Does Aspartame Cause Memory Loss & Is It Reversible?

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used very commonly in foods, soft drinks, and chewing gums.

Aspartame and various other artificial sweetening agents are generally associated with multiple adverse health effects.

One recent study by the College of Medicine found that aspartame could cause significant cognitive deficits and memory loss.

What Does Research On Aspartame And Memory Loss Say?

A recent study found that consuming aspartame daily for 16 weeks can produce significant learning deficits and memory in mice.

In the current study, the mice models were categorized into 3 groups for 16 weeks:

  • A control group of mice that consumed only plain water
  • A second group of mice that consumed seven percent of the recommended dose of aspartame by the FDA mixed with water
  • A third group of mice that consumed 15 percent aspartame (4 eight-oz diet sodas per day) mixed with water

All of these mouse models in the study were tested at 4, 8, and 12-week intervals.

When tested in a Barnes maze, the mice from the control group quickly discover the safe box. On the contrary, mice that consumed aspartame took longer to learn to find the safe box. 

Though they could find the safe box by compensating for the memory and learning deficits, these changes were significant.

Furthermore, the memory and learning difficulties produced by aspartame consumption in male mice were transmitted to their female and male offspring.

Another study found that repeated administration of aspartame can impair memory performance. 

The latter occurs due to increased oxidative stress and reduced glucose availability in the brain.

Apart from memory loss, aspartame may also cause the onset of migraine headaches. Its consumption is also associated with mood disorders, including depression and irritability.

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Has Aspartame Been Linked To Dementia Or Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a type of neurodegenerative disease that involves a decrease in cognitive function. 

AD is one of the common causes of dementia. It starts to appear in a person as memory loss and can also progress to impairment of other cognitive functions and learning.

Some of the risk factors associated with AD include:

  • Oxidative stress
  • Aging
  • DNA damage
  • Inflammation

The primary pathologic characteristic of AD is the formation of protein plaques in the brain. These protein plaques cause brain cell death, leading to oxidative stress along with inflammation in the brain. 

Diet is a critical factor for a wide variety of diseases, including AD. Consumption of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame has been associated with AD and stroke.

Aspartame enhances oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. It also causes death and degeneration of brain cells.

A study on fruit flies demonstrated that consuming aspartame (0.01 to 0.05 percent) elevated the levels of oxidative stress markers and antioxidants. 

This study supports the fact that consuming aspartame is linked to the causation of Alzheimer’s disease or AD.

Is Aspartame’s Memory Loss Reversible?

The damage to the brain cells by consuming aspartame is reversible, especially by stopping aspartame for a long duration.

A study that demonstrated the harmful effects caused by aspartame consumption improved partially after one month. 

The study also suggests that a longer recovery period from aspartame can improve the harmful effects caused by its consumption.

How To Reverse Memory Loss From Aspartame?

To reverse the memory loss from aspartame, you have to eliminate it from your diet. Let us discuss some of the steps to detox aspartame from your body that can help improve your memory in the long term:

Identify The Sources Of Aspartame

The initial step is to determine the sources that may contain aspartame. This artificial sweetener is commonly present in a wide variety of food products, such as sugar-free snacks and diet sodas. It may even be present in some supplements and medicines.

Carefully identify products containing aspartame and eliminate all items containing the artificial sweetener. These include:

  • Diet sodas
  • Sugar-free snacks
  • Certain supplements and medicines
  • Sugar-free chewing gum
  • Sugar-free salad dressings

Replace these products with the following food products:

  • Natural and whole foods such as whole grains (wheat, oats, etc.)
  • Healthy fats such as walnuts, almonds, seeds, avocados, eggs, coconut oil, olive oil, pastured chicken, and grass-fed meats
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables

Maintain Adequate Hydration

Drink an adequate amount of water to eliminate the aspartame from your body. Aim for a minimum of eight glasses of liquids (preferably water) per day.

Get Plenty Of Sleep

According to studies, poor sleeping habits are one of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. Aim for a minimum of eight hours of good-quality sleep each night.

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Take Appropriate Supplements

Providing your body with the essential amount of the right minerals and vitamins is very important. 

Eat a healthy and balanced diet containing lots of fresh fruits, veggies, and whole grains to fulfill this requirement.

You should also take a mineral and multivitamin supplement (a supplement for omega-3 fatty acids, B6, folate, and B12, and vitamin D3). Also, add a good probiotic supplement to foster gut health.

Engage In Regular Exercise

Clinical research demonstrates that engaging in regular physical activity can prevent and slow the progression of dementia and cognitive decline. Therefore, engage in regular physical activity.

Even walking for half an hour daily can help. However, you should consider including both strength-training and cardiovascular exercises in your daily routine.

Reduce Your Stress Levels

Chronic stress can worsen memory loss and dementia. Therefore, find ways to reduce your stress levels. 

You can do meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to keep calm and relaxed.


  • The recent guidelines of the World Health Organization acknowledge the potential association between aspartame consumption and a raised risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and metabolic disease. However, these guidelines did not point out any adverse effect on cognition.
  • A recent study conducted by researchers at the Florida State University College of Medicine found that consumption of aspartame in doses much lower than those considered safe by the FDA can cause memory and learning deficits in mice.
  • This has further raised questions on the safety of consuming aspartame. Considering the adverse effects of aspartame on health, it is recommended to stay away from its use.
  • You can use natural alternatives such as stevia (it is a natural extract of plant) in place of artificial sweeteners if you want to avoid sugar in your diet. 

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  1. Jones, S.K., McCarthy, D.M., Stanwood, G.D. et al. Learning and memory deficits produced by aspartame are heritable via the paternal lineage. Sci Rep 13, 14326 (2023).
  2. Adedayo BC, Akinniyi ST, Ogunsuyi OB, Oboh G. In the quest for the ideal sweetener: Aspartame exacerbates selected biomarkers in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) model of Alzheimer’s disease more than sucrose. Aging Brain. 2023 Jul 30;4:100090. doi: 10.1016/j.nbas.2023.100090. PMID: 37559954; PMCID: PMC10407236.
  3. Abdel-Salam OM, Salem NA, El-Shamarka ME, Hussein JS, Ahmed NA, El-Nagar ME. Studies on the effects of aspartame on memory and oxidative stress in brain of mice. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2012 Dec;16(15):2092-101. PMID: 23280025.

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