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Are Digital Pills In Your Future?



Digital Pill
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dr. MercolaGuest Writer

It sounds a little like science fiction — take a digital pill at home and your doctor is notified. Nevertheless, this may be the future of medicine and it’s been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It was November 13, 2017, when the FDA announced the approval of the first digital pill — Abilify MyCite — for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.

The pill is designed to digitally track whether you’ve taken your medication and then send a compliance message to your smartphone and even your doctor if you approve of it doing so. Three years later the digital medication costs well over $1,500 for a 30-day supply, even through discount drug provider GoodRx.

The cost is also nearly 30 times the cost of the generic pill for a 30-day supply. Schizophrenia affects approximately 1% of the population, yet a meta-analysis of 31 studies involving 51,925 people who were homeless found there is a significantly higher prevalence of schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder and schizoaffective disorder in that population.

The estimate of the prevalence of all psychotic disorders in the homeless population was 21.21%, and of schizophrenia alone was 10.29%. Plus, the number of individuals who are homeless with serious mental illness has been on the rise since the 1970s — which means that, even if the digital pill proved to successfully help manage a person’s schizophrenia and improve compliance, the cost of the technology may be far out of reach for those who need it most.

The Future of Medication May Arrive Soon: Digital Pills

The first digital pill system approved in 2017 required the individual to wear a sensor and used a cell-phone app. According to Dr. George Savage, co-founder of Proteus Digital Health, maker of the first digital pill, the system was first conceived more than 200 years ago.

Within the digital pill is a sensor which includes copper and magnesium that operates similarly to a battery first developed 200 years ago. The compound in the pill generates a current, which runs a silicon chip. This sends a simple signal to the adhesive you wear on your stomach.

The system generates a current for only three minutes, just enough time to send the signal and for the sensor to gather the data. Information about the time you took your pill and your activity level is then sent to a cell-phone app and, with your consent, onward to your doctor.

Although the system was unique, technology-driven and intended to improve drug adherence at the time it was conceived and developed, there was no evidence to prove it raised medication compliance.

More than three years later and under new leadership by EtectRx, which acquired Proteus when Proteus went into bankruptcy, there is renewed focus on determining whether it improves patient adherence. Now called the “ID Cap System,” the technology is set to make remote patient monitoring easier and to allow “real-time intervention” of doctors with their patients.

Digitals Pills Scheduled for an Upgrade

As CEO for etectRx, Valerie Sullivan talked about the differences between etectRx, Proteus and other companies in the market. Reiterating that her company is different because their focus is almost exclusively on patient compliance, including branding and clinical trials, Sullivan said:

“This pandemic era we’re in has ramped up interest in telehealth generally. The remote patient monitoring that ID-Cap System enables can reduce clinical trial costs, eliminate non-adherence among patients and allow for real-time intervention with them.”

In early January 2021, MedCity News reported that etectRx teamed up with Pear Therapeutics to develop products combining the technology from both companies. They announced the initial project will be on medication related to mental health. In a phone interview with MedCity News, Sullivan commented on the “value in having patients see for themselves and feel empowered that when they take their medication, they feel better.”

These digital pills will also contain wireless sensors embedded in the medication to communicate with a wearable lanyard device, as opposed to a patch stuck to your stomach. Pear and etectRx have not yet partnered with big pharma companies to produce the technology for existing medications.

Digital Medicine May Be a Tough Pill to Swallow

Sullivan anticipates there may be some pushback from patients, doctors and even drug makers. Digital Commerce reported that British consulting firm L.E.K. Consulting found the technology may not be as well received as the digital pill companies hope.

Although advocates believe the technology may improve outcomes by offering precise information about a patient’s use, experts anticipate it will be nearly a decade before these become routinely used in health care delivery.

L.E.K. believes among the biggest obstacles are the drug makers and the doctors. As Digital Commerce reported, Harsha Madannavar, managing director and partner at L.E.K., wrote in the report:

“There is a degree of scepticism among big pharma companies and some physicians. Big Pharma companies, like other large organizations, can be notoriously slow to integrate innovative technologies or platforms.

Physicians, particularly those in large hospital systems, have barely enough face time with patients and even less time to adapt to new care-delivery models or new decision-making paradigms.”

Speaking with a journalist from The New York Times, Ameet Sarpatwari from Harvard Medical School expressed concern about the technology, saying it “has the potential to improve public health, [but] if used improperly it could foster more mistrust, instead of trust.”

Patients would be able to decide if their doctor and up to four other people could receive the data showing when the pills were taken. Patients would also have access to a cell-phone app that could let them change their mind and block recipients later.

But some question whether this technology may also be an invasion of privacy and whether individuals may feel pressured to allow their doctors to monitor their medication. Dr. Peter Kramer, psychiatrist and author, believes digital technology may be ethical for a “fully competent patient,” but questions whether a digital drug may potentially become a “coercive tool.”

Some experts believe that older adults, who wish to have help remembering to take their pills, may welcome these devices. Other potential uses for this type of technology can be expanded as well as incentivized by insurance providers to monitor opioid use and clinical trial participants, or to use as a condition for parole or release from a psychiatric facility.

On a different note, in 2019 Proteus announced it was testing a chemotherapy digital pill on patients with colorectal cancer. Again, the idea was to improve outcomes by ensuring medication adherence. The difference between this pill and the one for schizophrenia was it was not necessary for the chemotherapy pill to go through a round of regulatory approval based on the way in which the sensor was packaged within the capsule.

Technology Meant to Provide an Answer for Compliance

The chemotherapy drug was administered through Fairview Health Services in Minnesota, where the health care system paid Proteus in the hopes that it would help save them money by improving patient outcomes. The contract stated Fairview paid when the cancer patient took their chemotherapy as prescribed by their physician 80% of the time.

When patients didn’t meet the threshold, the digital pill company did not get paid. Despite plans to become a high-tech generic drug manufacturer, Proteus’ vision ended with its bankruptcy — with some experts saying the failure was on the part of the company and not the result of failed technology.

Specifically, according to digital health venture fund and research group Rock Health, Proteus may have paid the price for a tactical choice by picking a “therapeutic area with a degree of difficulty that’s an eight or nine out of 10.” Even so, while the digital pill companies are taking aim at medication adherence, it may not be a fiscally responsible direction.

When medication is the only intervention sought, poor adherence can result in health complications and increased costs. This means that medication adherence and patient compliance are health care challenges the system seeks to overcome.

Data show some of the reasons why older adults do not adhere to their medication schedule include a lack of meaningful communication with health care providers, cost, fear of addiction, cognitive decline and medication side effects. That’s why chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and depression, require ongoing changes in lifestyle and nutrition to control the conditions.

The extent to which non-adherence affects patient outcomes varies widely across studies, having been reported as high as 92% and as low as 10%. Data show approximately 50% of non-adherence is intentional and the other half happens when patients are not aware they aren’t taking the medication as prescribed.

However, a team of doctors of pharmacy professionals believe that while medication adherence is a problem in Western medicine, it is not the only problem and may account for “only the third most frequent type of medication-related problem.” One pharmacist argues that science should not be solely aimed at compliance but, rather, adherence as a segment of medication optimization.

Tied to medication optimization is adherence and a number of other factors that affect downstream costs such as adverse drug reactions, drug interactions, therapy failure and dosing problems.

Seek Out the Root of Your Health Condition

Many health conditions respond to lifestyle and nutritional choices. For instance, there are data to show people with schizophrenia who are low in vitamin D, folic acid and vitamin B12 have more severe symptoms. In other words, there are nutraceutical interventions that help reduce symptoms of schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and many other health conditions.

Before becoming at risk for polypharmacy, or the use of multiple medications at one time to treat an ailment, and the side effects, seek out and work to correct the root of the health condition. Many times, there are lifestyle and nutritional changes you can make that have a significant impact on your overall health, and the symptoms or treatment of your health condition.

Prescription medications come with side effects, and oftentimes doctors prescribe a second medication to treat the side effects of the first. However, medications typically only mask symptoms and do not address the underlying condition, setting up a vicious cycle.

Although many pharmacy computers may flag drug interactions, the chemical complexity involved within your body when you’re taking multiple drugs make it challenging to avoid adverse reactions.

There are no magic pills — digital or otherwise — that fix symptoms or health conditions. In order to address your illness and restore your vigor, it is necessary to make changes to your lifestyle and your nutritional habits.

Recommended Articles by Dr. Joseph Mercola
About the Author

Born and raised in the inner city of Chicago, IL, Dr. Joseph Mercola is an osteopathic physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Mercola served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for five years, and in 2012 was granted fellowship status by the American College of Nutrition (ACN).

While in practice in the late 80s, Dr. Mercola realized the drugs he was prescribing to chronically ill patients were not working. By the early 90s, he began exploring the world of natural medicine, and soon changed the way he practiced medicine.

In 1997 Dr. Mercola founded, which is now routinely among the top 10 health sites on the internet. His passion is to transform the traditional medical paradigm in the United States. “The existing medical establishment is responsible for killing and permanently injuring millions of Americans… You want practical health solutions without the hype, and that’s what I offer.”

Visit for more information, or read Dr. Mercola’s full bio and resumé here.

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The Sun And Skin Cancer: Examining The Truths, Pseudo-Truths And Lies Of Mainstream Science



Sun bathing
Photo Credit:

Dr. Michelle KmiecGuest Writer

So we hear the sun is good for you… and then the sun is bad for you… and then later the sun is good for you again. Or is it bad for you now? … I just can’t keep it straight. Isn’t this game of ‘good-bad-good’ played on just about every topic under the sun? (Terrible pun, I know… sorry about that)?

We are a society immersed in fear… fear… and more fear. So the sun being another object of fear isn’t any big surprise.

The notion that we, people that live on the surface of this planet, should cover-up and stay out of the sun as much as possible has always struck a strange chord with me. I could believe something like this if we, in fact, lived underground and were nocturnal cave dwellers; only to come out at night to work and play.

But we are not nocturnal by nature. We sleep at night and are active during the day. Did nature get this wrong? Could this perhaps be nature’s biggest joke on us? Or are we the ones who are confused? To find out, let’s take a look at how our bodies interact with natural sunlight…

There are reasons why we are active during the day rather than at night, and our physiology proves it:

  1. The pineal gland provides melatonin at night and serotonin during the day.
  2. We have excellent day vision and poor night vision.
  3. Vitamin D is a vitamin-like hormone that our body makes only with direct sun exposure.
  4. Not to mention that we are “programmed” to be drawn to the sun. Don’t we all just love that warm sunny day?  Doesn’t it do absolute wonders on your state of mind?

Nonetheless, we’ve been told to stay out of the sun, cover up, and lather on the sunscreen on. And aren’t we totally brain washed regarding sunscreen? We are told that if we don’t put on the sunscreen, we’ll get wrinkles and/or get skin cancer. Right? Sound familiar?

And now the latest myth about being out in the sun… it is becoming more dangerous due to the shrinking ozone layer causing the sun rays to be stronger than ever before, of course causing more skin cancer. But that’s another topic altogether.

UVA and UVB Rays:

Before we go into more detail, here’s a little refresher on UVB and UVA rays.

UVA rays:
  • Passes through window glass.
  • Is always present despite changes in altitude or weather.
  • Penetrates deep into skin layers
  • Totals 5% of the sun’s rays
  • Are 20 times more abundant than UVB rays
UVB rays:
  • Do not pass through window glass
  • Cause the skin to burn and tan
  • Are responsible for normal vitamin D production
  • Vary in intensity with the weather conditions, altitude, season and time of day
  • Totals 0.5% of the sun’s rays
Truth, Pseudo-Truth, and Lies

So let’s take a good look at what is truth, what is pseudo-truth, and what is a flat out lie.

Truth: There has been an increase in skin cancer rates in the United States, as reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Question: Why would there be an increase of skin cancer despite our use of sunscreen?

Pseudo-truth: While most sunscreens advertise that they protect against UVB rays, they actually do little to protect from UVA rays. There are, however, sunscreens that do protect against UVA rays, such as zinc oxide, titanium dioxide as well as products that contain mexoryl.

Flat out lie: So instead of asking the question as to why skin cancer is on the increase, we continue to slap on the sunscreen or worse, stay out of the sun altogether. But is it the sun that is really so dangerous or is there another cause that is conveniently overlooked?

The answer is surprising, and it comes straight from the FDA as well as The American Skin Cancer foundation (believe it or not).

In one word: photosensitivity

The Truth About Sunscreens

A report from the FDA states the following:

The FDA reports that the following list of substances cause photosensitivity or have photo-reactive agents in them, and that chronic Sun exposure while using these chemicals can cause Skin Cancer:

  • Medications
  • Food additives
  • Deodorants
  • Antibacterial soaps
  • Petroleum products (including Vaseline)
  • Antihistamines
  • Cold and allergy medicines
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) (including aspirin (Amigesic), ibuprofen (Motrin), Aleve (naproxen sodium), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), etodolac (Lodine))
  • Antibiotics (including the tetracyclines and sulfonamides)
  • Sunscreens (containing bergamot oil, sandalwood oil, benzophenones, PABA, cinnamates, salicylates, anthranilates, PSBA, mexenone, and oxybenzone)

Know anybody that uses any of these products? You perhaps? Can we really say that only the sun that causes skin cancer?

Isn’t it interesting there are no warning labels on any of these products? Especially sunscreens?!Makes you wonder doesn’t it? But wait… it gets better.

The FDA states, in the same report, that chronic exposure to photo-reactive chemicals (like those listed above) can cause:

  • Premature skin aging: Due to the sun…. or chemicals?
  • Stronger allergic reactions: Why are human beings seemingly allergic to Earth?
  • Cataracts: Visual disorders?
  • Blood vessel damage:  Cardiovascular Disorders?
  • Weakened immune system: Autoimmune Disorders?
  • Skin cancer: Is this really a surprise?

You don’t have to be a scientist to put some logic to the test here: Sunscreens cause photosensitivity, and those with photosensitivity are more likely to develop cancer than those with “normal”skin.

Referring to the FDA’s report on the substances that cause photosensitivity, an article in Science Daily ‘Medications May Increase Sensitivity to Sunlight reported:

“Though these drugs do not directly increase the risk of skin cancer, serious sunburns, particularly in children, have been associated with an increased incidence of skin cancers later in life

If you take another look at that list, we are talking about a lot more than just drugs! Food additives, deodorants and soaps all appear on that list.

It amazes me that we continue to be told that the solution to this problem is to simply put on sunscreen! But wait, oops… sunscreen is on that list too!

Why aren’t there warning labels on the sunscreen informing us that it can cause photosensitivity and cancer? Sounds a little counter-productive to me.

Sun Exposure

Flat out lie: Those who spend more time in the sun are more likely to get skin cancer. Thus, the reason it is so important to cover up and stay out of the sun as much as possible.

A must read is the latest report out of the United Kingdom, “Sunlight Robbery”. An excerpt states the following [I have bolded areas for emphasis]:

“…there are real doubts about the way in which sun exposure causes melanoma. Adults who work outdoors and children who play outdoors are regularly exposed to the sun and are less likely to develop melanoma than those who work or play more indoors. While people who have irregular exposure to the sun and those who recall being sunburnt have a higher risk of melanoma, especially if they have a fair skin type. Occasional exposure of skin to sunlight appears to carry the greatest risk of melanoma, while regular exposure of skin to sunlight appears to protect against melanoma, probably because it provides higher levels of vitamin D which are protective against cancer in general.”

Of course, sunscreen does a great job of protecting us from UVB rays, but there is a problem. It’s the UVB rays that our body needs for vitamin D production. And if Vitamin D is protective against cancer… well…

So What Are We To Do?

Firstly, use natural alternatives of the products listed in the FDA report.

Sure, there are some substances in nature that cause photosensitivity as well. But if the only interest of the FDA, and other groups such as The American Skin Cancer Foundation, is to protect the general public, then why aren’t  they looking at the chemical ingredients that are in the products which are known to cause photosensitivity? Why isn’t more interest being given to alternative treatments that could prevent these photosensitive reactions from medications? Not to mention all the other side-effects?

Instead, mainstream science stands steadfast in its ideology against alternative treatments. Puzzling, isn’t it?

Recommended Articles by Dr. Michelle Kmiec
About the Author

Dr. Michelle Kmiec is a board-certified chiropractic physician who also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology, and a minor in Medical Research. She is a life-long athlete who after curing herself 100% naturally from MS and chronic anxiety, became an avid nutrition health researcher/promoter.

She has been featured in many Health magazines and has been a guest on radio talk shows in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia. She is the author of the book “Healthcare Freedom Revolution: Exposing the Lies, Deceit and Greed of the Medical Profession”, Founder of Online Holistic Health, and a contributing writer for other popular informative health website/blogs. She is also co-founder of Crazy Meets Common Sense! – the Podcast that makes sense out of the crazy, to help you live a more healthy, fulfilling and empowering life!

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Study: Organic Diet “Significantly Reduces” Urinary Pesticide Levels In Children & Adults



Photo of organic apples on branch
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

What Happened:  A 2019 study published in the journal Environmental Research titled, “Organic diet intervention significantly reduces urinary pesticide levels in U.S. children and adults” highlighted that diet is the primary source of pesticide exposure in both children and adults in the United States. It found that an organic diet significantly reduced neonicotinoid, OP pyrethroid, 2,4-D exposure, with the greatest reduction observed in malathion, clothianidin, and chlorpyrifos.

The researchers noted that all of us are exposed “to a cocktail of toxic synthetic pesticides linked to a range of health problems from our daily diets.” They explain how “certified organic food is produced without these pesticides,” and ask the question, “Can eating organic really reduce levels of pesticides in our bodies?” They tested four American families that don’t typically eat organic food to find out. All pesticides detected in the body dropped an average of 60.5% after just six days on an organic diet.

First, we tested the levels of pesticides in their bodies on a non-organic diet for six days. We found 14 chemicals representing potential exposure to 40 different pesticides in every study participant. These included organophosphates, pyrethroids, neonicotinoids and the phenoxy herbicide 2,4-D. Some of the pesticides we found are linked to increased risk of cancer, infertility, learning disabilities, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and more. (source)

The most significant drops occurred in a class of nerve agent pesticides called organo-phosphates. This class includes chlorpyrifos, a highly toxic pesticide linked to increased rates of autism, learning disabilities and reduced IQ in children. Organophosphates are so harmful to children’s developing brains that scientists have called for a full ban. (source)

A lot of the food we now spray on our food were initially developed as nerve gases for chemical warfare:

To understand this controversial issue it is helpful to look at the history of pesticide use. Prior to World War II, the pesticides that we use now did not yet exist. Some pesticides currently in use were in fact developed during World War II for use in warfare. The organophosphate insecticides were developed as nerve gases, and the phenoxy herbicides, including 2,4-D (the most commonly used herbicide in Canada), were created to eradicate the Japanese rice crop, and later used as a component of Agent Orange to defoliate large areas in jungle warfare. After World War II, these chemicals began to be used as pesticides in agricultural production, for environmental spraying of neighbourhoods, for mosquito eradication, and for individual home and garden use. –  Ontario College of Family Physicians

It’s also noteworthy to mention that A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition carried out a meta-analysis based on 343 peer-reviewed publications that indicate “statistically significant and meaningful differences in composition between organic and non-organic crops/crop based foods.” The study found that

The study found that Phenolic acids are 19% higher in organic foods,  Flavanones are 69% higher in organic foods (linked to reduced risk of several age-related chronic diseases), Stilbenes are 28% higher in organic foods, Flavones are 26% higher in organic foods, Flavonol is 50% higher in organic foods and Anthocyanins are 51% higher in organic foods.

Apart from nutritional content, the study also measured for concentrations of the toxic metal Cadmium (Cd), finding that in conventional foods, “significantly higher concentrations” were found. Conventional foods appear to have nearly 50% more of this heavy metal than organic foods. Furthermore, significant differences were also detected for other minerals and vitamins.

When it comes to pesticide residues on non-organic foods, the authors found that the volume of pesticide residues was four times higher in conventional crops.

Another study conducted by researchers from RMIT university nearly 5 years ago published in the journal Environmental Research found that eating an organic diet for just one week significantly reduced pesticide exposure in adults by up to 90%.

Photo of alkaline rich foods
How does the Alkaline Diet Affect Gut Health? Click here to read the article.
The Takeaway

At the end of the day, people are and have been voting with their dollar. More grocery stores and brands are offering organic options, and the industry is starting to recognize that it’s in demand. Furthermore, more people are growing whatever food they can. At the end of the day, sprayed food not only has implications for human health, but it’s detrimental to the environment as well. This is a big problem on planet Earth, we are constantly told that GMO food and the spraying of crops is the only way to combat world hunger and changes in climate, but this sentiment goes against a plethora of information showing that local organic farming/agriculture is the most sustainable.

This article (Study: Organic Diet “Significantly Reduces” Urinary Pesticide Levels In Children & Adults) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Grounding The Insights: Astrology Forecast February 21st – 28th, 2021



Astrology forecast February 21st – 28th, 2021
Photo Credit: Pexels

Lorna BevanContributing Writer

The battle between the outworn Old and the incoming New catalysed by the first of three Saturn /Uranus Squares is going to fuel an engine of revolution right through the rest of 2021. As predicted in my “Survive and Thrive Guide to 2021“, we’ve just witnessed it playing out over access to the internet in the sudden withdrawal of Facebook from Australia.

The week ahead opens with a G1 Geomagnetic storm recalibrating the Frequency Fields just as Mercury stations to turn direct at 11 Aquarius between Saturn and Jupiter. Weigh up your options but allow a few days for the Trickster storm to settle before committing to anything important.

As Venus merges with Pallas-archetype of strategic wisdom- before entering Pisces on the 25th, mend fences and smooth over disagreements in the build up to Saturday’s Virgo Full Moon. After the inner polarities and distortions of Saturn square Uranus last week, this influx of Earth energy will bring a welcome restoration of balance, stability and grounding. Seize the opportunity to catch up with yourself physically, emotionally and energetically after February’s Aquarian overload of white noise. You may be surprised to discover the new downloads you absorbed whilst you were flat-lining.

This is all the more important since March is a set to be a pivotal month in a pivotal year. If you’ve been waiting/yearning for a signpost out of the old world/ Wasteland, in March the first Aries Equinox of the new 20 years cycle of Saturn/Jupiter in Aquarius maps out new realities along with entirely new Agenda: Collective Recovery Beyond the Hero/Heroine’s Journey.

The Chandra Symbol for the Sun at the Virgo Full Moon PISCES 10
The Chandra Symbol for the Sun at the Virgo Full Moon PISCES 10:
The Chandra Symbol for the Sun at the Virgo Full Moon PISCES 10
An old witch on a windy promontory. She is calling to the sea.

“Wildly tuned in. Staggeringly aware of the overall situation and its call, you respond deeply and with earnest, plaintive engagement with all that is happening. You are profoundly emotional, physical, and personal in order to ground and focus a vaster attunement, urgently and critically mobilised at hot spots. Assigned to make sure all the cosmic bases are covered–inner-planes activity predominates. You live within vast worlds and are psychically charged with all that is being taken in, but your central focus is to respond, to report, to send the inner messages, to keep the lines open. Emergency and crisis sensibility inside of things, searching for signs, and knowing how to be there on the spot to turn things around by inward force of the magical will.”

Aries Weekly Forecast: February 21-28, 2021

If you were born between 15-21 April, Pluto the God of reinvention is changing your career or public status from the ground up. You could be stepping into your own power or be confronting someone who is trying to micromanage you or even block you at every turn. No matter how it plays out, remind yourself that you are in control of your choices and this is a rare window of opportunity to strike out on your own. You are not alone and support from others is going to be extra important so polish up your teamwork skills. At the end of the week, with a Full Moon in your 6th House of health, put your physical and emotional wellbeing at the top of your agenda

Chill out, not burn out.

Taurus Weekly Forecast: February 21-28, 2021

No matter your circumstances, you of all the signs are being given 20/20 vision and strategic wisdom courtesy of Pallas at the pinnacle of your chart with Saturn and Jupiter. While most other people are still focused on the day to day, you get a panoramic view of what’s up ahead. Don’t ignore your intuition as your guidance is going to be invaluable for others as the year unfolds. This week as your ruler Venus enters Pisces, reconnect with your tribes, your networks and your friends-there is going to be much to share after Saturday’s Virgo Full Moon is electrified by Awakener Uranus in your sign. Time to step up as a practical visionary.

Capture every insight, inkling and intuition before it disappears into the Cloud.

Gemini Weekly Forecast: February 21-28, 2021

After weeks of feeling out of your element, you’ll start to feel at home in your own skin again as the Sun and Venus join Neptune in your 10th House. Your focus shifts to your career, service, business or voluntary activities as momentum returns, nudging you to start looking forward instead of back and to shake the cobwebs off plans and projects you’d shelved last year.  Don’t be too quick to leap ahead as Saturday‘s Full Moon at the roots of your chart in Virgo reminds you that home and tribe are the sanctuary you need as you step back out into the world. The stronger your sense of belonging, the stronger your inner ground of being.

As Within, so Without.

Cancer Weekly Forecast: February 21-28, 2021

Now both Venus and the Sum enter fellow Water sign Pisces to join Neptune, your thoughts shift towards the future, towards finding new ways to broaden your mental and physical horizons. Other people will be playing a bigger role in this and surprising benefits could come from engaging more actively with work colleagues. With Mars in Taurus until early March, tread carefully and listen more than you speak. Become the team arbiter not the troublemaker. The Virgo Full Moon on February 28th is perfect for reconnecting with old friends and family members and strengthening the ties that bind, even if it is at a distance.

Diplomacy works better than confrontation.

Leo Weekly Forecast: February 21-28, 2021

As the Sun and Venus leave your 7th House of relationships for another year, think about what the last month has shown you about your communication style. Have you strengthened close partnerships and re-affirmed important contracts or have you been overly focused on your detractors and critics? Warrior Mars has been at the top of your chart but hopefully you haven’t driven your chariot roughshod over others’ opinions. On February 28th at the Full Moon in practical Virgo, your finances and resources are in the frame. You may discover a creative way to save or an insurance policy you’d forgotten about. More likely, you’ll be focused on increasing your income, asking for what you’re worth and putting an end to under-earning.

Others will take you at your own value.

Virgo Weekly Forecast: February 21-28, 2021

Finally, Venus and the Sun return to your opposite sign of Pisces and you start to feel at home in your own skin again. Relationships of all kinds-personal and professional-will flow more easily and problems can be smoothed through diplomacy. This week is perfect for boosting one special partnership-even better than Valentine’s Day. On February 27th the annual Full Moon in Virgo could become a love fest as you are shown just how much others appreciate and support you. Take some well -deserved time out after all the hard work and self-discipline of the last few months.

Slow down and smell the roses.

Libra Weekly Forecast: February 21-28, 2021

In the last three weeks all the planets clustered in fellow air sign Aquarius have given you a burst of creativity, self-expression and enjoyment. Hopefully, you managed to capture all those innovative ideas before they disappeared into the ethers as, this week, it’s back to earth with a bump. Both the Sun and Venus enter Pisces your 6th House of day -to- day work, service and routines, so it’s time for a reality check. Start to think about how you can ground some of your recent bluesky ideas into your business, your practice or your work, auditing all your extensive resources of time, skills, experience and mindset into new income streams to add value to other people. Saturday’s Full Moon in the engine room of your chart is perfect for dreaming up a new blueprint.

Incubating a different future.

Scorpio Weekly Forecast: February 21-28, 2021

It’s been a stressful time for you recently and you need a release of pressure. Happily, both Venus and the Sun have now moved away from the sensitive roots of your chart into fellow Water sign Pisces. As this is your 5th house of pleasure and creativity, don’t miss this rare opportunity to relax, play and chill out. Let go of your tight grip on the reins, it will still all be there when you come back refreshed emotionally and physically. On February 27th, a lovely Full Moon in grounded Virgo lights up friendships, networks, groups and tribes. You might decide to join a new project or to resign from a club or a political party.

Find a new outlet for your talents.

Sagittarius Weekly Forecast: February 21-28, 2021

As a Sagittarian, you’ll feel a distinct shift in energy this week as both the Sun and Venus activate your 4th House of home and family right on time for a spring clean and de-clutter and all the better to appreciate how important your sanctuary and tribe are to you. If you feel the urge to update or redecorate your surroundings, look for soothing colours to encourage you to relax. Saturday’s Full Moon brings your attention back to your career and the need to create a supportive home base with strong foundations to give you the motivation to follow your calling. It’s a reminder to look around you at your family, tribe and friends and value what you’ve got.

Home really is where your heart is.

Capricorn Weekly Forecast: February 21-28, 2021

Your finances are forefront and centre stage as Mercury turns forward again on Sunday February 21st. Information you need to help you make an important decision is on its way. When it arrives-either through word of mouth or through your intuition, act on it straightaway. Your 2nd House is all about your earned income so now’s the time to consider new ways of using your skills and experience. There are so many ways of setting up side hustles without walking away from what you’re doing now. The Virgo Full Moon on February 27th is nudging you to get your ideas out there any way you can.

Finding a platform that works for you.

Aquarius Weekly Forecast: February 21-28, 2021

For you as an Aquarian, February has been a month of insights, inspirations and fresh ideas. Hopefully, you captured as many as possible before they disappeared back into the ethers because they are going to be the fuel for your reinvention for the rest of the year and beyond. This week, as the Sun and Venus move into Pisces, your focus switches to your finances and your resources. Are you maximising all possible income streams or undercharging and under-earning? What experience, skills and knowledge do you have that you are missing a chance to leverage? The Virgo Full Moon on the 27th is the time to drop your reluctance to shine.

Identifying as a practical visionary.

Pisces Weekly Forecast: February 21-28, 2021

Welcome back to reality, Pisces, as the Sun and Venus leave your otherworldly 12th House and return to light up your sign. No matter your birth date, this is your personal New Year and well worth celebrating. Venus in Pisces is all about taking your wellbeing and your self-care to another level entirely. Not out of narcissism or selfishness but out of appreciation for everything your mind, body and soul has endured in the last year. On Saturday 27th, the beautiful Full Moon in Virgo, your opposite sign, delivers a reminder of loved and supported you really are. All the love you’ve given is being reciprocated in spades.

Ask yourself: What’s one change I could make right now that would give me more peace?

Originally published at and reproduced here with permission.

Some Further Reading, If You’re Curious…
About Lorna Bevan M.A., MAPAI

Variously described as a visioneer, a creative disruptor, a life guide and a change maker, my passion is to blend the tools of Visionary Astrology and Transformational Coaching to help you to connect with your inner world so that you can transform your outer world. Through my practice, Hare In the Moon, I combine the ancient art of astrology with the modern art of personal coaching to offer clients all over the world a unique mix consultations and coaching services. I work with clients around the world by phone and email, tailoring my Astrology Coaching to each unique individual or business I work with.

I’m a qualified Psychological Astrologer, Jungian Psychotherapist and Master NLP Coach, and I’m currently taking a Master’s Degree in Analytical Astrology. I’ve had a varied career as a Modern Languages Teacher, a Management Development Consultant, a Counselling Clinician at Personal Performance Consulting Worldwide, a Personal and Career Coach and Psychotherapist, and former Consultant Astrologer for The Sunday Times Magazine.

You can learn more about my work or contact me at:

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Artificial Sweetener Used In More Than 6,000 Products Linked To Host Of Serious Health Problems



Woman putting artificial in coffee
Photo Credit:

Stacy Malkan, Children’s Health Defense

Key Facts About Diet Soda Chemical
  • Dozens of studies have linked aspartame — the world’s most widely used artificial sweetener — to serious health problems, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, seizures, stroke and dementia, as well as negative effects such as intestinal dysbiosis, mood disorders, headaches and migraines.
  • Evidence also links aspartame to weight gain, increased appetite and obesity-related diseases. See our fact sheet: Diet Soda Chemical Tied to Weight Gain.
  • Evidence linking aspartame to weight gain raises questions about the legality of marketing aspartame-containing products as “diet” drinks or weight loss products. In April 2015, U.S. Right to Know petitioned the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S.Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate the marketing and advertising practices of “diet” products that contain aspartame. See FTC response and FDA response.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said aspartame is “safe for the general population under certain conditions.” The agency first approved aspartame for some uses in 1981. Many scientists, then and now, have said the approval was based on suspect data and should be reconsidered.
What is Aspartame?
  • Aspartame is the world’s most widely used artificial sweetener. It is also marketed as NutraSweet, Equal, Sugar Twin and AminoSweet.
  • Aspartame is present in more than 6,000 products, including Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi, Kool Aid, Crystal Light, Tango and other artificially sweetened drinks; sugar-free Jell-O products; Trident, Dentyne and most other brands of sugar-free gum; sugar-free hard candies; low- or no-sugar sweet condiments such as ketchups and dressings; children’s medicines, vitamins and cough drops.
  • Aspartame is a synthetic chemical composed of the amino acids phenylalanine and aspartic acid, with a methyl ester. When consumed, the methyl ester breaks down into methanol, which may be converted into formaldehyde.
Decades of Studies Raise Concerns about Aspartame

Since aspartame was first approved in 1974, both FDA scientists and independent scientists have raised concerns about possible health effects and shortcomings in the science submitted to the FDA by the manufacturer, G.D. Searle. (Monsanto bought Searle in 1984).

In 1987, UPI published a series of investigative articles by Gregory Gordon reporting on these concerns, including early studies linking aspartame to health problems, the poor quality of industry-funded research that led to its approval, and the revolving-door relationships between FDA officials and the food industry. Gordon’s series is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to understand the history of aspartame/NutraSweet:

Flaws in European Food Safety Authority assessment

In a July 2019 paper in the Archives of Public Health, researchers at the University of Sussex provided a detailed analysis of the EFSA’s 2013 safety assessment of aspartame and found that the panel discounted as unreliable every one of 73 studies that indicated harm, and used far more lax criteria to accept as reliable 84% of studies that found no evidence of harm. “Given the shortcomings of EFSA’s risk assessment of aspartame, and the shortcomings of all previous official toxicological risk assessments of aspartame, it would be premature to conclude that it is acceptably safe,” the study concluded.

See EFSA’s response and a follow up by researchers Erik Paul Millstone and Elizabeth Dawson in the Archives of Public Health, Why did EFSA reduce its ADI for aspartame or recommend its use should no longer be permitted? News coverage:

  • “World’s most popular artificial sweetener must be banned, say experts. Two food safety experts have called for the widely used artificial sweetener, aspartame, to be banned in the UK and questions why it was deemed acceptable in the first place.” New Food Magazine (11.11.2020)
  • “‘Sales of aspartame should be suspended’: EFSA accused of bias in safety assessment,” by Katy Askew. Food Navigator (7.27.2019)
Health Effects and Key Studies on Aspartame 

While many studies, some of them industry sponsored, have reported no problems with aspartame, dozens of independent studies conducted over decades have linked aspartame to a long list of health problems, including:


In the most comprehensive cancer research to date on aspartame, three lifespan studies conducted by the Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center of the Ramazzini Institute, provide consistent evidence of carcinogenicity in rodents exposed to the substance.

  • Aspartame “is a multipotential carcinogenic agent, even at a daily dose of … much less than the current acceptable daily intake,” according to a 2006 lifespan rat study in Environmental Health Perspectives.
  • A follow-up study in 2007 found significant dose-related increases in malignant tumours in some of the rats. “The results … confirm and reinforce the first experimental demonstration of [aspartame’s] multipotential carcinogenicity at a dose level close to the acceptable daily intake for humans … when life-span exposure begins during fetal life, its carcinogenic effects are increased,” the researchers wrote in Environmental Health Perspectives.
  • The results of a 2010 lifespan study “confirm that [aspartame] is a carcinogenic agent in multiple sites in rodents, and that this effect is induced in two species, rats (males and females) and mice (males),” the researchers reported in American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

Harvard researchers in 2012 reported a positive association between aspartame intake and increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma in men, and for leukemia in men and women. The findings “preserve the possibility of a detrimental effect … on select cancers” but “do not permit the ruling out of chance as an explanation,” the researchers wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In a 2014 commentary in American Journal of Industrial Medicine, the Maltoni Center researchers wrote that the studies submitted by G. D. Searle for market approval “do not provide adequate scientific support for [aspartame’s] safety. In contrast, recent results of life-span carcinogenicity bioassays on rats and mice published in peer-reviewed journals, and a prospective epidemiological study, provide consistent evidence of [aspartame’s] carcinogenic potential. On the basis of the evidence of the potential carcinogenic effects … a re-evaluation of the current position of international regulatory agencies must be considered an urgent matter of public health.”

Brain Tumours 

In 1996, researchers reported in the Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology on epidemiological evidence connecting the introduction of aspartame to an increase in an aggressive type of malignant brain tumours. “Compared to other environmental factors putatively linked to brain tumours, the artificial sweetener aspartame is a promising candidate to explain the recent increase in incidence and degree of malignancy of brain tumours … We conclude that there is need for reassessing the carcinogenic potential of aspartame.”

  • Neuroscientist Dr. John Olney, lead author of the study, told 60 minutes in 1996: “there has been a striking increase in the incidence of malignant brain tumours (in the three to five years following the approval of aspartame) … there is enough basis to suspect aspartame that it needs to be reassessed. FDA needs to reassess it, and this time around, FDA should do it right.”

Early studies on aspartame in the 1970s found evidence of brain tumours in laboratory animals, but those studies were not followed up.

Cardiovascular Disease

A 2017 meta-analysis of research on artificial sweeteners, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found no clear evidence of weight loss benefits for artificial sweeteners in randomized clinical trials, and reported that cohort studies associate artificial sweeteners with “increases in weight and waist circumference, and higher incidence of obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular events.” See also:

  • “Artificial sweeteners don’t help with weight loss and may lead to gained pounds,” by Catherine Caruso. STAT (7.17.2017)
  • “Why one cardiologist has drunk his last diet soda,” by Harlan Krumholz. Wall Street Journal (9.14.2017)
  • “This cardiologist wants his family to cut back on diet soda. Should yours, too?” by David Becker, M.D. Philly Inquirer (9.12.2017)

 A 2016 paper in Physiology & Behavior reported, “there is a striking congruence between results from animal research and a number of large-scale, long-term observational studies in humans, in finding significantly increased weight gain, adiposity, incidence of obesity, cardiometabolic risk, and even total mortality among individuals with chronic, daily exposure to low-calorie sweeteners — and these results are troubling.”

Women who consumed more than two diet drinks per day “had a higher risk of [cardiovascular disease] events … [cardiovascular disease] mortality … and overall mortality,” according to a 2014 study from the Women’s Health Initiative published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Stroke, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

People drinking diet soda daily were almost three times as likely to develop stroke and dementia as those who consumed it weekly or less. This included a higher risk of ischemic stroke, where blood vessels in the brain become obstructed, and Alzheimer’s disease dementia, the most common form of dementia, reported a 2017 study in Stroke.

In the body, the methyl ester in aspartame metabolizes into methanol and then it may be converted to formaldehyde, which has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. A two-part study published in 2014 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease linked chronic methanol exposure to memory loss and Alzheimer’s Disease symptoms in mice and monkeys.

  • “[M]ethanol-fed mice presented with partial AD-like symptoms … These findings add to a growing body of evidence that links formaldehyde to [Alzheimer’s disease] pathology.” (Part 1)
  • “[M]ethanol feeding caused long-lasting and persistent pathological changes that were related to [Alzheimer’s disease] … these findings support a growing body of evidence that links methanol and its metabolite formaldehyde to [Alzheimer’s disease] pathology.” (Part 2)

Aspartame appears to exacerbate the amount of EEG spike wave in children with absence seizures. Further studies are needed to establish if this effect occurs at lower doses and in other seizure types,” according to a 1992 study in Neurology.

Aspartame “has seizure-promoting activity in animal models that are widely used to identify compounds affecting … seizure incidence,” according to a 1987 study in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Very high aspartame doses “might also affect the likelihood of seizures in symptomless but susceptible people,” according to a 1985 study in The Lancet. The study describes three previously healthy adults who had grand mal seizures during periods when they were consuming high doses of aspartame.

Neurotoxicity, Brain Damage and Mood Disorders 

Aspartame has been linked to behavioural and cognitive problems including learning problems, headache, seizure, migraines, irritable moods, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, wrote the researchers of a 2017 study in Nutritional Neuroscience. “Aspartame consumption needs to be approached with caution due to the possible effects on neurobehavioral health.”

“Oral aspartame significantly altered behavior, antioxidant status and morphology of the hippocampus in mice; also, it may probably trigger hippocampal adult neurogenesis,” reported a 2016 study in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

“Previously, it has been reported that consumption of aspartame could cause neurological and behavioural disturbances in sensitive individuals. Headaches, insomnia and seizures are also some of the neurological effects that have been encountered,” according to a 2008 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“We propose that excessive aspartame ingestion might be involved in the pathogenesis of certain mental disorders … and also in compromised learning and emotional functioning.”

“Neurological symptoms, including learning and memory processes, may be related to the high or toxic concentrations of the sweetener [aspartame] metabolites,” states a 2006 study in Pharmacological Research.

Aspartame “could impair memory retention and damage hypothalamic neurons in adult mice,” according to a 2000 mice study published in Toxicology Letters.

Individuals with mood disorders are particularly sensitive to this artificial sweetener and its use in this population should be discouraged,” according to a 1993 study in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry.

High doses of aspartame “can generate major neurochemical changes in rats,” reported a 1984 study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Experiments indicated brain damage in infant mice following oral intake of aspartate, and showing that “aspartate [is] toxic to the infant mouse at relatively low levels of oral intake,” reported a 1970 study in Nature.

Headaches and Migraines

Aspartame, a popular dietetic sweetener, may provoke headache in some susceptible individuals. Herein, we describe three cases of young women with migraine who reported their headaches could be provoked by chewing sugarless gum containing aspartame,” according to a 1997 paper in Headache Journal.

A crossover trial comparing aspartame and a placebo published in 1994 in Neurology, “provides evidence that, among individuals with self-reported headaches after ingestion of aspartame, a subset of this group report more headaches when tested under controlled conditions. It appears that some people are particularly susceptible to headaches caused by aspartame and may want to limit their consumption.”

A survey of 171 patients at the Montefiore Medical Center Headache Unit found that patients with migraine “reported aspartame as a precipitant three times more often than those having other types of headache … We conclude aspartame may be an important dietary trigger of headache in some people,” 1989 study in Headache Journal.

A crossover trial comparing aspartame and a placebo on the frequency and intensity of migraines “indicated that the ingestion of aspartame by migraineurs caused a significant increase in headache frequency for some subjects,” reported a 1988 study in Headache Journal.

Kidney Function Decline

Consumption of more than two servings a day of artificially sweetened soda “is associated with a 2-fold increased odds for kidney function decline in women,” according to a 2011 study in the Clinical Journal of American Society of Nephrology.

Weight Gain, Increased Appetite and Obesity Related Problems

Several studies link aspartame to weight gain, increased appetite, diabetes, metabolic derangement and obesity-related diseases. See our fact sheet: Diet Soda Chemical Tied to Weight Gain.

This science linking aspartame to weight gain and obesity-related diseases raises questions about the legality of marketing aspartame-containing products as “diet” or weight loss aids. In 2015, USRTK petitioned the Federal Trade Commission and FDA to investigate the marketing and advertising practices of “diet” products that contain a chemical linked to weight gain.

See related news coverage, response from FTC, and response from FDA.

Diabetes and Metabolic Derangement 

Aspartame breaks down in part into phenylalanine, which interferes with the action of an enzyme intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP) previously shown to prevent metabolic syndrome (a group of symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease) according to a 2017 study in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. In this study, mice receiving aspartame in their drinking water gained more weight and developed other symptoms of metabolic syndrome than animals fed similar diets lacking aspartame. The study concludes, “IAP’s protective effects in regard to the metabolic syndrome may be inhibited by phenylalanine, a metabolite of aspartame, perhaps explaining the lack of expected weight loss and metabolic improvements associated with diet drinks.”

People who regularly consume artificial sweeteners are at increased risk of “excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease,” according to a 2013 Purdue review over 40 years published in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism.

In a study that followed 66,118 women over 14 years, both sugar-sweetened beverages and artificially sweetened beverages were associated with risk of Type 2 diabetes. “Strong positive trends in T2D risk were also observed across quartiles of consumption for both types of beverage … No association was observed for 100% fruit juice consumption,” reported the 2013 study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Intestinal Dysbiosis, Metabolic Derangement and Obesity 

Artificial sweeteners can induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota, according to a 2014 study in Nature. The researchers wrote, “our results link NAS [non-caloric artificial sweetener] consumption, dysbiosis and metabolic abnormalities, thereby calling for a reassessment of massive NAS usage … Our findings suggest that NAS may have directly contributed to enhancing the exact epidemic [obesity] that they themselves were intended to fight.”

A 2016 study in Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism reported, “Aspartame intake significantly influenced the association between body mass index (BMI) and glucose tolerance… consumption of aspartame is associated with greater obesity-related impairments in glucose tolerance.”

According to a 2014 rat study in PLOS ONE, “aspartame elevated fasting glucose levels and an insulin tolerance test showed aspartame to impair insulin-stimulated glucose disposal … Fecal analysis of gut bacterial composition showed aspartame to increase total bacteria…”

Pregnancy Abnormalities: Preterm Birth 

According to a 2010 cohort study of 59,334 Danish pregnant women published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “There was an association between intake of artificially sweetened carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks and an increased risk of preterm delivery.” The study concluded, “Daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks may increase the risk of preterm delivery.”

  • See also: “Downing Diet Soda Tied to Premature Birth,” by Anne Harding, Reuters (7.23.2010)
Overweight Babies

Artificially sweetened beverage consumption during pregnancy is linked to higher body mass index for babies, according to a 2016 study in JAMA Pediatrics. “To our knowledge, we provide the first human evidence that maternal consumption of artificial sweeteners during pregnancy may influence infant BMI,” the researchers wrote.

Early Menarche 

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study followed 1988 girls for 10 years to examine prospective associations between consumption of caffeinated and non-caffeinated sugar- and artificially sweetened soft drinks and early menarche. “Consumption of caffeinated and artificially sweetened soft drinks was positively associated with risk of early menarche in a US cohort of African American and Caucasian girls,” concluded the study published in 2015 in Journal of American Clinical Nutrition.

Sperm Damage

A significant decrease in sperm function of aspartame treated animals was observed when compared with the control and MTX control,” according to a 2017 study in the International Journal of Impotence Research. “… These findings demonstrate that aspartame metabolites could be a contributing factor for development of oxidative stress in the epididymal sperm.”

Liver Damage and Glutathione Depletion 

A mouse study published in 2017 in Redox Biology reported, “Chronic administration of aspartame … caused liver injury as well as marked decreased hepatic levels of reduced glutathione, oxidized glutathione, γ-glutamylcysteine, and most metabolites of the trans-sulphuration pathway…”

A rat study published in 2017 in Nutrition Research found that, “Subchronic intake of soft drink or aspartame substantially induced hyperglycemia and hypertriacylglycerolemia… Several cytoarchitecture alterations were detected in the liver, including degeneration, infiltration, necrosis, and fibrosis, predominantly with aspartame. These data suggest that long-term intake of soft drink or aspartame-induced hepatic damage may be mediated by the induction of hyperglycemia, lipid accumulation, and oxidative stress with the involvement of adipocytokines.”

Caution for Vulnerable Populations 

A 2016 literature review on artificial sweeteners in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology reported, “there is inconclusive evidence to support most of their uses and some recent studies even hint that these earlier established benefits … might not be true.” Susceptible populations such as pregnant and lactating women, children, diabetics, migraine, and epilepsy patients “should use these products with utmost caution.”

Industry PR Efforts and Front Groups 

From the start, G.D. Searle (later Monsanto and the NutraSweet Company) deployed aggressive PR tactics to market aspartame as a safe product. In October 1987, Gregory Gordon reported in UPI:

“The NutraSweet Co. also has paid up to $3 million a year for a 100-person public relations effort by the Chicago offices of Burson Marsteller, a former employee of the New York PR firm said. The employee said Burson Marsteller has hired numerous scientists and physicians, often at $1,000 a day, to defend the sweetener in media interviews and other public forums. Burson Marsteller declines to discuss such matters.”

Recent reporting based on internal industry documents reveals how beverage companies such as Coca-Cola also pay third party messengers, including doctors and scientists, to promote their products and shift the blame when science ties their products to serious health problems.

See reporting by Anahad O’Connor in the New York Times, Candice Choi in the Associated Press, and findings from the USRTK investigation about sugar industry propaganda and lobbying campaigns.

News articles about soda industry PR campaigns:
Overview news stories about aspartame:
USRTK Fact Sheets:
Reports on Front Groups and PR Campaigns

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Collective Spark or its staff.

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