our study has shown that aspartame is a multipotential carcinogenic compound whose carcinogenic effects are also evident at a daily dose of 20 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg), notably less than the current acceptable daily intake for humans,” the authors write. Currently, the acceptable daily intake for humans is set at 50 mg/kg in the United States and 40 mg/kg in Europe.
Aspartame is the second most widely used artificial sweetener in the world. It is found in more than 6,000 products including carbonated and powdered soft drinks, hot chocolate, chewing gum, candy, desserts, yogurt, and tabletop sweeteners, as well as some pharmaceutical products like vitamins and sugar-free cough drops. More than 200 million people worldwide consume it.
Researchers administered aspartame to rats by adding it to a standard diet. They began studying the rats at eight weeks of age and continued until the spontaneous death of each rat. At spontaneous death, each animal underwent examination for microscopic changes in all organs and tissues, a process different from the aspartame studies conducted 30 years ago and one that was designed to allow aspartame to fully express any carcinogenic potential.
The treated animals showed extensive evidence of malignant cancers including lymphomas, leukaemias, and tumours at multiple organ sites. The authors speculate the increase in lymphomas and leukaemias may be related to one of the metabolites in aspartame, namely methanol, which is metabolised in both rats and humans to formaldehyde.
MEDICA.de; Source: Environmental Health Perspectives (NIEHS)