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Pete at Home
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If NutraSweet/ aspartame (glutamine bonded to aspartic acid, iirc) is neurotoxic, then how come no one snorts it?
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LetterRip
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A is a subset of B doesn't mean B is a subset of A.

people do drugs because they generally force extra release of neurotrasmitters that feel good. Or extend their uptake/binding etc. This could result in neurotoxic effects.

However many neurotoxic effects can occur without release of pleasurable neruotransmitters. Ie poisons generally work by blocking some enzymatic pathway or blocking a receptor. Or otherwise disrupt cellular metabolism.

So pleasure inducing drugs are a subset of chemicals with a potential neurotoxic effects. However substances that induce neurotoxic effects are not a subset of pleasure inducing drugs.

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Pete at Home
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Pleasure varies from person to person. I've yet to hear of a readily available neurotoxin that *someone* did not snort, huff, etc
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OpsanusTau
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I can think of a few - e.g., I'm not aware of any recreational use of organophosphates. But maybe that's just my naivete.
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D.W.
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I can't stand the taste of the stuff. Don't even want to imagine snorting it!
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Pete at Home
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I love the taste of it and like it far more than any other sweetener, including actual sugar. Since it's comprised of exactly two common amino acids, which are broken apart in the digestive process, I cannot understand how it could be neurotoxic if eaten, although if if does mimic a neurotransmitter I would expect some folks to be snorting it.
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LetterRip
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Pete,

note that I was answering the general question about neurotoxins, not aspartame specificially.

Something that bugs be about reporting on aspartame is that many sites state 'it is completely digested to its constituents and never directly enters the blood stream'.

This is false, oral mucosas transfer many things directly to the blood stream (it might even be false for the intestine, it is not a perfect barrier). So anything with significant oral residence time will have some amount that directly enters the blood stream. Also it bypasses 'first pass' effects of the liver.

Both those effects are why some drugs are delivered via chewing gums.

Since aspartame is a quite small molecule, I'd be surprised if it doesn't readily absorb via the oral mucosa.

Also even delivery via the digestive track and broken down, doesn't guarantee safety.

Toxic effects of amino acids aren't just 'amount ingested' but how quickly absorbed, and how quickly utilized. Aspartame breaks down to its component amino acids extremely quickly so while chicken and other foods may have far more of these amino acids, the peak blood concentration could be higher from aspartame (no idea if it actually is). Another issue is amino acid balance - most transporters of various amino acids assume uptake of most amino acids at the same time - a massive change in amino acid ratios could have different effects than the same amino acid absorbed in isolate.

Another issue is that people have different enzymatic capacities. Aspartate is normally transaminated when transported through the intestinal walls - however, someone low in transaminase might not have enough to handle a slug of aspartate from aspartame intake. Thus the aspartate that would normally become alanine, could have potentially different physiological effects. (Similarly glutamate is also transiminated to alanine. Thus such a deficiency is speculated as a possible reason for MSG and aspartame sensitivities).

If you don't get headaches etc. associated with it, then I suspect it is probably safe for you, that doesn't mean that it poses no risk to others.

Regarding using it as a sugar substitute - if you are actually craving sugar it is a bad idea. The body 'wants' sugar when it is low on dopamine and needs glucose to synthesize it.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Pleasure varies from person to person. I've yet to hear of a readily available neurotoxin that *someone* did not snort, huff, etc

I think you've still got it backwards there- you've yet to here of a drug taken that way for entertainment purposes that did not also have claims of neurotoxic side-effects as well.
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Pete at Home
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Interestingly I found that some people actually do snort the stuff so my question is moot.
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Pete at Home
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LR, all the tendencies you describe would militqte for it being used as a recdrug. But apparently it is. So go figure.
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