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Stevia and Anxiety

Updated June 26, 2017

The sensation of occasional anxiousness, or a sense of worry, affects most individuals from time to time. Anxiety can have a variety of causes, including the ingredients in your food. Stevia is a type of sugar substitute, but unlike sugar and some artificial sweeteners, stevia does not seem to cause symptoms of anxiety or irritability.

Anxiety

Anxiety can cause a multitude of symptoms, including stomach upset, sweating, irritability, insomnia, muscle tension and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with daily activities. The underlying cause of anxiety sometimes remains unknown, although this condition is most likely due to the action of certain neurotransmitters in your brain, including norepinephrine and serotonin. General anxiety disorder, or GAD, involves anxiety that is unrelated to specific causes. GAD often lasts more than six months and disrupts your daily life. Certain substances, such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine, might increase your feelings of anxiety and worry, but no evidence links stevia to this condition.

Stevia

Highly refined stevia contains rebaudioside A. This refined preparation is a substance that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration generally recognizes as safe, meaning it is suitable for use as a food additive. This type of sugar substitute might help with weight management, although consuming too many foods and drinks that contain sugar substitutes can still lead to weight gain, due to other sources of calories, such as fats and complex carbs. Although stevia is unlikely to cause anxiety, you might experience some mild side effects, such as nausea.

Artificial Sweeteners

Other types of sugar substitutes commonly cause symptoms of anxiety. Both aspartame and sucralose might cause feelings of anxiety. Aspartame might also cause numerous other symptoms, such as dizziness, depression, weight gain, insomnia and hearing loss. Other symptoms related to the consumption of sucralose include bloating, headache and diarrhea.

Precautions

Although most people tolerate stevia well, this herb might alter blood sugar levels, raising a concern for individuals with diabetes. If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor before substituting natural sugar with sugar substitutes, including stevia. As with all herbal products, seek medical advice before using this herb during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

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About the Author

Piper Li, a professional freelance writer, began writing in 1989. Her articles appear online at Biz Mojo, Walden University and various other websites. She is the co-editor for "Kansas Women: Focus on Health." With a bachelor's degree in journalism from Mesa State, Li enjoys writing about health, horticulture and business management.