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Aspartame sources, health risks

Tuesday, October 03, 2017 by

Aspartame is a man-made sweetener with almost no calories that is used in place of sugar. It is a compound of two amino acids — aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Aspartic acid is produced by the body, while phenylalanine is an amino acid that can be taken from food. People who suffer from genetic disease phenylketonuria (PKU) and those who cannot metabolize phenylalanine normally need to avoid diet drinks and other products containing aspartame.

It is sold under the brand names NutraSweet and Equal. It is commonly used in packaged products, especially those labeled as “diet” foods. These foods include diet soda, sugar-free ice cream, reduced-calorie fruit juice, gum, yogurt, and sugarless candy.

Harmful effects that can be caused by aspartame

Only a very small amount of aspartame is needed to give food and beverages a sweet flavor because it is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar, according to the American Cancer Society.

People who suffer from PKU and those who are taking medications for schizophrenia should avoid aspartame.

Phenylalanine is highly toxic to people with PKU as they already have too much phenylalanine in the blood and cannot properly process it. It is an essential amino acid found in protein sources such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

The phenylalanine in aspartame is harmful to those who take schizophrenia medications. It may trigger the uncontrolled muscle movements of tardive dyskinesia, a side effect of some schizophrenia medications.

A study also found that food products that use of non-nutritive sweeteners caused headaches, depression, behavioral and cognitive effects, neurological effects, risk of preterm delivery, cardiovascular effects and risk of chronic kidney disease.

Aspartame was also linked to a number of ailments such as cancer, seizures, headaches, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dizziness, weight gain, birth defects, lupus, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. However, further research and more evidence are needed to prove these links.

Body systems harmed by aspartame

The components of aspartame can harm a number of body organs and systems. In fact, there are over 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption. One of the organs that aspartame harms is the eyes. It can cause blindness, decreased vision and night vision such as blurring, bright flashes, squiggly lines, tunnel vision, pain, decreased tears, trouble with contact lenses, and bulging eyes.

For the ears, it can cause tinnitus which is the ringing or buzzing sound, severe intolerance of noise, and marked hearing impairment.

For the nervous system, it can cause epileptic seizures, headaches, migraines, dizziness, confusion, memory loss, severe drowsiness and sleepiness, paresthesia or numbness of the limbs, severe speech slurring, severe hyperactivity and restless legs, atypical facial pain, and severe tremors.

Moreover, it can cause severe depression, irritability, aggression, anxiety, personality changes, insomnia, and phobias.

For the chest, it can cause palpitationsm tachycardia, shortness of breath, and high blood pressure.

It also affects the gastrointestinal tract by causing nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and pain when swallowing.

Aspartame has side effects in the skin such as itching without a rash, lip and mouth reactions, hives, and aggravated respiratory allergies such as asthma.

This artificial sweetener also affects the body’s endocrine and metabolic functions which include loss of control of diabetes, marked thinning or loss of hair, weight loss, gradual weight gain, hypoglycemia, and sever premenstrual syndrome.

Other side effects of aspartame include frequency of voiding and burning during urination, excessive thirst, fluid retention, leg swelling, bloating, and increased susceptibility to infection.

Where to learn more


Aspartame is a man-made sweetener used to replace sugar. It can cause cancer, diabetes, and dementia. In addition, it can harm the eyes, heart, and brain.

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