Not So Sweet Side Effects of Aspartame

The word aspartame does not sound familiar to a lot of us, and may even think whether it is a foreign word or a medical term; but this substance is actuall…

The word aspartame does not sound familiar to a lot of us, and may even think whether it is a foreign word or a medical term; but this substance is actually commonly seen. Aspartame is the generic name of the artificial sweetener AminoSweet, Equal, NutraSweet or Magic Sugar in other countries.

This is a synthetic protein made by combining the essential amino acid, phenylalanine, and an amino acid, aspartic acid – which has a characteristic sweet taste. A spoonful of aspartame is 200 times than table sugar of the same amount. Because of this characteristic, aspartame is included in foods and beverages that is low calorie, flavoring for people suffering from diabetes mellitus, and to make medicines and supplements palatable to children.

Despite all these benefits that can be derived from the synthetic protein, aspartame continuous to cause controversies and believed by some people to cause further harm despite approval of the United States’ Food and Drug Administration or FDA.

One of the Aspartame side effects that caused a lot of commotion to the public is linking it with the development of brain problems such as depression, brain tumors and other malignant conditions. However, the officials from the FDA continue to support that this product has underwent a lot of testing and research before released in the market. Furthermore, they mention that all things if taken too much can cause problems thus moderate use of this artificial flavoring is advised. The accepted daily intake is 40 mg of aspartame for every kilogram of body weight to prevent Aspartame side effects from appearing.

Some of the most frequently seen Aspartame side effects are episodes of abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting which are attributed to the response of the digestive system with the presence of a synthetic protein. Changes in the sleeping pattern, loss of memory, headache, dizziness, visual disturbances, fatigue and episodes of sudden changes in the mood can also be complained by individuals who are newly using aspartame or uses the sweetener in excess amounts. There are also other people who experience allergic reactions mainly rashes, redness of skin and itching from using the sweetener. At the same time, these Aspartame side effects are the only ones recognized by the FDA as a result of taking the protein per se.

However, there are less common Aspartame side effects which are believed by most scientists to be caused by the chemical alone but by the interaction of the food additive with an already existing medical condition. These medical conditions that can be aggravated by the use of aspartame include neurological problems such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, mental retardation, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases; sensory conditions such as vestibular neuronitis and vertigo; psychological disorders such as panic disorder, depression, and attention deficit disorder; diabetes and fibromyalgia. However, much research still has to be done in order to fully understand the relation of these conditions with the intake of this flavoring.

In case one experiences Aspartame side effects other than those mentioned in here, consulting the physician or a health care provider is advised.