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Artificial Sweeteners and Migraines

Can aspartame cause migraine headaches?

The artificial sweetener aspartame sold under brand names such as Spoonful, Nutrasweet and Equal is often reported to have side effect of headache in susceptible migraine sufferers. This sugar substitute is a crystalline powder that is almost odorless but with very intense sweet flavors. It is actually derived from the aspartic acid and the metyl ester of phenylalanine.

This ingredient is used in diet sodas as well as in a wide range of other products such as puddings, chewing gum, yogurt and some desserts. The scientific data at hand are conflicting with regard to aspartame’s role in provoking headaches. While this substance may not be a very frequent trigger of actual migraine headaches, it should be regarded as being suspect until further data exonerate this additive. Hence it is still better to avoid any foods or drinks containing aspartame to prevent potential migraine triggers.