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Stevia Helps to Fight Cancer

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Does Stevia Cause Cancer?

Question from Kathryn: Stevia has been linked to cancer in some studies. So does stevia cause cancer? 

There is no solid evidence to prove stevia causes cancer. The answer is no.

But just to ease your mind I looked at a few studies and this is what I found.

~No clear evidence

The US National Cancer Institute confirms that there is no clear evidence to suggest that stevia is linked to cancer (1).

~Rats didn’t get cancer from high doses of stevia

In a long term study done on 344 rats given a diet with 5% stevia, the high intake did not show any signs of cancer after 108 weeks of ingestion (2).

~The active ingredients in stevia may actually kill cancer cells

In one recent study 36 derivatives of stevosides from stevia were put to the test on leukemia, lung, stomach and breast cancer cell lines. The study showed that the stevosides “exhibit potent cytotoxicity against the cancer cell lines” (3).

Cytotoxicity means the compound is toxic to cells. “Treating cells with the cytotoxic compound can result in a variety of cell fates. The cells may undergo necrosis, in which they lose membrane integrity and die rapidly as a result of cell lysis. The cells can stop actively growing and dividing (a decrease in cell viability), or the cells can activate a genetic program of controlled cell death”. Source


So what this means is that this recent study has shown that stevia may cause cancer cell death, not contribute to cancer. 


That’s the most recent study I could find Kathryn, so I hope that helps and I certainly find it convincing enough.

So does stevia cause cancer.

No it appears that it doesn’t.

And if you want to find out loads of other facts about stevia. Check out this article.

I hope this answered your question.

Jedha

Do you use stevia?

References

1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2012: 2212-2672.

2. Brusick DJ. A critical review of the genetic toxicity of steviol and steviol glycosides. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2008; 46: S83–S91.

3. Ukiya M, Sawada S, Kikuchi T, Kushi Y, Fukatsu M. Akihisa T. Cytotoxic and Apoptosis-Inducing Activities of Steviol and Isosteviol Derivatives against Human Cancer Cell Lines. Chemistry and Biodiversity. 2013; 10: 177-185.

Hi I'm Jedha, resident nutritionist (MNutr.BSSc.). My motto is: “YOUR HEALTH IS YOUR WEALTH” because there is nothing in this world that makes us more wealthy than having good health. I truly believe that good food is the key to a happy, healthy life and I'm on a mission to inspire you to get back inside your kitchen, eat real food, and as a result, improve your health dramatically. Trust me, there is great power in the food we eat! So here you'll find easy and practical info to help you eat well, and feel your best every day. I look forward to getting to know you :)

Comments

  1. Doug Wallace says 

April 11, 2014 at 3:37 am

I doubt if that is a plant in its natural state that causes cancer. Many sweetener manufacturers are making chemical derivatives of stevia and calling it stevia. Of course, anything consumed in huge doses could cause problems in humans. Finally, stevia has been used historically for medicinal and culinary purposes, when we look at diets over the course of thousands of years they is a natural tendency for dangerous foods to be phased out of the human diet. I wrote a couple of articles on stevia. I do know, being a wellness writer, that big business is actually paying people to get out on the web to spread negative information on natural products, so people can be stay confused. They did the same thing with cyanide in apricot seeds, saying that is can kill you but in actuality, that cyanide is molecularly bound until it comes into contact with a cancer cell. I eat apricot seeds every day, and am in perfect health. To find a raw stevia in its natural stat, with no added ingredients and no chemical processing is a hard task, and those bogus stevia’s are normally the culprits in an health issues with stevia. I wrote on this subject in my blog articles below….

Exposing company that make bogus stevia
http://www.gaiahealthblog.com/2012/02/04/the-stevia-project/

Finally finding a stevia with almost no aftertaste (and it is light green as opposed to stark white, which is what it should be, since it comes from a leaf)
http://www.gaiahealthblog.com/2014/04/06/finally-a-stevia-product-with-no-aftertaste-and-no-questionable-ingredients/

  1. Cassy says 

November 29, 2015 at 7:07 pm

The country with the highest consumption of stevia is also the country with the highest rate of gastric cancer-Japan. I can’t help but wonder if there is a correlation there.

December 1, 2015 at 11:00 pm

Interesting observation Cassy. If there is it hasn’t been shown in science thus far.

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Tiny nanoparticles, far smaller than the width of a human hair, might help the body’s own immune system fight tumors, a new study shows. In experiments with mice, the nanoparticle-based therapy not only wiped out the original targeted breast cancer tumors, but metastases in other parts of the body as well. Human clinical trials with the new therapy could begin within the next several months, researchers say.

The search for drugs that spur the immune system to fight tumors is one of the hottest fields in cancer research. Immune sentries, known as T cells, are normally on the prowl for suspicious looking targets, such as bacterial invaders and potential tumor cells. If they recognize one, they sound the alarm, inducing other immune cells to mount a larger response. However, the T cells’ alarm can be muted by so-called immune checkpoints, other proteins on the surface of normal cells that tamp down the immune response to prevent harmful autoimmune reaction to normal tissue. Tumor cells often over express these checkpoint molecules, putting the brakes on the immune system’s search and destroy work.

To overcome that problem, pharmaceutical companies have developed a number of different antibody proteins that block these overexpressed checkpoint molecules and enable the immune system to target tumors. In cases where there are lots of T cells in the vicinity of a tumor, or where tumor cells have undergone large numbers of mutations, which creates additional targets for immune sentries, T cells will signal a full-fledged immune response to the cancer. Such cancer immunotherapy can add extra years to patients’ lives.


However, existing cancer immunotherapy drugs work in only 20% to 30% of patients. In some cases, even when the checkpoint molecules are blocked that there are too few active T cells around to sound the immune alarm, says Jedd Wolchok, a cancer immunotherapy expert at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. In others, he says, tumors don’t display enough of the T cell’s targets, so-called tumor antigens, on their surface.  

But a seemingly unrelated puzzle offered the prospect of boosting immunotherapy’s effectiveness. Oncologists have long known that in rare cases, after patients receive radiation therapy to shrink a tumor, the immune system will mount an aggressive response that wipes out not only the tumor, but metastases throughout the body that hadn’t been treated with the radiation. Researchers now think that irradiation sometimes kills tumor cells in a manner that exposes new antigens to T cells, priming them to target other tumor cells that carry them as well, says Wenbin Lin, a chemist at the University of Chicago in Illinois, and one of the authors of the current study.

Lin wanted to see whether he could use nontoxic nanoparticles to sensitize the immune system in a similar way. Getting the nanoparticles themselves past the immune system isn’t easy. If they’re too big, cells in the blood called macrophages gobble them up. And blood proteins tend to coat the particles, facilitating their uptake. In recent years Lin’s team devised a method to produce particles that are all between 20 and 40 nanometers in size (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter), a range best able to elude macrophages. They also coated them with a polyethylene glycol shell, which helps them survive longer in blood circulation and enter target cells. Finally, on the inside they incorporated powerful light-absorbing, chlorine-based molecules that turn the nanoparticles into tumor killers.

In previous studies, the team found that once injected into the bloodstream, the particles are able to circulate long enough to find their way in and around tumors. And because tumors typically have a leaky, ill-formed vasculature, the particles tend to leak out at the site of cancer tissue and be picked up and internalized inside tumor cells. Once the nanoparticles are absorbed, the researchers shine near infrared light on the tumors. That light is absorbed by the chlorine-based molecules, which then excite nearby oxygen molecules, creating a highly reactive form of oxygen, known as singlet oxygen, that rips apart nearby biomolecules and kills the tumor cell.

But that’s only the start of it, Lin says. Singlet oxygen tends to rip apart tumor cells in a manner that exposes many new tumor antigens to immune cells called dendritic cells, which, like police executing a dragnet, grab the antigens and present them to T cells for closer inspection. By doing so they help the immune system mount a powerful antitumor response even in cases where there aren’t that many T-cells nearby.

In August 2016, Lin and his colleagues reported in Nature Communications that when they injected a version of their nanoparticles into the bloodstream of mice with colon cancer along with a checkpoint antibody and blasted the tumors with light, the combination sparked the animals’ immune systems to destroy both the targeted colon cancer tumors as well as untreated tumors elsewhere. However, those particles also ferried a standard chemotherapeutic toxin to help kill the cancer cells. In their current study the researchers wanted to see whether the approach would work with just the immune response.

This time Lin and his colleagues worked with mice with breast cancer, another form of cancer that often doesn’t respond to current immunotherapy drugs. Again, they injected the animals with their nanoparticles along with a checkpoint antibody. But this time their nanoparticles didn’t contain any additional chemotherapeutic drug. They then blasted the tumors with infrared light, and waited for the results. And in almost every case, not only was the primary breast cancer tumor destroyed, but metastases in the lung were wiped out as well, they report in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. “We were surprised to find that without the cytotoxic agents, you can achieve the same effect,” Lin says.  

“This is a well thought out approach, and the data is interesting,” says Wolchok, who was not involved in the work. The approach deserves to be followed up with human trials, he adds. Lin says such trials are likely to start soon. The Chicago team has already formed a company, called Coordination Pharmaceuticals, which has raised seed funds to launch an early stage trial in humans, likely sometime in the second half of this year.

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