Aspartame Poisoning: Signs, Symptoms, Health Risks and Treatments

Aspartame poisoning

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener is commonly used in foods and drinks as a replacement for sugar. Even if it is approved by FDA, aspartame poisoning can affect your health in many ways.

Found in diet sodas, coffee, yogurt and other similar foods, aspartame is an all-time favorite sweetener for foods and beverages. Sweeter than sugar, it is low in calories which makes it best suited for people on a diet.

Use of aspartame has been approved by Food and Drug Association (FDA). Still a few cultural and scientific communities have raised concern about the impact of aspartame poisoning on psychological and physiological functioning of an individual.

Aspartame appears to be a healthier alternative to sugar so how can it lead to poisoning? To answer this question let us first understand what aspartame toxicity means.

What is Aspartame?

Aspartame is a human-made sweetener composed of two chief ingredients- aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Both are significant for normal bodily function.

Aspartic Acid

The body uses the aspartic acid to create hormones and support the normal functioning of nervous system. The body can synthesize aspartic acid as needed and so is known as non-essential amino acid in humans.

Amino acids are the  building blocks of protein. Amongst others foods like sugar canes, beans, nuts, seeds, beef, eggs, and salmon are sources of aspartic acid.


The body uses phenylalanine to make proteins, hormones and brain chemicals. Found in the breast milk of mammals it is an essential amino acid.

Since the body itself does not produce it, we have to rely upon external resources such aslean meats, nuts, seeds and dairy products. contain phenylalanine in them.

A minimal amount of aspartic acid and phenylalanine results in a low-calorie product that is about 200 times as sweet as regular sugar. This low-calorie product is called aspartame. The manufacturers use aspartame to make their product taste sweet. 

Aspartame Poisoning Symptoms

Aspartame poisoning can have psychological and physical impacts that can even lead to death. Before things get critical it’s important to check  for the following symptoms:

1. Physical Symptoms

Aspartame poisoning can affect your organs and hamper their functioning. Diminished level of functioning  in the body parts can cause enormous pain if left untreated.

  • Ear Symptoms: Aspartame poisoning can cause tinnitus or buzzing in the ear. The individual can become intolerant to noises which can lead to hearing loss.
  • Eye Symptoms: Aspartame poisoning can lead to decreased vision, blurring and eye pain. Some people may also notice bulging eyes and trouble in wearing contact lenses.
  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms: An individual using aspartame as a substitute for sugar often experiences an upset stomach, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and painful swallowing.
  • Skin Allergies: Intense itching, swelling of lip and mouth, and severe asthma can occur because of aspartame toxicity.

2. Psychiatric/ Psychological Symptoms

Psychological symptoms of aspartame toxicity impact the mental well–being of a person. According to nutritionist Janet Hull, aspartame poisoning can lead to:

  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Phobias, and personality changes.

All of these symptoms can result in poor decision making and impaired judgment.

Other psychiatric symptoms also include memory loss, irritability, aggressive or suicidal behaviors, all of which can negatively impact the patient.

3. Neurological Symptoms

Neurological symptoms of aspartame poisoning impact the brain and trigger many ailments. Aspartame can cause the following neurological conditions:

  • Headaches
  • Hyperactivity
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness in the limbs
  • Severe tremors
  • Fatigue, and slurred speech

4. Metabolic and Endocrine Symptoms

Diabetes and increase in weight are some common side effects of using aspartame.

Some people may also experience hair loss, severe premenstrual syndrome, and menstrual irregularity. Others may notice weight loss and problems with low blood sugar.

5. Critical Symptoms

Aspartame poisoning can cause dangerous symptoms which may even lead to death. Brain damage, peptic ulcers, suicidal thoughts, congenital disabilities, or irreversible brain injury are signs of aspartame toxicity.

If you experience any of these, you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

Aspartame Dangers and Side Effects

The potential dangers and side effects of aspartame toxication include:

1. Phenylketonuria (PKU)

PKU is a rare genetic disorder. People suffering from phenylketonuria are unable to adequately metabolize phenylalanine.

Phenylalanine is one of the ingredients in aspartame. Because of this reason, it is advisable for them to avoid artificial sweeteners. If ingested, it can build up in the body and can cause brain damage.

2. Cancer

Some animal studies suggested that there is a link between aspartame, leukemia, and other blood cancers.

A 2007 study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal  found that rats who were given low doses of aspartame every day, including fetal exposure, were more likely to develop cancer.

A 2012 study derived that more than one daily serving of diet soda increased the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in men.

But the study also found that the consumption of high amounts of regular soda also increased the risk for the same. Later the scientists issued an apology the research and stated that the data collected was weak.

A study was conducted by The American Cancer Society on around 500,000 adults. It found that there is no connection between the consumption of aspartame and increased risk of lymphomas, leukemias, or brain tumors.

Related Reading: Is a Raised Mole Cancerous? All You Need to know About Raised Moles

3. Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease affecting the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). This condition causes communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body.

MS lead to the deterioration of the nerves and can also permanently damage them. But according to the National MS Society, there are no studies to support a link between aspartame and multiple sclerosis.

4. Lupus

Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system starts attacking its tissues and organs.

Inflammation caused by lupus can affect various body systems which include the skin, kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, and blood cells.

The scientific research on aspartame and lupus  is limited .

As per, The Lupus Foundation of America, there is no substantial scientific evidence available which confirms that aspartame increases the risk of Lupus.

5. Headaches

According to a study from 1987, the people consuming aspartame did not report  headache in comparison to those who took a placebo.

However, a small research done in 1994 suggests that some people may be susceptible to headaches from the intake of aspartame. But later the study was criticized for its design .

Related Reading: What Causes Headache above Right Eye?

6. Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disorder which is shows symptoms of musculoskeletal pain besides, fatigue, memory and mood issues.

A small case study  report about two patients and the adverse effect of aspartame publishedin 2010 stated that both the patients experienced relief from fibromyalgia pain on the elimination of aspartame from their diets.

A later study involving a sample of 72 female patients confirmed that there is no connection between fibromyalgia pain and the intake of aspartame. Removal of aspartame from their diets, their fibromyalgia pain showed no improvements.

7. Mood Fluctuations

In a study scientists compared people with and without a history of mood disorders.

The study concluded that aspartame did seem to increase symptoms in patients with  a history of depression, but it had no impact on patients without such a history.

A study from 2014, involving healthy adults reports similar conclusions.

Consumption of a high-aspartame diet results in more irritability and can cause depression.

Aspartame Poisoning Treatments

Our diet plays a very significant role in the reviving and defending many health conditions.

In most cases, aspartame poisoning resolves as soon as the affected person discontinues its use. It is essential to eliminate products like diet sodas, gelatin mixes, and low-calorie pudding from our meals.

Some dry fruits and cereals also contain few amount of aspartame. So, avoiding aspartame can become a life-changing activity.

Aspartame Detoxification Program

Till date approximately 92 different symptoms are related to aspartame poisoning. And the nine step program of aspartame detoxification may improve the symptoms mentioned above in 30 days.

It is an efficient way to flush out the toxins, aspartic acid, phenylalanine, methanol and also their damaging by-products.

  • Always read labels and remove all aspartame-containing products from your diet.
  • Record any changes and improvements in your body.
  • Get your hair analyzed.
  • Try to be happy all the time and enjoy feeling better.
  • Detoxify your body by removing all the aspartame and its by-products.
  • Reload the body with all the deficient nutrients.
  • Exercise regularly, and have an adequate amount of rest to recover.
  • Try to have 75% raw food during every meal.
  • Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.

Should You Avoid Aspartame?

So far, only a few studies have published about the impact of aspartame on the health of an individual.

Besides being potentially linked with mood disorders, the consumption of aspartame has no connection to other ailments such as seizures, MS, or lupus.

Also, some organizations agree with the fact that aspartame is a safe sugar substitute without any adverse impacts on human health. The agencies that differ to the idea of “aspartame poisoning” are-

  • FDA
  • Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives
  • European Food Safety Authority
  • World Health Organization
  • United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization

Few organisations and nutritionists have elevated the public concern about ill effects of aspartame. It has made the manufactures  avoid aspartame in their products.

If you also think, aspartame poisoning can affect your health and you don’t necessarily need it; you can easily avoid it. Try opting for products that do not contain aspartame as an ingredient.

Farley, A., “Symptoms of Aspartame Poisoning,” Live Strong web site, August 14, 2017;
Story, C., “Is aspartame poisoning real?” Health Line website, January 21, 2015;
Aspartame Poisoning: Signs, Dangers, and Treatments,”; Md Health web site, November 20, 2017;
Hull, J., “Aspartame side effects”; Janet Star Hull web site;, last accessed Dec 11, 2017.

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Dr. David Cummings, MD

David Cummings, MD, is a medical reviewer and editor at Daily Health Cures. David received his medical degree from the University of Illinois.