The most common aspartame allergy symptoms are headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Some have asserted that these headaches lead to painful migraines that can present with an additional crop of aspartame-related side effects, including decreased vision, eye pain, and increased sensitivity to noise. Supplementary eye-related issues such as blurriness and tunnel vision have also been described.
The majority of published research, leading health organizations, and regulatory bodies around the world have found that aspartame is typically safe for use. A significant percentage of the general public and anti-aspartame activists, however, continue to warn of the product's downsides. In fact, close to 100 unverified allergy symptoms have been associated with aspartame and include effects related to neurological, behavioral and digestive issues.
Gastrointestinal-related upsets tend to be another major complaint by those who have aspartame allergy symptoms. Typical digestive issues that may occur include diarrhea, dehydration, and vomiting that generally occurs with abdominal pain and cramping. For some, allergies triggered by aspartame show up as neurological complications, such as memory loss, lethargy, and mood swings. Others state that their symptoms are dermatological and present with hives; rashes; and swelling of the lips, hands, or other areas of the body.
Although not an aspartame allergy, phenylketonuria (PKU) should prompt sufferers to take care to avoid any products containing aspartame. Anyone suffering from this inherited disorder is unable to process phenylalanine, an amino acid that aspartame breaks down in the small intestines. Persons with PKU who then consume aspartame could end up with high levels of phenylalanine in the body. For PKU patients, high levels of the substance can do serious damage to the central nervous system, leading to permanent brain damage and mental retardation.
It can be hard to tell if a person is actually allergic to aspartame. There is no way to test if synthetic substances like aspartame could trigger allergic reactions. To complicate matters even further, the artificial sweetener is found in a wide range of food and drink products, including diet sodas, flavored bottled waters, and table top sweeteners.
Multiple individuals who believe they suffer from aspartame side effects report that their symptoms start out mild and steadily become more progressive over the ensuing weeks and months. For many, these symptoms apparently begin to disappear once they stop consuming products that include aspartame. Generally, the recommended method of determining if an adverse reaction to aspartame is responsible for negative effects is to completely remove all sources of the artificial sugar from the diet. A consultation with an allergist or a medical professional might also be the most appropriate course of action.