Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used to sweeten foods without adding excess calories. People often eat or drink products with aspartame in an effort to maintain or lose weight. Aspartame is marketed under the names Equal and NutraSweet. According to the Food and Drug Administration, aspartame may cause health concerns if consumed in excess. The FDA recommends that no more than 50 mg per kilogram of body weight be consumed each day. The average person would have to drink more than 19 cans of diet soda before reaching the maximum intake for the day. Thousands of individuals have reported adverse reactions to aspartame to the FDA, and research is ongoing.
Aspartame poisoning may cause neurological symptoms such as headaches, migraines, dizziness, confusion and impaired memory function. It may also cause seizures and tremors, extreme sleepiness, limb numbness, facial pain and restless legs.
Metabolic and Endocrine Symptoms
Aspartame may affect a person's ability to control diabetes, and it may cause problems in people with hypoglycaemia. It may also cause weight gain either rapidly or over time. This may be due in part to increased cravings for sugary foods. Some individuals may notice thinning of their hair, and women may notice worsening PMS symptoms and changes in their menstrual cycles.
Eye and Ear Symptoms
Aspartame overdose may result in vision problems and even blindness. Also, it may cause dry eyes, pain in the eyes, or bulging eyes. People with aspartame poisoning may experience ringing in their ears. Also, some hearing may be lost and noise sensitivity may develop.
Other Physical Symptoms
Aspartame poisoning may result in irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and high blood pressure. Ingesting too much aspartame may cause nausea, stomach pain, diarrhoea, frequent urination, fluid retention, excessive thrust, frequent infections, itchy skin and hives.
Some people with aspartame poisoning have reported psychological problems such as depression and anxiety. It may lead to personality changes and increased aggression or irritability.