How Long does Stevia Stay in your Body?
Stevia is a steviol glycoside-based non-nutritive or zero-calorie sweetener. These chemicals have been isolated and purified from the Stevia plant’s leaves.
Many people use stevia instead of sugar to cut down their calorie intake. We’ll look at this article’s hazards and adverse effects of using this natural sweetener.
What exactly is stevia?
Stevia leaves are around 200 times sweeter than sugar cane. People have used them as a sweetener and herbal supplement for generations, and they are cheaper than standard white sugar.
Side effects and risks
The FDA recommends a daily dosage of 4 milligrams (mg) per kilograms of body weight for stevia equivalents. The above phenomenon works out to around 12 milligrams of high-purity stevia extract per kilograms of body weight each day.
Experts believe that properly refined stevia has no adverse side effects, whether used as a sweetener or to flavor dishes.
While various studies have revealed potential adverse effects of stevia over the last few decades, most of them were conducted on laboratory animals, and many of them have now been debunked.
The following are some of the possible negative effects of stevia consumption:
Damage to the kidneys
Stevia is a diuretic. Diuretics speed up the rate at which the body excretes water and electrolytes through urine. Because the kidney is in charge of filtering and producing urine, researchers first believed that long-term stevia intake might harm the organ.
Whereas, recent research suggests that stevia may help avoid kidney injury.
Some stevia products contain sugar alcohols, which might induce unpleasant symptoms in chemically sensitive people.
Although sugar alcohol hypersensitivity is uncommon, it can cause the following symptoms:
The potential gastrointestinal advantages of steviol glycosides have been demonstrated in several research employing rodent and human cell cultures. Stevia has been presented to help limit and relieve diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms (IBS).
Reaction to allergens
There have been highly few incidences of stevia allergy reported. The FDA and the European Commission found that the number of people who are hypersensitive to stevia or at risk of developing an allergic reaction to it is minimal.
Low blood sugar is when the blood sugar level is abnormally low. Although stevia may assist persons with diabetes in maintaining their blood sugar, it was initially considered that long-term or heavy stevia usage could lead to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
Except in people with deficient blood sugar levels, this has been highly uncommon. Stevia is a vasodilator, meaning it causes blood arteries to open and lowers overall blood pressure. Researchers have only looked into the possible positive elements of this use thus far.
Excessive, long-term usage of anything that deliberately decreases blood pressure can lead to health issues. People with persistently low blood pressure should consult a doctor before using stevia for an extended period.
Disruption of hormones
Steviol glycosides are a type of steroid that can interfere with hormones controlled by the endocrine system. Human sperm cells exposed to steviol produced more progesterone, according to a study published in 2016.
Who should stay away from stevia?
Regular stevia consumption may increase the risk of developing adverse effects in some persons. This is due to stevia’s ability to reduce blood sugar and blood pressure while also being a diuretic.
Due to the fact that stevia can interfere with some drugs, it’s best to consult a doctor before drinking or purchasing the product.
The following factors may enhance the chance of stevia adverse effects:
- Medications for high blood pressure
- Medications for liver problems
- Medications for kidney problems
- heart problems and their treatments
- medicine that regulates hormones
- anticancer drugs
Forms of stevia that aren’t safe
Stevia has a variety of stevia glycosides divided into five primary classes.
Even though most existing research focuses on the two main components in stevia, sativoside and rebaudioside. On the other hand, there is still a lack of proof to support the safe use of more minor refined stevia components. As a result, FDA does not consider stevia leaves, and crude extracts safe to consume.
Counterfeit chemicals, especially artificial sweeteners connected to known health hazards, are increasingly discovered in stevia pills and extracts. It’s crucial to buy steviol glycoside goods that are verified to contain at least 95% steviol glycoside and no artificial sweeteners.
The following are the most common possibly hazardous compounds discovered in stevia products:
- saccharin sodium
- cyclamate sodium
- Pregnancy and stevia
Purified stevia is generally not recognized as a health concern to pregnant women when ingested at modest levels. Stevia was found not to affect pregnancy or fertility outcomes in rat embryos and was non-toxic to fetal tissues in studies.
Some of the typical counterfeit substances found in stevia combinations and formulations, on the other hand, have been connected to significant issues and may cause congenital disabilities. Saccharin is the most well-known of these compounds.
Stevia in high quantities or for extended periods may exacerbate common pregnant symptoms by putting more strain on organs, including the kidneys, bladder, and heart.
Overuse of stevia products during pregnancy can lead to the following complications:
- blood pressure that is too low
- renal failure or malfunction
- fluctuations in mood
- nausea, vomiting, and cramps
- a low blood sugar level
How does the human body process stevia?
In the human body, all sweeteners are digested differently. When stevia is compared to artificial and other sweeteners, the difference is sometimes lost in translation.
Let’s start with the breakdown of sugar in the body. The pancreas generates insulin to break down sugar, which helps maintain blood sugar levels in check. This is especially problematic in people with diabetes due to a lack of insulin production, poor sugar digestion, and thus increased blood sugar levels.
Stevia metabolizes in a unique way. The body does not react to stevia in the same way it does to sugar; therefore, no insulin is produced; instead, the steviol glycosides pass through the body untouched (unlike sugar) down to the colon, where the glycoside is eliminated in stages by hydrolysis, resulting in the synthesis of steviol.
In the human body, stevia is metabolized.
Steviol is delivered to the liver via the bloodstream, where it combines with glucuronic acid to generate steviol glucuronide. The steviol glucuronide is eliminated in the urine after passing through the kidneys. Steviol glycosides do not accumulate in the human body. Urine and feces excrete everything that is consumed by the body.
A quick comparison of Sugar, Aspartame (a popular artificial sweetener), and Stevia
Sugar raises blood sugar levels, prompting the pancreas to create insulin to help break down the sugar. Obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and other disorders can result from overeating.
Aspartame alters serotonin levels and, as a result, the body’s hunger sensation. As a result, the aim of being calorie-free can be questioned. It may result in a gain in calories from other sources. According to research, there are many other negative consequences, including carcinogenic and neurotoxic impacts.
Stevia does not build up in the body and has been shown to increase insulin production in studies.