Is Stevia Safe?

Stevia plant leaves have been used for centuries by native people in Brazil and Paraguay to sweeten beverages. It has also been used in Japan to sweeten since 1970.  Stevia contains no sugar; the main ingredient is called Stevioside. Many people choose to use Stevia in the place of artificial sweeteners. It is calorie-free and has no impact on blood sugar. It is also much sweeter than table sugar–hundreds of times sweeter. The main reason I haven’t tried Stevia is because you can’t buy it in any of the local grocery stores in my area.

Through doing some research, surprisingly I’ve come across claims which say Stevia may not be safe. It’s natural, so one would assume it is safe. Then again, tobacco is natural and it isn’t safe. I stumbled across one site that said a group of European scientists in early 2006 conducted a study that showed when male rats were given high doses of Stevia for 22 months, their production of sperm was reduced severely. It also showed a decline in the weight of the seminal vesicles and an increase of cell proliferation in their testicles. It was stated that over time, this could likely cause infertility or other reproductive problems. Another study in female hamsters showed they had fewer and smaller offspring.

This information is enough to convince some people to either stop using Stevia or to never start using it. For me, it’s not quite enough. I find it hard to believe Stevia is really this harmful, if the Japanese have been using it since the 70s with no report of problems. Also, these studies don’t specify exactly how much Stevia was given in relation to the body weight of the subject. No specific details of the study were given, so I can’t help but doubt its credibility. In addition, I also came across references to studies claiming Stevia is completely safe and even offers health benefits such as regulating blood sugar levels, lowering high blood pressure, improving digestion, and also calming an upset stomach. These studies showed Stevia has absolutely no effect the reproductive system, even when given in large doses (2,500 mg or 2.5 grams per kilogram of body weight).

Stevia is not approved by the FDA as a food additive, which is why I wasn’t able to find any prepackaged products with Stevia. The reason it isn’t approved is not because tests show it’s unsafe but because the toxicological information on Stevia is too inadequate to determine its safety. Basically, no one has done enough extensive research to prove one way or another. Part of this may be because no one wants to spend the big bucks to get it tested. Since Stevia is a natural product, it requires no patent to produce, and that gives less of a motive for companies to take Stevia under their wing because anyone could take a piece of the market. However, the FDA did approve Stevia to be marketed as a dietary supplement.

My take on it is that Stevia is probably safe in moderation–just like the artificial sweeteners. I’m sure the same people who think Stevia isn’t safe, also feel artificial sweeteners aren’t safe. I’m going to give Stevia a try. There are a couple of reasons why I would like to try Stevia. One being, I would like to have an alternative to artificial sweetener because artificial sweeteners cause me to experience  gas, bloating, and headaches, when used regularly. Also, I have read that Stevia is a much better option for those prone to yeast infections because supposedly the yeast do feed off of the artificial sweeteners. I have severely cut back on my intake of artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols since I did my 2 weeks without them. Some weeks I don’t even have any, and when I do it’s only once during the week. Overall, my vagina feels healthier. Last week I had my period. The little irritation I feel after my period was still there for a day or two but didn’t last nearly as long as it had in the past when I was using artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols daily. In the past, it would last an entire week after my period. I’m curious to see how things down there react to Stevia.

Macrodantin Review

Macrodantin (also known as Nitrofurantoin, macrobid macrodantin, or macrobid) is prescribed to patients with urinary tract infections. It can be used to treat an existing urinary tract infection, or it can be used as a preventative measure for those with recurring urinary tract infections. It is usually prescribed for 6 months or longer to those with recurring infections. It is best to take this medicine with food because stomach upset often occurs. Typically, Macrodantin will be taken twice daily–once in the morning and once in the evening. The medicine does not interfere with birth control. During the first few days, it is common to experience side effects such as upset stomach, headache, dizziness, loss of appetite, and nausea. These symptoms should disappear once your body adjusts to the medicine. Contact your doctor if these symptoms worsen or do not clear up after a few days. If you experience any of the following, inform your doctor: yellowing of eyes/skin, cough, chills, muscle aches, tingling of hands or feet, unusual weakness. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience the following: rash, trouble breathing, fever, swelling.

Macrodantin was prescribed to me by my urologist as a preventative measure because I was suffering from chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs). It was to be taken for 6 months, twice daily. I took the medicine as instructed. For the first few days I did experience headache, dizziness, and nausea. Over the course of treatment I also experienced some short term hair loss. I didn’t have bald spots or anything, but my hair became thinner. The thickness of my hair returned to normal with in a few months after going off the medicine. Macrodantin seemed to make the chronic urinary tract infection problem better, but it didn’t completely fix the problem because I had about 3 flare ups while on the medicine. Those flare ups didn’t turn into a full blown UTI because my doctor had given me a stronger medicine to take in the case of flare ups. Also, my urologist said Macrodantin would not cause yeast infections. I found this to be false. After being on the medicine for about 3 months, I developed a yeast infection problem where I would get them every month and sometimes more. My gynecologist, after exhausting all other possible causes for these recurring yeast infections, concluded it could be the Macrodantin. I insisted my urologist said it wouldn’t cause them, but after doing some research online, I found that it is possible. It wasn’t listed as one of the side effects in the pamphlet that came with the pills, but several sites online with information about the medicine said prolonged use or repeated periods of using Macrodantin may result in a secondary infection such as, oral, bladder, or vaginal yeast infection. This is a very unpleasant side effect, and a difficult condition to clear up. I wish this had been listed as a side effect on the pamphlet.

My urologist suggested I stay on Macrodantin for an additional 6 months, since I had so many flare ups (one was towards the end of the 6 months). I made the decision to stop taking the medicine and opt for a natural prevention method of diet and supplements because I didn’t want to worsen my yeast infection condition. I was not very pleased with the results of Macrodantin–not just because of the side effects, but because it wasn’t as effective at preventing UTIs as I had hoped it would be. If your doctor prescribed this medicine to you for an extended period of time, please make sure you are fully aware of all the possible side effects. Being on any type of antibiotic for a long period of time  puts a person at risk for throwing off the good bacteria balance in the body. Definitely do your research online.

StarStar(Rated 2/5 Stars)

Summer’s Eve Feminine Deodorant Spray

Summer’s Eve Feminine Deodorant Spray neutralizes odor and absorbs moisture. It can be sprayed on undergarments, pantyhose, and pads/pantyliners as well. The spray comes in a couple of different scents, tropical rain, island splash, baby powder, and ultra extra strength. I began using this spray because I remembered my mother using it during her period when I was a child. No matter what scent you buy, Summer’s Eve has a very distinct smell. It sort of lingers in the air after you’ve sprayed it. I used it only during my period to spray a light mist on my pads and pantyliners each time I put a new one on. I wanted to smell as fresh as I possibly could during my period. I didn’t seem to have much of a problem using the spray in my teens. It did the trick as far as keeping me fresh down there.

Once I got older and into my 20s, I found I could no longer use the spray because it always seemed to cause a yeast infection. If you are prone to yeast infections, I would not recommend using this product. The spray can encourage your pH balance to be off. The vagina is a delicate part of your body as it is, and those who have an extra sensitive vagina should not use this. For those who are able to use it, Summer’s Eve products can be purchased at drugstores, grocery stores, and super stores. You can also find it online. It costs about $4-$5 for a 1.5 oz spray bottle and that will last a while.

StarStar(Rated 2/5 Stars)