Scientific Facts on the Aspertame artificial sweetener

4.6 Does the aspertame sweetener trigger epileptic seizures?

Aspertame is a non-caloric artificial sweetener used in many diet drinks and foods. Although this artificial sweetener has been widely used for many years, some allegations still fuel a debate on possible side effects.

Does aspertame really pose health risks?

Some websites report testimonies of people who identify the aspertame sweetener as the cause of their health problems and epileptic seizures. A few studies have linked the consumption of large amounts of the aspertame sweetener and the triggering of epileptic seizures. They suggest that the aspertame sweetener could cause seizures by affecting the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain. Also, some animal studies indicate that the aspertame sweetener reduces the threshold of sensitivity to chemically induced seizures.

Another study reported that the aspertame sweetener could increase the duration of certain types of epileptic seizure in children. Effects of phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol on seizures have been reported, but under unusual conditions, such as high doses, particular sensitivities or rare types of seizures. This relationship has been refuted by a large number of scientists, who base their opinions on many animals and humans studies.

The Epilepsy Institute in the USA has also concluded that the aspertame sweetener is not the cause of epileptic seizures. Read the EC-SCF report about aspartame and epileptic seizures...

Read the GreenFacts Digest on aspertame

Next question: Can the aspertame sweetener cause other side effects?

This study on the effects of the aspertame sweetener is a faithful summary of the leading scientific consensus report produced in 2002 by the EC-SCF (European Commission Scientific Committee on Food): "Update on the Safety of Aspartame". More...

Note that the proper spelling for Aspertame is Aspartame.