Stevia: A Contraceptive Landmine?
Does stevia inhibit fertility in humans? How would we know if it did?
This article explores concerns regarding the controversy surrounding stevia and its effect on the reproductive process.
(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann
Whether you’re an IBS sufferer, a diabetic, a dieter, or a health-conscious individual, you may have considered alternatives to sugar and honey because of fructose, sucrose, or calorie concerns.
In the push for all-natural alternatives to sugar, many people have switched to stevia. This herb has been used for centuries as a sweetener. However, recent controversy on sites like Facebook seems to indicate that stevia has contraceptive properties. What does this mean for you if you’re trying to have children? I was talking to a friend recently who said she had stopped using stevia because of her concerns. But I wondered … Maybe she was right. So I spent some time online, and this is what I found.
While it is true that some of the indigenous tribes of Brazil and Paraguay once relied on stevia syrup as a contraceptive, there’s no confirmation of how successful that practice was. If it worked, how would we know? There were no double-blind studies back then.
In the 1960s, Professor Joseph Kruc tested a small group of rats, administering high doses of stevia. In fact, the doses were so high that a human would never be able to ingest the corresponding amount. However, his study did show a marked reduction in fertility of the female rats. An Internet search for Kruc study stevia will bring up thousands of pages if you’d like to investigate further.
Another study in the late 1980s by Professor Mauro Alvarez appeared to support the earlier research. Explore online for Mauro Alvarez study stevia if you’d like more specific information.
However, the results of the above two studies have never been duplicated by other researchers, and the professors involved admit that further research is required to see whether the same side-effects would be experienced by humans.
Hundreds of more recent studies have shown no correlation whatsoever between stevia and adverse effects on fertility.
The bottom line: If you’re trying to get pregnant and you have concerns, look for an alternative. But be aware that the consensus of most of the scientific community is that this herb is safe when consumed in quantities required for sweetening.
Suffering from irritable bowel syndrome? One of Kathy’s books might be able to help:
The IBS Compass: Irritable Bowel Syndrome Tips, Information, Fiber Charts, and Recipes. This book will guide you through the maze of information available so that you can make informed decisions about the path you want to take.
IBS-IBD Fiber Charts: Soluble & Insoluble Fibre Data for over 450 Items, Including Links to Internet Resources. Whether you’re shopping, cooking, or ordering out, you need to know the fiber content of your meals. Load a copy of this book onto your smartphone, e-reader, or tablet, and keep it nearby.