STEVIA is a sweetener made from high stevia plants which originate from South America. This liquid sweeteners formulation consists of steviol extracted from stevia leaves responsible for the sweet taste. Stevia sweeteners also simulate the release of insulin which can be beneficial especially for people with diabetes. This liquid sweetener can be added to snacks, juices and hot drinks in sweetening them.
WHAT IS STEVIA
Stevia is a sweetener and sugar substitute extracted from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana. It’s an herbal plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family so it’s related to ragweed, chrysanthemums and marigolds. Stevia rebaudiana is the most prized variety of stevia. Stevia has also been used specifically as a traditional medicine for burns, stomach problems, colic and even as a form of contraception.
Stevia contains eight glycosides which are stevioside, rebaudiosides (A, C, D, E, and F), steviolbioside and dulcoside A. They are the sweet components isolated and purified from the leaves of stevia.
The active compounds of stevia are steviol glycosides (mainly stevioside and rebaudioside), which have up to 200 times the sweetness of sugar, are heat-stable, pH-stable, and not fermentable. Although stevia is sweet, they have no carbohydrates, calories, or artificial ingredients. Stevioside is sweet but also has a bitter after taste that many complain about when using stevia, while rebaudioside is better tasting, sweet and less bitter. Figure 1 shows the product picture.
Stevia helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity, promote insulin production by promoting the pancreas health, discourage glucose absorption in the blood, and inhibit candidiasis – a yeast infection that flourish with sugar.
It is low carbohydrate; low sugar and low calorie sugar alternative and the steviol glycosides are not metabolized by the body and are excreted in the urine without getting accumulated in the body. A Study also suggests that it may inhibit the craving for sweet and oily or fatty foods.
The most important or widely praised aspect is for human health concerns its ability to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. Opposed to sucrose, which is what normal table sugar consists of, stevia sweetens food in a similar way as sugar, but it contains stevioside, which is a non-carbohydrate glycoside compound.
As explained above, when stevioside breaks down, the glucose-containing particles are absorbed by the bacteria in the colon, rather than being absorbed into the bloodstream and affecting glucose levels in the body. This is an ideal replacement for normal sugar for diabetics or people on carbohydrate-controlled diets because they can eat sweet foods without having to worry about diabetic complications.
Studies show that it can be beneficial in the treatment of many health conditions. It is believes that it have anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-septic, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, anti-glyceamic and anti-hypertensive properties which helps with hypertension, diabetes, chronic fatigue, indigestion, upset stomach, heartburn, weight loss, cold and flu, gingivitis, tooth decay, cavities, dandruff and hair loss, brittle bones or osteoporosis, streptococcus, candidiasis, bacterial infections and skin conditions such as cuts, wounds, rashes, itchiness, blemishes, acne, dermatitis, eczema, and wrinkles. It may also improve energy levels, strengthen immune system, stimulate mental activity, and may also help in withdrawal from tobacco and alcohol addiction.
It is a natural, no-calorie sweetener can help to control blood sugar levels by activating a protein called transient receptor potential channel 5 (TRPM5), which is associated with taste perception. This protein also plays a role in the release of the hormone insulin after eating. After an initial increase of insulin production as a response to insulin resistance (IR) in peripheral tissue, pancreatic β cells no longer have the ability to control glucose homeostasis, leading to endocrine system imbalances. Under glucagon influence, the liver contributes significantly in glucose homeostasis because liver makes the balance between capture / storage of glucose, via glycogenesis, and the release of glucose by glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis.
Constant, prolonged state of hyperglycaemia enables the formation of Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs). AGEs are responsible for the onset of diabetic complications, such as neurological and kidney complications (diabetic nephropathy), aging and cardiovascular complications: dyslipidaemia, hypertension.
It’s will inhibit the pancreatic enzyme alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase and thus the breakdown of carbs in the intestine. It’s extracts may also act similar to insulin and are equally effective in increasing glucose uptake, because the co-treatment with insulin and stevia extracts increase glucose uptake significantly higher than the increase due to insulin alone.
The anti-oxidant effects of it and respective extracts, which will in view of the inflammatory nature of type II diabetes and obviously contribute to it anti-diabetic effects. Isostevial is one of the stevia glycosides, appears to work part of its magic via activating the Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR-α).