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Old 04-18-2008, 12:53 PM
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Default Stevia May Benefit the Immune System

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Immune up regulatory response of a non-caloric natural sweetener, stevioside.

Sehar I, Kaul A, Bani S, Pal HC, Saxena AK.



Pharmacology Division, Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR), Canal Road, 180001 Jammu, India.

Immunomodulation is a process, which alters the immune system of an organism by interfering with its functions. This interference results in either immunostimulation or immunosuppression. An immunomodulator is any substance that helps to regulate the immune system. This "regulation" is a normalization process, so that an immunomodulator helps to optimise immune response.

Immunomodulators are becoming very popular in the worldwide natural health industry as these do not tend to boost immunity, but to normalize it. Keeping this in view, major efforts have to be directed to modulate the immune responses, to permit effective treatment of various ailments associated with immune system and thus the development of a safe and effective immunomodulator for clinical us.

Leaves of Stevia rebaudiana are a source of several sweet glycosides of steviol. The major glycoside, stevioside, diterpenoid glycoside-is used in oriental countries as a food sweetener. Its medical use is also reported as a heart tonic. Besides, it is used against obesity, hypertension, and stomach burn and to lower uric acid levels.

Here in this study, stevioside was tested for its immunomodulatory activity on different parameters of the immune system at three different doses (6.25, 12.5 and 25mg/kg p.o.) on normal as well as cyclophosphamide treated mice. Stevioside was found effective in increasing phagocytic activity, haemagglutination antibody titre and delayed type hypersensitivity. In parallel, stevioside substantially increase proliferation in the LPS and Con A stimulated B and T cells, respectively.

Present study, therefore, reveals that the drug holds promise as immunomodulating agent, which acts by stimulating both humoral as well as cellular immunity and phagocytic function.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...ubmed_RVDocSum
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Old 04-18-2008, 12:56 PM
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Also, another study indicating the safety of stevia:

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Apparent lack of pharmacological effect of steviol glycosides used as sweeteners in humans. A pilot study of repeated exposures in some normotensive and hypotensive individuals and in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics.

Barriocanal LA, Palacios M, Benitez G, Benitez S, Jimenez JT, Jimenez N, Rojas V.

Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, 3rd Internal Medicine Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Clinical Hospital, National University Asunción, Mayor Bullo 315, Asuncion, Paraguay.

Steviol glycosides, isolated from the plant Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) Bertoni, have been used as safe sweetening agents for more than 30 years. Beneficial effects of high doses of steviol glycosides on hyperglycemia and hypertension have been previously described when these abnormalities are present.

This study was designed to evaluate the effects of steviol glycosides on blood glucose and on blood pressure (BP) in 3 groups of individuals. This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, long-term study in three groups of patients: Group 1: subjects with Type 1 diabetes; Group 2: subjects with Type 2 diabetes; and Group 3: subjects without diabetes and with normal/low-normal BP levels.

The subjects in each group were randomly allocated to active treatment (the steviol glycoside stevioside: 250mgt.d.s.) or to placebo treatment and followed-up for 3 months. Post-treatment systolic BP, diastolic BP, glucose and glycated hemoglobin (HbA(1c)) were not significantly different from baseline measurements, except for the placebo Type 1 diabetics group where a significant difference was observed for systolic BP and glucose.

No side effects were observed in the two treatment groups. This study shows that oral steviol glycosides, taken as sweetener are well tolerated and have no pharmacological effect.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...ubmed_RVDocSum
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Old 04-18-2008, 07:01 PM
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you know something... your post just made something click. I have been using stevia 90% of the time (except when I don't have access because I'm out of the house or just out of stevia).

and ... in spite of the fact that I forgot to start taking quercetin in the spring... I have not noticed much of a problem with spring this year.

I wonder if the stevia has something to do with this? hmmmm..

well.. I think I will keep on using it!

Thanks, Harry, for posting this.
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Old 04-18-2008, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Immunomodulators are becoming very popular in the worldwide natural health industry as these do not tend to boost immunity, but to normalize it. Keeping this in view, major efforts have to be directed to modulate the immune responses, to permit effective treatment of various ailments associated with immune system and thus the development of a safe and effective immunomodulator for clinical us.
how does this work? how does an Immunomodulator "normalize" the functions of an organ? I've always wondered about that. (and I've always wondered if this was hype). It would seem that a certain herb substance would have a certain action regardless of whether the body "needed" it or not.

do you know, Harry?
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Old 04-18-2008, 10:36 PM
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ST,

The research I recall tends to rely mostly on cell-studies ... that show that stimulated/insulted immune cells "calm down" when exposed to certain natural substances.

Then, either in-vivo animal and/or human studies test to see if these natural extracts alter elevated immune markers (associated with particular diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus) or counter the symptoms associated with these diseases.

One herbal extract that has been studied in such a manner is Cat's Claw.

http://www.raysahelian.com/catsclaw.html

On the other hand, there are also studies that indicate that Cat's Claw can boost certain aspects of one's immune system:

Quote:
Cat’s Claw Boosts Immune Health

Animal and human studies suggest that, in addition to exhibiting powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, cat’s claw naturally boosts the immune system, strengthening its defenses against the multitude of pathogens encountered each day in the air, water, and environment.


In a study of cat’s claw’s effects on the immune system of rats, eight weeks of cat’s claw supplementation significantly elevated the animals’ white blood cell count, suggesting an improved ability to fight off infectious invaders. Adult men who supplemented with cat’s claw for six months likewise experienced an increase in their white blood cell count, indicating enhanced immune function.9


Another clinical study indicates that cat’s claw may help boost the efficacy of vaccines. When adults supplemented with cat’s claw for two months before receiving a pneumonia vaccination, their antibody titers (an indication of immunity to pneumonia) remained at higher levels five months longer than in the control subjects. This finding suggests that when used with a vaccine, cat’s claw confers additional protection against the pneumonia virus.10
http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/...atsclaw_01.htm

Most articles ultimately conclude that, if you have an autoimmune condition, to be very careful about using Cat's Claw ... because the research is lacking. The one possible exception is it's use in RA ... because some clinical research has been carried out in that case.

That's the best I can do at this hour. I hope that partially answers your question.
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