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Aspartame & Ephedra
by Brian Benjamin Carter


I have a question: Do your practitioners screen for aspartame/ nutrasweet users? I've received huge amounts of material that implicate aspartame in many of the deaths/problems associated with ephedra.

By screening, I assume you mean: Do they ask their patients if they use aspartame. Acupuncturists' patient information forms vary. Some of them do ask about the ingestion of diet drinks.

The only info I've been able to find about the association of ephedra adverse events with aspartame is an article from the March 2003 Idaho Observer. I can't find "huge amounts of material" on this.

Aspartame, not Ephedra?

This article asserts that the causes of death and adverse events are due to aspartame, and NOT to ephedra. It does not speak about any combination use of the two.

Also, in an article like that, it would have been nice to see a reference list to make fact-checking easier. I am a bit skeptical about the credibility of this article and the magazine it's in.

Is There an Aspartame-Ephedra Interaction?

Were you thinking there was an interaction between ephedra and aspartame, and therefore we should be screening our patients to prevent that?

As I said above, there is no mention of an adverse drug-herb interaction between ephedra in aspartame, nor can I find any evidence of such an interaction elsewhere on the internet, or in the medical literature (via MEDLINE).

Practitioners Screening for Aspartame Use

Regardless, screening for aspartame use would be good- There is still controversy about aspartame- some authorities say it's safe, others say it's not, and both quote scientific evidence. Under more information below, I've included links to sites on both sides of the issue.

Since it's suspect, I avoid it. I use regular processed white sugar myself, which is not optimal, but better than the adverse effects that the opponents specify (neurological damage and death).

Of course, there are many things people ingest that are not good for them that we should screen for...

Hope that answered your question. If not, feel free to ask me another.

All the best,

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