Aspartame is composed of aspartic acid and the methyl ester of phenylalanine, and is available under numerous brand names, such as NutraSweet, Equal and the like.
Aspartame is broken down, in the small intestine, into methanol (“wood” alcohol), at about 10% by weight. It them metabolizes into formaldehyde. A sensitivity to formaldehyde creates a broad range of symptoms; most recognizably, the classic vise-grip-at-the-temples headache. This, then, is turned into formate, which is quickly eliminated as CO2 and water.
Studies have shown that about 5% of the population are sensitive to aspartame; but, it is considered dangerous only for people with Phenylketonuria (PKU). However, over the years since it’s appearance on the market, people who have used aspartame have presented numerous complaints about symptoms they suffer after ingesting it. These symptoms may include:
- problems with concentration,
- migraines, and
- digestive problems.
Maybe most troubling is the exaggeration of symptoms from preexisting neurological diseases and disorders. However, concerns about aspartame have generally been dismissed, since the symptoms associated with the use of aspartame have not been substantiated by medical authorities.