Stevia extract sweeteners study shows promising impact on liver health
A popular sweetener called stevia has been linked to potential improvements in a common condition called fatty liver disease, according to a new study. The research comes from the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, where experts evaluated the effects of sugar alternatives on liver health. Based on the results, a clinical trial that further evaluates the effects is now underway.
Sugar has been linked to a number of health problems ranging from type 2 diabetes to the development of certain types of cancer. Additionally, excessive sugar intake can lead to the development of obesity and promote the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a liver disease that is not the result of driving with alcohol.
For these reasons, many people are turning to sugar substitutes for both synthetic and natural varieties, the latter of which includes stevia, a plant-based sweetener. The new study examines the type of effects these sweeteners may have on liver health, including their potential to reduce signs of liver disease.
The study involved a preclinical model used to test stevia extract and sucralose, two common sweeteners often used in desserts and sugary drinks. Compared to sugar, the researchers found that stevia improved markers associated with fatty liver disease and lowered glucose levels.
Manufacturers have included, among other things, the amount of fat in the liver and fibrosis. These positive effects could be due to changes in gut bacteria and decreased cellular stress, according to study leader Rohit Kohli, MBBS, MS. More research is needed, however, and this is where the clinical trial comes in.