Friday, November 16, 2012
Diet drinks cause cancer in animals and humans
Aspartame has come under scrutiny numerous times, with claims of health effects ranging from cancer to seizures. A new study has supported earlier animal studies that artificial sweeteners in soft drinks are associated with an increased risk of lymphoma and leukemia 1
As a part of the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS they found men, drinking one or more serving of diet drink per day was associated with a 31 per cent increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a more than doubling of risk of multiple myeloma. While in men and women combined, drinking one or more serving of diet soda each day was associated with a 42 per cent increased risk of leukaemia. They also found positive associations also existed between intakes of aspartame specifically and non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
There are also significant animal studies to support this. A series of independently funded experiments showed a link between Aspartame and cancer in rat eperiments when tested with life-time use of Aspartame, starting while still in the womb 2,3. These experiment were impressive because they monitored rats until their natural death (up to 144 weeks), rather than ceasing tests at the usual 110 weeks. This gives a better idea of the potential for Aspartame to cause cancer, because 80% of cancer diagnoses are typically made in the last 1/3 of life, a critical point which other experiments miss.
Not unlike the recent human study reported above, the Mega life span study identified multiple tumours located at different sites of the body and being of numerous types. Dose related increases occurred in both male and females. That is the more aspartame consumed the higher the rates of cancer. This is a very powerful indicator of the problem. The most occurring tumours where lymphomas/leukaemia, preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions of the renal pelvis and ureter, malignant schwannomas of peripheral nerves, preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions of the olfactory epithelium, malignant brain tumours as well as other malignant tumours including tumours of the bladder 2. The study identified aspartame to be a "multi-potential carcinogenic compound".
In a follow up study which consisted of over 4000 male and female sprague- drawley rats which were administered prenatally till natural death 100 or 20mg/ per kg of body weight of aspartame 3. As with the first mega study multiple types and locations of tumors were identified in rats which were significantly lower than the ADI and comparing the postnatal and prenatal studies prenatal exposure further increased the occurrence of lymphomas/leukaemia in females 3.
Of greatest concern was that these carcinogenic effects where identified at doses which were that of at least half of the accepted daily intake and could easily be consumed in a day. However, Food Standards Australia New Zealand regulatory body advises Australian and New Zealand consumers that aspartame is safe and advocates that aspartame has no cancer causing properties
1 Schernhammer ES, Bertrand KA, Birmann BM, Sampson L, Willett WW, Feskanich D. Experimental Demonstration of the Multipotential Carcinogenic Effects of Aspartame Administered in the Feed to Sprague‑Dawley Rats. Environmental Health Perspectives 114 (3). 2012
2 Soifritti, M., F. Belpoggi, D. D. Esposti, L. Lambertini, E. Tibaldi, and Anna Rigano. 2006. First Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Oct 24. [Epub ahead of print]. Consumption of artificial sweetener- and sugar-containing soda and risk of lymphoma and leukemia in men and women.
3 Soffritti, M., F. Belpoggi, E. Tibaldi, D. D. Esposti, and M. Lauriola. 2007. Life‑span exposure to low doses of aspartame beginning during prenatal life increases cancer effects in rats. Environmental Health Perspective. 115 (1293‑7).