update 28 June 2013 Four years is a long time for an update.
and Dr Joe Mercola again prompts it in an analysis of aspartame and sucralose hazards, versus the benefits of stevia.
Search of Pubmed and Google shows not one scientific report of adverse effect of the natural foodstuff stevia , only its beneficial effect on reversing insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, weight gain and hypertension.
In fact a recent trial from an Indian University shows that it has potent antibreast cancer activity, as one would expect of an insulin sensitizer.
Wikipedia now reports last week: “Two 2010 review studies found no health concerns with stevia or its sweetening extracts. In addition, a 2009 review study found that stevioside and related compounds have anti-hyperglycemic, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-diarrheal, diuretic, and immunomodulatory actions; and pancreas, renal and hepatic protection, “.
By contrast, the patented pure isolate rebaudioside A is reportedly much sweeter than stevia, but has no reported benefit on bloodpressure or blood sugar.
Four years on, there are still no reports on chronic safety studies in humans or rodents. Why is this?
January 2009 Dr Joe Mercola reminds us that while the FDA has recently banned natural stevia as unsafe, it has now approved Pepsi and Coke to use the patented stevia extract rebaudioside A in cooldrinks. More USA spin, Disaster Capitalism, it’s 50year old War against Patients – like the Iraqi war and The Pakistan Deception – to favour it’s own industry rather than peoples’ health and wellbeing.
This despite the fact that the first human clinical studies of this single chemical have been published in only 2008- and show no benefit on blood sugar or bloodpressure reduction, nor adverse effect.
On the other hand, the results of trials on Pubmed.com with stevia are impressive:
Chan, Hsieh ea Taipei published in 2000 and 2003 that 1 and 2 year RCTs in mild hypertension that 750mg stevia a day produced significant reduction in hypertension, with significant reduction in heart damage compared to placebo. There ws no change in weight or blood chemistry.
Ferri ea Brazil 2006 showed that stevia up to 1.5gm/day for 6 months produced no significant fall in mild hypertension.
Gregersen ea Denmark in 2004 showed in type 2 diabetics that 1gm stevia compared to maize starch reduced 4hour glucose response by 18%, and insulin/glucose response by 40%.
No adverse effects have been reported on Pubmed from stevia.
Wiki says steviol glycosides are about half stevioside and half rebaudioside A . . So, as usual, it may be that the whole plant extract is better than the isolated rebaudioside A that has been approved for commercial use in USA- althought the evidence from trials and centuries of use favours natural stevia, which in Chinese in moderate but not Brazilians in double dose reduces mild hypertension; and in Danes appears to be a good insulin senstitizing antidiabetic.
Thus the evidence is strong that stevia extract taken as sweetener powder – (but not the patented rebaudioside A) – will be useful adjunctive protection against glucose-insulin resistance, diabetes and hypertension. Few of us are likely to use 1 to 2gms of stevia a day as a sweetener , but the principle of prevention is to combine the widest range of nutrients in the diet, including the hundreds of natural insulin sensitizers eg stevia, vitamins, minerals, and human and plant biologicals.
(I now use up to about stevia 150mg/day in hot drinks instead of my usual +- 25gms/d of sucrose – 1 tsp per cup – so a sweeter tooth that likes say 3tsp sugar per cup might use 500mg stevia a day).
HealthSpan Life! provides 30% stevia drops in 30ml designer mini bottles suitable for handbag or pocket to provide about 1tsp of sugar sweetness from 3-4 minidrops ie about 200 tsp of sugar sweetness per bottle – which from the above evidence will aid reduction in obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes-hypetension-lipidemia, and thus in cancer- renal-vascular-dementia risk, opposite to that of sugar (and perhaps aspartamate).