J Toxicol Environ Health. 1981 Feb;7(2):281-90.
Blood methanol concentrations in normal adult subjects administered abuse doses of aspartame.
Stegink LD, Brummel MC, McMartin K, Martin-Amat G, Filer LJ Jr, Baker GL, Tephly TR.
Blood methanol concentrations were measured in 30 normal adult subjects administered aspartame, a dipeptide methyl ester. The doses studied included the 99th percentile of projected daily ingestion (34 mg/kg body weight) and three doses considered to be in the abuse range (100, 150, and 200 mg/kg body weight). Methanol concentrations were below the level of detection (0.4 mg/dl) in the blood of the 12 normal subjects who ingested aspartame at 34 mg/kg. They were significantly elevated (p less than or equal to 0 .001) after ingestion of each abuse dose, with the mean peak blood methanol concentrations and the areas under the blood methanol concentration-time curve increasing in proportion to dose. Mean (+/- SD) peak blood methanol concentrations were 1.27 +/- 0.48 mg/dl at the 100 mg/kg dose, 2.14 +/- 0.35 mg/dl at the 150 mg/kg dose, and 2.58 +/- 0.78 mg/dl at the 200 mg/kg dose. Blood methanol concentrations returned to predosing levels by 8 h after administration of the 100 mg/kg dose. Methanol was still detected in the blood 8 h after the subjects had ingested aspartame at 150 or 200 mg/kg. Blood formate analyses were carried out in the 6 subjects who ingested aspartame at 200 mg/kg, since recent studies indicate that the toxic effects of methanol are due to formate accumulation. No significant increase in blood formate concentrations over predosing concentrations was noted. No changes were noted in any of the blood chemistry profile parameters measured 24 h after aspartame ingestion, compared to values noted before administration. Similarly, no differences were noted in ophthalmologic examinations carried out before and after aspartame loading.