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So I posted another question with respects to methanol and aspartame in metabolism with respects to toxicity. So another question I have is "Why is aspartame used as a dietary component to generate methanol following metabolism?" This is a topic of discussion in my thermonuclear pharmaceuticals class at my institution, and more or less it's also part of an active assignment that we're expected to cover for a weekly discussion which is no graded; otherwise I wouldn't seek free advice on this. As much as I read in my book it does not go into detail and I am curious if anyone out there has any advice on this or perhaps you could point me towards relevant articles?

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Aspartame is the methyl ester of the aspartic acid phenylalanine dipeptide. Esters are very easily hydrolyzed by esterase enzymes in the body. This will create an acid and an alcohol. In this case the alcohol is methanol, because it was generated from the methyl group. I'm not familiar with why thermonuclear pharmaceuticals would be concerned with aspartame, generally thermoncuclear refers to nuclear fusion, and even radioactive drugs don't undergo fusion.

Anyway, some people are afraid that aspartame is toxic because the methanol it generates is toxic. This fear is unrealistic because the amount of methanol it takes to cause blindness is about 10mL, and the smallest amount needed to kill someone is about 30mL 2. To generate this much pure methanol from aspartame would require you to eat an impossible amount of aspartame.

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