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Stevia Date Written 2007
Author Joe Holmes Date Revised  

Stevia is the only sweetener that does not raise blood sugar. It is a strong sweetener but has no carbohydrates. Said to be 300 times sweeter than saccharose. Main ingrediants are stevioside and rebaudioside. It has been proven to be non cancer causing and helps hypertension and type-2 diabetes. Its ability to help hypertension is reported to also slow heart rate (hypotension and bradycardia). Study finds it has antimicrobial and antifungal properties (See article 5)

The FDA announced approval of stevia as an acceptable sweetner December of 2008 after years of resisting its approval. (See article 4) Pepsi and Coke will be using it in some drinks.

It is a South American plant from Brazil and Argentina

1." MEDICINAL COMPONENTS: 1) LEAF a) The leaves are the component of the plant used medicinally (Anon, 1999). The concentration of stevioside in the leaves of stevia increases when the plants are grown under conditions that delay flowering (Brandle et al, 1998). b) All glycosides found in stevia are non-caloric sweeteners to some degree. The 2 main glycosides in stevia are stevioside and rebaudioside Approximately 6% to 18% of dry tevia leaves are stevioside. It is the sweetest glycoside and in one report it was said to be 300 times sweeter than saccharose (Anon, 1999; Mauri et al, 1996; Lung & Foster, 1996). Rebaudioside is approximately 1% in dried leaves (Melis, 1995). Other glycosides include dulcoside (approximately 0.2% in dried leaves) (Mauri et al, 1996) and steviolbioside (Kinghorn et al, 1982). All other glycosides combined comprise less than 0.04% (Mauri et al, 1996). c) Minerals include calcium, iron, and zinc (Anon, 1999).
d) Sterols include stigmasterol, betasitosterol, and campesterol (Anon, 1999). e) Vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C (Anon, 1999). f) The sweet-tasting glycosides obtained from stevia rebaudiana are not widespread in other tevia species having been located in only one other (of 108) species, stevia phlebophylla A Gray (Malta et al, 1992). Some stevia species have extremely bitter compounds. Improved varieties of stevia rebaudiana which contain greater amounts of the glycoside sweetening agents are now being grown (Tanaka, 1997)." " A slight decrease in mean arterial pressure (approximately 9.5%) and BRADYCARDIA was reported in healthy subjects (age 24 to 40 years) after ingestion of a tea made from stevia leaves for 30 days (Kinghorn & Soejarta, 1985)." (1)

2." In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) performed a thorough evaluation of recent experimental studies of stevia extracts conducted on animals and humans, and concluded that "stevioside and rebaudioside A are not genotoxic in vitro or in vivo and that the genotoxicity of steviol and some of its oxidative derivatives in vitro is not expressed in vivo."[10] The report also found no evidence of carcinogenic activity. The report also suggested the possibility of health benefits, in that "stevioside has shown some evidence of pharmacological effects in patients with hypertension or with type-2 diabetes"[10], but concluded that further study was required to determine proper dosage." (2)

3." If you've ever tasted stevia, you know it's extremely sweet. In fact, this remarkable noncaloric herb, native to Paraguay, has been used as a sweetener and flavor enhancer for centuries. But this innocuous-looking plant has also been a focal point of intrigue in the United States in recent years because of actions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The subject of searches and seizures, trade complaints and embargoes on importation, stevia has been handled at times by the FDA as if it were an illegal drug.

Since the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), stevia can be sold legally in the United States, but only as a "dietary supplement." Even so, it can be found in many forms in most health-food stores, and is also incorporated into drinks, teas and other items (all labeled as "dietary supplements"). It cannot, however, be called a "sweetener" or even referred to as "sweet." To do so would render the product "adulterated," according to the FDA, and make it again subject to seizure." (3)

4. "WAYZATA, Minn., Dec 17, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- New Natural Sweetener - Truvia(TM) Rebiana - Market Leader in New Sweetness Category Today, Cargill received official notification from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stating that the agency has no objection to the conclusion of an independent expert panel which reviewed research that rebaudioside A (rebiana), the identity in Truvia(TM) rebiana, is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use as a general purpose sweetener. The FDA letter affirms and supports rebiana's safety and the data used to make that determination." (4)

5. "A perennial schrub, stevia, and its extracts are used as a natural sweetener and have been shown to possess antimicrobial properties. Stevia contains high levels of sweetening glycosides including stevioside which is thought to possess antimicrobial and antifungal properties." (5)

6."Stevioside, an abundant component of Stevia rebaudiana leaf, has become well-known for its intense sweetness (250-300 times sweeter than sucrose) and is used as a non-caloric sweetener in several countries. A number of studies have suggested that, beside sweetness, stevioside along with related compounds, which include rebaudioside A (second most abundant component of S. rebaudiana leaf), steviol and isosteviol (metabolic components of stevioside) may also offer therapeutic benefits, as they have anti-hyperglycemic, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-diarrheal, diuretic, and immunomodulatory actions. It is of interest to note that their effects on plasma glucose level and blood pressure are only observed when these parameters are higher than normal. As steviol can interact with drug transporters, its role as a drug modulator is proposed. This review summarizes the current knowledge of the pharmacological actions, therapeutic applications, pharmacokinetics and safety of stevioside and related compounds. Although much progress has been made concerning their biological and pharmacological effects, questions regarding chemical purity and safety remain unsolved. These issues are discussed to help guide future research directions." (6)

(1) Micromedix access by authorized users only
(5) Pub Med 19012609


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