Have you ever wondered about the health of the pilot that’s flying the plane you’re on? Flight safety considers the effects on pilots from ingesting diet sodas, gums and other diet foods. (see Part 2 Pilot Error, Part 3 Aircraft Accidents of 2015 and the Epilogue)
I’m talking specifically about aspartame which seems to be the artificial sweetener of choice, despite the fact that it was passed by the FDA under a cloud of fraud, misdemeanour and deception in the days when Donald Rumsfeld was CEO of the then owner of aspartame G D Searle.
Adverse reactions due to aspartame
My last few previous articles, cover this fraudulent fiasco but believe you me, aspartame was passed by the FDA despite horrendous research that proves this toxic molecule causes brain tumours and other cancers. This is apart from neurological problems such as MS (multiple sclerosis) and Parkinson’s, seizures and migraines. More than 80% of the adverse reactions reported to the FDA are due to aspartame with 92 different side effects reported.
A fairy story about research
Representatives of aspartame, sold under various names such as nutrasweet, equal, canderel, neotame etc., will give you all kinds of fairy stories about how the product has been researched more than any other. The truth is, the research has been done but the results have been manipulated and massaged out of all recognition. The FDA chose to ignore research and studies done by independent researchers that had no ties to the manufacturers of aspartame. Instead they went along with the fraud, aiding and abetting the likes of Searle and Monsanto.
Mary Nash Stoddard
In 1985, Mary Nash Stoddard, an internationally acclaimed investigative journalist, had been diagnosed with a leukemia type condition, known as Eosinophilia Myalgia Syndrome. This was soon after her husband died at the age of 42 with a brain tumour. Her doctor put her illness down to aspartame. This was upsetting to Mary as she wondered if her husband, who used aspartame, contracted his tumour because of it. She started researching and learning about the chemical threesome and became such an expert that she is called upon to give evidence in court cases involving it.
Aspartame (NutraSweet/Equal/Neotame) is a safety-of-flight threat!
After the FDA passed the use of aspartame in 1983 for carbonated drinks, there seemed to be an emerging problem with pilots suffering from various conditions including migraines, seizures, tremours, sight problems and other neurological episodes. Ingesting aspartame laced products such as chewing gum, diet cokes and sodas, hot chocolate drinks etc., seemed to be the trigger. It’s common knowledge that pilots and flight attendants do drink a lot of diet sodas, chew gum and ingest other fast diet foods before and on their flights. Their job has a somewhat ‘celebrity status’ and thus looking good and keeping slim is important to most of them. The problem is, this profession directly relates to public safety and if aspartame threatens that safety, it should be avoided at all costs.
F16 Air Force Major Michael Collins
Mary was asked to set up a hot line by ace F-16 pilot Air Force Major Michael Collins who himself had suffered from symptoms of dizziness and tremours. He was asked to fly with the famous Thunderbirds but rejected the offer because flying wingtip to wingtip, he was afraid his symptoms could cause an accident. He didn’t want to disclose his problems for fear of losing his licence to fly. But in 1985, he had a grand mal seizure. Suffice to say, he lost his licence and his career as a pilot came to an end.
Pilots need help
He said that pilots needed to talk to someone in confidence, who knew about their problems and give advice in confidence. Apart from the pilots, many wives and families of pilots needed help and advice to support their loved one experiencing problems whilst flying. Understandably most pilots did not want to discuss their medical problems. Assessments are necessarily strict for a pilot to retain his medical credentials for flying.
Many articles were written about the dangers of aspartame and the susceptibility of pilots to seizures, vertigo and hypoxia. Flying Safely, the Air Force’s magazine and Navy Physiology, a Navy magazine published such articles. Other warnings were expressed about aspartame dangers in aviation publications such as, Aviation Medical Bulletin, General Aviation News, Plane & Pilot, Canadian General Aviation News. A paper was presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the Aerospace Medical Assn. warning about aspartame. But that was in 1986! What’s happening now? Aspartame hasn’t changed, it’s still as toxic as it was then, so why aren’t pilots still being warned about this possible threat to their livelihood, their health and, most importantly, the lives that are in their hands when they fly.
International Pilots Hotline
The International Pilots Hotline (214-387-4001) was set up for pilots in 1988 by Mary Stoddard and has been going ever since. Hundreds of pilots and/or their wives and families have reported various incidences such as grand mal seizures, serious migraines and other reactions such as tremours and dizziness, after the ingestion of aspartame.
Is methanol the problem?
Pilots may be more susceptible to problems in flight because of the ingestion of the methanol in aspartame, especially at altitude says Dr Phil Moskal, Prof of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Pathology. Also pilots do tend to drink plenty of diet coke and other sodas along with chewing gum. Most gums sold around the world have aspartame in them. Ingestion of aspartame could affect pilots at altitude causing seizures and vertigo or even hypoxia.
Pilots losing their licence
If a pilot loses his medical certification to fly because he’s had a serious condition such as a seizure, this licence will be very hard to regain and understandably so. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) will not get involved officially, although when Mary and her co-founder of the ACSN (aspartame consumer safety network), met with the FAA about setting up the hotline, they agreed it was an excellent idea, but explained that their hands were tied because of their affiliation with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) who refuses to recall aspartame, despite all the evidence that aspartame is a dangerous chemical.
There is one famous event which happened in March 2012 and was recorded by passengers’ mobile phones. An experienced Captain on a flight from New York to Las Vegas, evidently had some kind of breakdown. With an exemplary record and a much liked member of the Jet Blue team, this man suddenly had an episode, completely out of character and alien to all those who knew him. His character has now been put through the mill, despite many doctors explaining what may have actually happened to this poor man. His career as a pilot has been terminated, his character brought into question, he has been ridiculed and his life is in ruins and it could be all because of his consumption of aspartame.
Side effects of aspartame
Psychological side effects of aspartame consumption is acute depression, panic attacks, irritability, aggression, anxiety, personality changes, insomnia, phobias. Neurological side effects are epileptic seizures, severe headaches and migraines, dizziness, tremours, confusion, memory loss. To date, there are 92 side effects associated with this artificial sweetener. It is interesting to note that the above side effects are also associated with a Magnesium deficiency and consumption of aspartame is a known depleter of magnesium!
CBS news interviewed a doctor about the event, a renowned psychiatrist and he described what could have happened to this normally professional, experienced and talented pilot. Dr Jeffrey Lieberman, Chief of Psychiatry, NY-Presbyterian/Columbia explains that pilot Clayton Osbon was likely suffering from ingesting a substance that affected his brain. Have a look at this short clip from the interview by CBS.
As you heard from this clip, there have been other incidences which we will cover in part 2 of this post. Most never get as far as the media. Pilots or flight attendants who suffer a sudden episode will be loath to advertise the fact. They will keep quiet and hopefully get some help, perhaps from the pilot hotline.
ViSalus diet drinks
As for the then Captain Clayton Osbon, he was a salesman for ViSalus diet drinks which means he probably had access to plenty of them, no doubt at a reduced price or even gratis. Here is a 49 year old professional pilot who had no previous record of mental illness. According to his neighbour he was a pleasure to be with and had a happy and light-hearted disposition and loved his job. He and his wife looking after stray animals especially dogs for which they found homes. I don’t know the man but he sounds like a caring and considerate individual to me.
Dr Betty Martini & Abigail Cormack (aspartame victim)
Dr Betty Martini, another expert in the field of aspartame gave a list of the ingredients of ViSalus to Dr Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon and author of “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills” Dr Blaylock stated “The product in question contains no less than 4 excitotoxin additives as the most abundant ingredients. To be fasting and take this product could induced severe hypoglycemia in conjunction with an intense excitotoxic reaction that could possibly lead to such a psychotic reaction. Mix it with aspartame and you magnify the excitotoxic effects. He could have also been taking prescription medications that in combination could precipitate a psychotic breakdown.”
In part 2 of this post, we will hear from pilots who have suffered from the effects of aspartame and some of the airline disasters that have been documented as being from pilots or copilots purposely downing their aircraft. These are experienced pilots, acting out of character and I believe that at least some of these pilots may have been under the influence of aspartame from ingesting diet products such as diet sodas and chewing gum.
If you are a pilot, have you had any experiences or know of other pilots or crew that have had a problem whilst on board a flight? It would be great to hear from you, even if it’s anonymously.