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From Spain:

I have had type 1 diabetes for less than six months, and from what I have read about Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, it seems it regulates blood sugar levels by stimulating the beta cells to produce more insulin when there is hyperglycemia. Don't people with type 1 diabetes end up finishing their reserves of insulin earlier? Will stevia still have effect on them when all the beta cells are destroyed?


I have not heard about Stevia stimulating the beta cells to produce more insulin. I am only familiar with stevia (stevioside) as a natural sugar substitute, and there has been quite a lot of controversy about the safety of its use in the general population. The FDA has repeatedly turned down requests by companies that want to use stevia as a sweetener in foods in the US. Canada and the European Union do not allow the use of stevia in foods either, however Japan does. Interestingly, the FDA does approve the use of stevia as a dietary supplement, and therefore you can purchase it in health food stores.

The concern about toxicity seems to be associated with the use of more than one or two servings a day. I suggest you go to the Center for Science in the Public Interest website and read Stevia: Not Ready For Prime Time for more information.


Additional comments from Dr. Donough O'Brien:

Stevioside a natural sweetener from Stevia Rebaudiana does indeed stimulate insulin production and a role has been claimed for it in type 2 diabetes. See Jeppesen PB, Gregersen S, Poulsen CR, Hermansen K. Stevioside acts directly on pancreatic beta cells to secrete insulin: actions independent of cyclic adenosine monophosphate and adenosine triphosphate-sensitive K+-channel activity. Metabolism. 2000 Feb;49(2):208-14.

In type 1A (autoimmune) diabetes or inLate-onset Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood (LADA), the beta cells are almost entirely destroyed by the time of onset of insulin dependence so there would be no rationale for using Stevia in addition to conventional therapy.


Original posting 16 Jul 2003
Posted to Alternative Therapies and Explanations


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:46
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