Is Stevia giving me a Migraine Attack?

Some people have reported that stevia, or a sweetener made from stevia, have given them headaches and migraine symptoms.  Is this a rare problem?  Or is it something we should all be concerned about?

Let’s get one thing straight.  Researching stevia will drive you crazy.  It’s a political football, an economic hot potato, and a constant source of controversy for health nuts, diet gurus and medical professionals.

Buzzwords and catch phrases abound.  Let’s get a few out of the way right now:

  • “Natural”:  It’s time we all realized that the word natural on a label means almost nothing.  Are all the ingredients natural?  Is a genetically modified plant “natural”?  Is a chemical derived from a plant natural even though it’s been highly processed?  Does “natural” mean safe?  Seriously, ignore the word “natural”.  A walk in the forest might be natural, but it’s highly suspect on a package in the supermarket.
  • “Used for centuries”:  You’ll hear it over and over – stevia has been used worldwide for centuries.  That’s nice.  Did people of ancient times use the same manufacturing and packaging techniques?  Did they eat it along with the drugs I take?  Did they eat the same amount, along with the same diet I’m on?  And what clinic trials were done with these ancient peoples to see how they’re health changed when they stopped using stevia?  Yes, I’m glad nations weren’t wiped out in the past by stevia use.  But I’m really not sure how much this proves about that ingredient in my diet drink.
  • “generally recognized as safe”:  The GRAS phrase is used by the FDA, but it does not tell us that certain people will not have side effects from eating it.  Lots of ingredients are GRAS but cause problems for migraineurs.

Now none of this tells us that stevia is dangerous.  It does show that a lot of the hype that we’ve heard and will continue to hear does not necessarily prove that stevia is perfectly safe for everyone.

What is Stevia?

Stevia - migraine trigger?
Stevia – all natural if eaten like this.  Maybe.  (Photo courtesy of hardworkinghippy)

Stevia is a plant.  But you might actually be asking, what is this artificial sweetener I’ve heard about that people call “stevia”?

Unfortunately, we run into our first problem here.  Stevia is not one thing.  Various products are made from stevia, and some are more processed than others.  They use various substances.  There is no one stevia.

And there’s another problem.  Stevia sweeteners often come with “fillers”, and some of those are safer than others.

Are Stevia Sweeteners Safe?

Which ones?  Frankly, we could do research into every product that contains a derivative of stevia – except that there is limited research out there.  Most researchers seem to agree that stevia derivatives themselves are generally safe in small quantities for short term use.

But what about the other ingredients?

A search online will turn up a number of possible side effects of stevia – but again, stevia in which form?  How much per day?  Once you start trying to connect the studies with the product on the shelf, things get a little more tricky.

Now there are some people who may have an allergy to stevia products.  Some people have found that hay fever translates into a bad reaction to stevia.

The biggest concerns when it comes to stevia are related to sweeteners in general.  Again, research specifically on stevia is pretty limited compared to the tidal wave of stevia products that are in the pipeline.

However, there are growing concerns that artificial sweeteners may cause obesity (in some cases even more than sugar itself), and may lead to other imbalances in the body, especially if used regularly.

Stevia and Migraine

At this point, stevia does not seem to be high on the list of migraine triggers.  However, migraine affects everyone differently, and it is possible that stevia could, in some cases, trigger migraine symptoms.

But before we blame stevia derivatives, if you suspect it may be a trigger, ask yourself some questions:

  • What stevia am I talking about?  Which product am I actually using?
  • Unless I’m just chewing an organically grown stevia leaf, what “fillers” or other ingredients could be responsible for the migraine symptoms?
  • What other changes have I made in my diet that could be causing problems?  (including eating less sugar, and any sudden changes, even if you consider them to be good changes)

There are some concerns about stevia and low blood pressure.  Stevia may interact with calcium channel blockers and anti-inflammatory medication.

So take a close look at any changes in your symptoms, and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.

Conclusion?

This is a bit of an unusual introduction to a possible migraine trigger.  The reason is that there really is so little research on how a specific derivative of stevia may affect someone with a specific condition, such as migraine.  And stevia is not like a drug, where you would give patients 30mg a day to see how they react.  It’s eaten in combination with other things, and it has the potential to drastically change your diet in a short period of time.

Typical advice for migraine patients is best repeated here.  Avoid fast, drastic changes.  Watch your symptoms carefully.  Read labels.  Do your own research.

When it comes to stevia, there is good reason to be skeptical of both the “for” and “against” sides of the argument.  But for most of us, a little sugar or honey in moderation seems to outshine most other sweeteners.

If you feel that stevia has increased your migraine symptoms, leave a comment.  Let’s keep the conversation going.

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97 comments… add one
  • Chris Sep 22, 2014

    I didn’t have any problem with the few Stevia products I tried, other than I didn’t care for the taste.

    I tried Nectresse, which is made from Monk Fruit, and while it didn’t cause a full blown migraine, it caused an ongoing headache until I clued in that the headache started the day I first used it. Stopped using it and the headache was gone the next day.

  • Aurora Sep 25, 2014

    I am using stevia these days and it doesn’t trigger a headache. I use it minimally, in fact just once a week. When I bake or make jams, I use 1 level tsp. stevia for every 25 gms. of sugar. I am okay with it.

  • Colleen Jan 5, 2015

    Thank you for this article. I thought I was imagining things. I started having migraines after using Stevia In The Raw(In the past) & a vanilla flavored liquid stevia extract(Whole Foods) in my coffee.

    I’ll try stevia powder from an organic herbal provider and see if it has the same effect. If it does, I’ll have to stop using it period. If not, I’ll be all set and can stop using sugar (which is my goal).

  • Potato Jan 10, 2015

    My wife uses ‘Stevia in the Raw’, too; today she suspected it, so I have been researching it as a possible trigger…

  • Dave Jan 13, 2015

    My 12 year old son takes Topamax 300 mg/day in divided doses for migraine prevention. Recently he started drinking Coca Cola Life – sweetened with Stevia Leaf – and his migraines have returned daily. We have eliminated the beverage and are hoping this will eliminate this flare-up. I will post an update with our results.

    • Majken Jan 29, 2015

      I just googled stevia migraines, because my migraines have gone completely crazy the past week. I have been drinking coca cola life since saturday, and the migraines have intensified day by day. I’m gonna take a wild guess and say it’s somehow related to the drink. I had to double the meds yesterday and still felt it. Was fine all day today, but on my second glass of cola life I could feel it coming on.
      I have never gotten a migraine from any stevia products before, so I found it a bit odd. Might be something in the recipe for the soda triggering it I guess.

    • Even though Coca Cola Life is sweetened partially with stevia, it still contains migraine triggers such as caramel color and potassium benzoate. The phosphoric acid in soda is also harmful for migraineurs as it prevents the body from absorbing calcium and magnesium. It’s also worth noting that even though Coca Cola Life is partially sweetened with stevia, the second ingredient listed is cane sugar, meaning the drink is mostly composed of water & sugar. So if sugar is a migraine trigger for your son, Coca Cola Life wouldn’t be a good choice.

    • Nicole May 7, 2017

      I know this is an old post, but I had to respond when you said your son is taking 300mg of Topamax…
      I am a chronic migraine sufferer, have been for about 8 years. I took Topamax for the first 5 years of that time. I stopped taking it when my doc increased the amount I was taking to 350 mg a day. I started having problems remembering what I read and sometimes even understanding what I read. Being a junior high reading teacher, that made life difficult. One of my docs actually said that they secretly call it “Dopamax” because it makes you thin and stupid!
      When I went off Topamax, I was surprised to find out just how foggy I really was. The reading problems haven’t completely gone away, but have improved a little. I read an article that Topamax can cause permanent cognitive problems.
      I just recommend keeping an eye out for signs your child is struggling in school. At 14 or so, your child will probably not say much to you if they are. (speaking from 15 years of experience teaching that age group 😊).

  • Kim Jan 16, 2015

    Been using stevia in liquid form for about a week. Last night I had to go to the ER with an extreme headache that lasted 3 days . 2 shots later the headache went away but I have a weird feeling it was from this.

  • Susan Jan 21, 2015

    First time I consumed it was in Bigelow Tea and then Keurig. It causes a headache, nausea, lose some sensory feeling on my right side, mild vertigo, and light headiness within 15 minutes of consumption. Needless to say I try to avoid it like the plague.

  • K Jan 24, 2015

    Kim,
    I was drinking a soda that was zero calories because it was sweetened with Stevia. I was beginning to suffer from daily migraines and couldn’t figure out why. This went on for weeks. When I ran out of this soda supply, as I as drinking one a day, my husband noticed I stopped complaining about the headaches. So I stayed off of it for about a week and had no headaches. Just to experiment, I drank the same drink again and sure enough, the migraine came back. I believe the Stevia was causing it. I was disappointed to find I probably need to stay away from it. So it is very possible yours was caused by this too, but who knows for sure. I just know it gives me headaches.

  • Gillian Jan 25, 2015

    Had stevia for first time last night and woke up with a horrendous migraine. My migraine are usually hormone related so it was really unusual to have one at this time. Had an inking it could be the stevia, googled it and see it’s not uncommon.

  • Jennifer Jan 25, 2015

    Tried shakeology which has stevia extract for the first time and have had a migraine with achey eyeballs for 3 days . I eat a super clean Palio diet and have never had headaches like this. Booo shakeology.

    • Katie Carlberg Apr 8, 2016

      Hi Jennifer,
      I have tried shakeology twice now. For about a month last fall and again last week. I have been horrible pressure headaches. Was your reaction something like this? If you could let me know that would be great. My doctors have been stumped. Thank you

  • Heidi Feb 1, 2015

    I used a large dose of Stevia with my iced tea yesterday (and drank a large amount). Had the worst migraine headache I’ve ever had last night with shooting pain behind my eyes. I thought I was going to have a stroke. Still have the headache this morning (many Advils later) so decided to google it–and found this site. I threw it all out this morning. No more Stevia!! Horrid stuff. Didn’t really like the taste either.

  • Melissa Feb 3, 2015

    Have narrowed my migraines down by trial and error and recently found stevia is on that list. You do this by eating non trigger foods no adding stevia. Unfortunately it is now in many protein shakes (shakeology and others), so finding one without it is tricky! Please let me know what you have found. Needs to be vegan and GF..thanks!

  • Jenny Feb 5, 2015

    I usually don’t take anything with any artificial sweeteners; however I was tempted to try Skinnygirl water enhancer when I saw it was “sweetened naturally” with cane sugar and Stevia extract, among other elements. The product tastes great; however I’ve had an ongoing headache and uncontrolled migraines most winter. I never considered my water enhancer until today. I’m going to eliminate it and see what happens. I guess I can’t trust anything but honey and cane sugar. LOL

  • Jenn Feb 9, 2015

    When stevia entered my diet, migraines returned – raw, in products, didn’t matter. Did numerous controls and trials and, for me, stevia is a no-go. Doesn’t taste great anyway. I’m more a sugar and honey gal anyway.

  • Pam Feb 11, 2015

    Stevia in Crystal light Pure caused headaches for
    me who gets migraines and for coworker with out this problem. Both stopped the beveraage. Coworkers headaches stopped and mine lessened greatly.

  • Robin Feb 20, 2015

    I had frequent bad migraines from my early 20’s until I had a hysterectomy many years latter. Since the surgery I would rarely get one and when I did it would be mild. In January I was advised to use Stevia in the Raw by my doctor, instead of Equal or Splenda. I started having daily headaches, but it did not occur to me that Stevia could be the problem. Until I ran out of Stevia for two days. The second day my head did not hurt at all. Still not seeing the connection, I bought another box and started drinking my Stevia sweetened lemon water again. I ended up in the ER with the worst migraine I have had in 10 years or more.

    I can not prove it was the Stevia in the Raw, but the circumstantial evidence is enough for me to learn to totally avoid the stuff.

  • Lisa Mar 1, 2015

    I have had migraines my whole life. I am in my 40’s and know my hormones could be to blame but I have been getting daily tension headaches and my migraines are coming more frequently. I switched to stevia about the same time this all started so I am going to cut it out of my diet and see if it makes a difference.

  • Amy Mar 4, 2015

    Even green stevia leaves straight off the plant give me headaches.

  • Kathleen Mar 15, 2015

    I am not a migraine sufferer, I am 51 years old and I used to often suffer from tension headaches particularly when waking from sleep, but barely at all in recent years. Yesterday I bought a dispenser of Canderel Green sweetener tablets for my cups of tea and coffee. I dislike all other artificial sweeteners and get a “hangover” from asparatame, so wanted to try the stevia as I had read good things. I woke from my one hour mid afternoon nap yesterday with quite a bad tension headache. I had to massage my own head and neck for about 20 minutes before it started to dissipate. Exactly the same thing happened again today. I immediately wondered if the stevia tablets were the culprit as it was a post-lunch mug of tea with stevia that was the only difference in my usual routine. I googled “stevia headaches?” and was amazed at the screeds of results that popped up. I can’t prove beyond doubt that it was the stevia tablets that are to blame, but I’m not willing to take the chance again. These are going in the bin.

  • Ron Hebshie Mar 18, 2015

    Thank you for pointing out that “natural” doesn’t automatically mean “good for you.” Stevia might be “natural” but it is often highly processed. It triggers my migraines with the same intensity as any artificial sweetener or high fructose corn syrup. The Stevia connection to my migraines was re-confirmed thanks to a sneaky move by PepsiCo. When they re-designed the packaging for Sierra Mist late last year, they also quietly re-formulated the regular, non-diet soda and added Stevia to the mix. There is no mention of the reformulation anywhere on the product packaging. What has changed is the old “made with real sugar” copy now reads “made with no artificial sweeteners.” I’m a label reader and even I didn’t notice what I believe was a deliberately subtle change. Sierra Mist was the only mass market soda I bought because it was all natural, had no HFCS and was made with cane sugar. The return of my migraines coincided with the spiking of Sierra Mist with Stevia. I only wish I had clued in to the change sooner. Sierra Mist is now on my “must avoid” list thanks to Stevia in the mix.

  • joelle Mar 20, 2015

    I have recently started eating Oikos Triple Zero…0 added sugar, 0 added artificial sweeteners, 0 fat, I was ecstatic to see they came out with a yogurt with no artificial sweeteners!! I have had ongoing headaches for the last 2 weeks, using Maxalt regularly, which is unusual for me. Today I read the label and saw that Stevia is an ingredient. I should have read the label before, I don’t use any sugar substitutes, “natural” or otherwise. Oikos is in the trash!

  • Martin Mar 21, 2015

    I’ve been headache free for a while on a gluten free diet. But recently I started getting terrible headaches, and waking up to terrible headaches in the morning. Today I was feeling better, but after drinking a Pepsi Next (with only Stevia as sweetener), immediately I got sharp migraine headache. I thought this Pepsi Next was natural!!! I’ve been drinking it for about two weeks now, so the timing lines up with my latest bout of headaches!

  • Kala Mar 25, 2015

    I started using Stevia in the raw and I kind of noticed a little headache, bit thought that it might be just because I’m cutting out some sugar. Well I saw coca cola life and was excited to try it, and ended up in bed with sunglasses! I didn’t put two and two together because I do get migraines sometimes, but honestly not usually that bad. One afternoon at work, I needed a pick me up so I grabbed another coca cola life, and that evening once again I was in bed with a terrible, horrendous migraine.

  • Marti Mar 25, 2015

    I finally gave up completely on artificial sweeteners – they ALL trigger horrendous migraines. I just stick with real sugar.

  • Colleen Epinger Apr 12, 2015

    Yes, I found that Stevia does indeed 100%, no doubt gives me migraines.

  • Christina Apr 12, 2015

    I’ve been using an “all natural” drink mix product that contains stevia and everytime I drink it, I get a terrible headache within a half an hour.

    • Lorena May 30, 2016

      I had the same effect. I bought a powder to mix with my water. And it had stevia. I started drinking it Friday night and oh my God got the worst head ache was vomitting all night. I thought a flu like going around. But two nights later I was at work again and again after 10 pm started drinking it and the headache came back soo had with nausea wanted to vomit again but never did. Threw out my water. This is horrible side effect.

  • Michelle Apr 24, 2015

    I started using stevia 3 weeks ago had banging headaches every day…didn’t have it last week and no headaches, had it this morning and a banging headache again…..too much of a coincidence not for it to be the stevia

  • Anita Britton Apr 28, 2015

    I’m so glad that I thought to Google stevia & migraines!! I’ve had migraines for 40 years, & have some definite known food triggers. Aspartame is a big no no. I’m also a type II diabetic, so was happy to see products sweetened with something other than aspartame. A few weeks ago, I started drinking Vitamin Water Zero, sweetened with stevia. I just realized today, after worsening everyday headaches, & frequent full blown migraines that the increase coincides with the stevia sweetened drinks!! Am stopping them now, & hope that my headaches back off.

  • Casey May 12, 2015

    I too have had severe headaches while using stevia. Once I realised the headaches would subside whenever I travelled away from home (I wasn’t using stevia on the road) I tried stopping stevia altogether and this has provided relief. I suffer from migraines but these headaches were different than what is typical for me, certainly different from those induced by my other food triggers, and less responsive to triptan medications. There was a feeling of pressure behind my eyes, my vision blurred more than usual, and my face was constantly numb. It took me so long to figure out what the problem was, I feel like an idiot. Plus I subjected my to claustrophobic self to an MRI, thankfully my insurance covered it.

  • Cristie May 14, 2015

    I know that artificial sweeteners trigger my complex migraines and try to avoid them At all costs. I let someone else do my shopping recently and they purchased a Greek yogurt that stated it contained no artificial sweeteners. Ate it for breakfast today, an hour later I am experiencing vertigo, blurred vision, numbness in my right fingertips and lips and a searing pain in my head. I most definitely will be adding stevia to my list of triggers going forward.

  • chiqui May 14, 2015

    I started taking Stevia extract as my sweetener for my coffee. I had bad headache which became a migraine for 3 days. I suspect it’s the Stevia since it’s the only new thing I’m taking. I stopped using it today and I didn’t have a headache. I will observe the next days of stopping Stevia and see the effect.

  • Sammy Jun 6, 2015

    I’ve now tried a few products containing Stevia and all of them gave me a migraine. I normally use real sugar or honey and do not have any issues.

  • Rina Jun 10, 2015

    I’ve known for a while now that artificial sweeteners give me moderate headaches to migraines. Aspartame and Sucralose are the worst. I’m a big Aloe drinker, my fave being sweetened with honey so it carries calories. A few days ago I discovered an aloe drink called Aloe Gloe that was sweetened with Stevia and had only 18 calories a bottle. I’ve nevet consumed large quantities of it before since many sweeteners like Stevia in the Raw contain added artificial ingredients I avoid.

    I’ve been drinking this stuff for days, and have been suffering pretty severe headaches that pain meds don’t help. I began to suspect the Stevia since it’s the only thing in my diet to have changed. I was led to this site during my research. I’ll be stopping the drink tonight and will see if my constant headache will cease.

  • lisa Jun 11, 2015

    I’ll be free of headaches & feeling great, but I noticed whenever I put stevia in my drink the headache returned. Didnt know if maybe some sort of allergic reaction to it? So no more for me

  • Aimee Jun 29, 2015

    Wow!! It was just a thought to google migraines and stevia. I’ll be ditching the stuff. Love the article. It puts into perspective most “all natural” products are a processed food source.

  • Rick Jul 18, 2015

    I bought a bottle of Kal Pure Stevia Extract in the drop form. I have never had Migrains or major head aches. TODAY.., I was suffering from a Migraine or major head ache on the left side of my head, back of my left eye to the back of my head. Pain level sometimes a 7. it lasted for 11 hours. This was very unusual for me.. So I decided to google Stevia and Migraines. There are comments everywhere about the possibilility that Stevia could be a major trigger for migrains.. I will not use my Stevia drops for a couple of days to see what that will result.

  • Trena Sep 17, 2015

    I have had bad experiences with Stevia in drinks and also the packet Stevia with inulin fiber. I was starting to have migraines more often and my co-worker ask me what I was eating that I hadn’t been eating in the last 2-weeks. I told her nothing but I am now drinking drinks with no sugar and artificial sweeteners. I stopped drinking them and low and behold my migraines started easing up and went away. I didn’t like the taste anyway. I have found that sweeteners trigger my migraines and my doctor advised me to have only one if I do decide to have one. He felt it was the intake amount. He also said it could be the trigger to something else I ate that causes the migraine. I have to look ate the ingredients before I buy anything to drink. I head will let me know within 1 – 12 hrs with a drink and within 24 for food.

  • Jeff Sep 29, 2015

    I like Stevia but I started getting Migraines which I haven’t had since my teenage years (I am 53). There was no drastic change, I was gradually phasing out saccharin and relying more on Stevia for my sweetener. When I got to near 100% Stevia I started having the migraines. For some instinctive reason, I suspected that the Stevia was the cause so I stopped the use of it entirely and the migraines ceased. No axe to grind here. Stevia is a great product and I prefer it’s use over other non-sugar sweeteners, but in me Stevia or it in combination with other things caused me to have migraine headaches. I just want other people to know this is a possibility and not an imaginary phenomenon.

  • Bonnie Oct 13, 2015

    I have been getting migraines when I drink tea in the late afternoon. I use 3 drops of whole leaf stevia concentrate, only 2 ingrediants stevia and purified water. It is either the stevia or the peppermint tea. Migraine comes on about 30 minutes later. I feel progressively worse into the night.

  • mary spix Oct 20, 2015

    2nd time I have tried stevia and it gives me a horrible migraine. Will never use it again

  • GP Oct 21, 2015

    I’ve been drinking a Stevia sweetened soft drink called Zevia for at least 3 years. Lately I’ve been experiencing headaches, and just yesterday had the worst migraine ever. Went to the Dr. for treatment, and started to learn about migraine causes. I drank a Zevia the night before my migraine. As I searched for possible causes I got a gut feeling about the Zevia and did some research which brought me here. Surprise surprise, look at all the testimony about Stevia sweetener! While there may be other factors that caused my migraine, I believe Stevia to be a contributing one. I’m gonna stop consuming it for a while and see what happens.

  • Abby Oct 24, 2015

    I tried stevia (purevia) back in 2010 in my coffee. I developed debilitating headaches for a week then had a moment of clarity, stopped using the stevia and the headaches went completely away. Since then I have accidentally bought some things with stevia only to develop the headaches again and realize too late they had used stevia. The latest is a b12 vitamin chew from GNC. I thought all week I was having horrible tension headaches then one morning looked at the b12 chews I had started taking five days ago-sure enough there was stevia. It seems to take 24-36hrs after my last consumption of stevia for the headache to fully go away.

  • Melissa Nov 1, 2015

    I have some pretty specific ingredients as migraine triggers including artificial sweeteners and Stevia – not sure which version since it has been a few years since I tried. So far xylitol hasn’t been a trigger but it is just in my toothpaste and gum etc. I haven’t cooked with it.

    Another of my triggers – And it was a hard one to figure out and avoid is artificial vanilla or vanillin. It may be involved in a few of the scenarios I read here. (Hint it is in hollandaise sauce!)

    I know this was way back but someone asked for a protein powder earlier – I use organic hemp protein. You can get it on Amazon – nothing but hemp 🙂

  • Snowgirl Nov 2, 2015

    I wish I’d seen this article and comments long ago. Historically, I’d have 2-4 migraines a year, usually in spring. Since I begin using Stevia in the Raw after beginning a low carb lifestyle, migraines have come with increasing frequency, intensity and sometimes lasting days. The last few months have been horrible; I’ve considered seeing a neurologist. Work & home have suffered. I ran out of Stevia a week ago and the headaches stopped immediately. This, after two straight weeks of migraines. The pain behind my eyes, unbearable physical pressure on my temples and base of my skull, along with tight neck muscles and feeling overheated, trembling, wooziness, it’s bad. I think the Stevia product may have caused this. Thanks, all. Your comments have been very helpful.

  • Carl Nov 17, 2015

    I’ve found that nearly all artificial sweeteners trigger a migraine for me. I’ve tried Stevia, Sucralose, Aspartame, Saccharin, they’ve all been triggers for me. My neurologist suspects I’m extremely sensitive as Stevia is not usually a trigger for people. I’ve tried to stay away from all artificial sweeteners.

  • Adela Vallarino Dec 1, 2015

    All you posters just became my new best friends. My dad bought me coca cola sweetened with Stevia today. Drank it at lunch and before my university classes ended tonight, I walked out the door with my head pounding, jaw aching and intense nausea. I dunno how I drove home but when I arrived I was in excruciating pain. Only after throwing up my guts 3 hours later do I feel a bit better. Getting that nasty Stevia outta my system was Key. Stay away from it, it’s Poison.

  • Dave Dec 6, 2015

    Im not sure for sure. I heard Stevia was invented by Coca Cola. Watch this documentary called “Sweet Misery” on you tube. Its not about Stevia but it explains a lot of how sweetners are or actually not tested and put in our food. Basically we live in a capatilist society, everything is an open market, and we live in a free counrty so we can eat what we want even if it kills us as long as we’ve been warned. Like smoking… The FDA has been bought out so when a company says a food is safe and tested they just take their word for it based on test that only show positive results. I’m almost to the point that I want to grow my own food and I hate farming so that sucks….

  • Asok Asus Dec 8, 2015

    Stevia gave both myself and my wife excruciating headaches immediately after consumption; we tried several forms: highly refined, natural, etc. They all caused the same horrible effect.

  • Laura Dec 19, 2015

    Thanks all of you for confirming my thoughts. Not a soda drinker anymore, diet or otherwise (aspartame gave me a stomach aches if I had a aspartame-sweetened yogurt) but recently started using a protein powder sweetened with stevia leaf extract for breakfast. And the migraines started every mid-morning – mostly with auras – could not see well. Once I stopped using the protein powder – voila! – no more aura-based migraines. Think I’ll try the hemp-based protein powder.

  • Mike Dec 30, 2015

    Tried a new egg white protein powder last night, that contained Stevia. I’m now experiencing a severe headache this morning/afternoon. My first experience with Stevia will definitely be my last!

  • Johanna Feb 4, 2016

    I too think that my recent bout of migraines is attributed to Stevia. I had a bit of a stomach bug so I was drinking Tulsi Tummy Tea, which is sweetened with Stevia and I have had some of the worst migraines each day. I suffer from migraines normally but these headaches were unbearable and the worst I’d ever gotten. I know I get migraines from artificial sweeteners (aspartame) but didn’t think anything of the Stevia since it’s “natural” but I can definitely equate the migraines with the Stevia as I can recall other times I had similar products containing Stevia and I got the same intense migraines but hadn’t “connected the dots”.

  • The Moody Foodie Feb 13, 2016

    Stevia definitely does give me a headache. Not a full-blown migraine but a painful and persistant headache. It does not matter what form, whether it’s organic leaf in a tea, or an extract in another product. Too bad because it crops up in so many “healthy” products nowadays! I just bought a Holy Basil tea I was looking forward to trying — oops! They HAD to go put stevia leaf in it!!

  • Lu Feb 17, 2016

    Daily progressively worse headaches, finally figured out I started the new Stevia sweetener a few weeks prior. Problem solved. Back to using plain sugar, although much less per cup of tea/coffee. Takes time to get used to a less sweet taste but well worth it.

  • Sara Feb 25, 2016

    I started an elimination diet a while back to get to the root of migraines. All of the “triggers” were eliminated. A few months ago, I started drinking herbal tea to replace my afternoon coffee. I never enjoyed tea so I was adding stevia (organic, liquid form from Trader Joes). Headaches/migraines persisted. I was fighting an awful headache yesterday, got it under control with Aleve and Imitrex. I brewed tea with stevia and the headache rushed back. It FINALLY occurerd to me that stevia might be the issue. I have not consumed it since yesterday, and am feeling much better today. If the headaches subside then clearly stevia was the culprit and headache/migraine sufferers need to be warned! This may be more prevalent than we realize!

  • Jessica Mar 4, 2016

    I started using truvia a few weeks ago. I’ve been having chronic migraines that are different than my usual migraines. I finally realize it’s one thing new to my diet. I think that there might be a correlation between this product and my migraines.

  • Shelly C Mar 5, 2016

    I suffered from migraines as a teen and linked them to artificial sweeteners in diet soda which I stopped drinking. In the last few years I have dramatically changed my diet, limiting sugars and processed foods. I found some “natural” drinks in the health food store that contained stevia, and thinking it safe as a “natural sweetener” I bought a few. One sip is all it took for me. I was sipping at work and after about ten minutes started to feel that old familiar migraine coming on. I stay away from stevia in any product.

  • Kathy F Mar 12, 2016

    I too am glad I googled Stevia and headaches. I have had increasingly intense headaches, different than others I’ve had over the last several weeks. I hit my head hard a couple weeks ago so wasn’t sure if that was it, even had an MRI that was clear. I bought a box of Stevia at a big box store I think about a month ago because they didn’t have the ‘blue’ sweetener. I like the taste and have been increasing how much I use daily – in tea, coffee and lemon water. Hmm, headaches are getting worse! Going without completely starting right now to see if this is the culprit. Thanks for all the info!

  • Cassandra Apr 15, 2016

    I have had a horrific migraine all day. The absolute ONLY thing I have done different at all today is I added a packet of stevia (from the organic foods store here is town and the package claims it is organic) to my black coffee this morning. I know it has to be from the stevia.

  • Amy Apr 24, 2016

    I just started using stevia, packets to add to water and I started getting a bit of a headache. Since I do suffer migraines I toss it up to that. However again today I’m getting a headache. I’m going to not have any for a few days and see if it resolves, if it does I will try the stevia again and confirm if I do have another headache. I that it could be something not necessarily the stevia in the dry mix. 🙁

  • mj Apr 27, 2016

    I have been using a pre workout product for 3 day s and the subsequent 3 days I have had a migraine. Usually my trigger is high fructose corn syrup, so I was surprised. I am going to skip it today and see what happens tomorrow. I’ll keep you posted.

  • Cam May 3, 2016

    I have suffered from migraines for years,I am strict about what I eat and drink. The other day I had the weirdest migraine,like none I had before.severe nausea included. I thought it may have been an ingredient in the stew my partner made,or the cordial we had,as I am suss about any new foods or drinks I have had as soon as a migraine starts. I left off both ,just to be safe. My partner started to get a migraine today as well so I was curious about the cordial ingredients. Stevia was the only ingredient that I have never had before. I won’t be touching this poison again.

  • Mike May 8, 2016

    I received the migraine gene from my mother as did my brother and all four of my sisters. My worst episode lasted a week. I had the flu when it started and when I went to the doctor’s I was looking for relief from the headache not the flu, it was that bad.
    Fifteen years ago I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and started taking lithium carbonate. Several months later I realized that I had not had a migraine or even a bad headache since I started the lithium. To this day migraines are a thing of the past. However, I had picked up some Chobani Simply 100 yogurt for work and started eating it on Monday of that week. By the time I was ready to go home I had developed a nasty headache. I started going down through all of my known triggers but came up empty. Ibuprofen.
    Tuesday morning I still had the headache but it had subsided some. I took another yogurt to work with me. Shortly after eating it the intensity of the pain increased. More Ibuprofen. Still not connecting any triggers.
    The Wednesday routine followed Tuesday’s with more Ibuprofen. By Thursday I had developed such a bad headache that I had to leave work. I had not lost any work time due to a headache in over a decade. Somehow when I got home the pieces started to come together for me. I had started eating a new yogurt. Did it have anything in it that would affect me like this. Well, when I looked at the label I discovered that it contained Stevia. I stopped eating the yogurt and by Friday I felt fine.
    I had only one previous run in with Stevia. My daughter in law was trying to lose weight and made a fruit salad with Stevia. I got an immediate headache after eating the salad. I have stayed away from it since until the yogurt incident.
    I asked my doctor about all this and he poo-pood it and said that he had never heard of any ill affects from the sweetener.

  • Shell May 31, 2016

    I figured out various triggers for my migraines; however, at one point I had bad ones that lasted weeks at a time. The only new thing that I tried was Plexus Slim, which I really liked 🙁 Stopped taking that and the headaches stopped. Then I tried Shakeology and started getting headaches again. Went through the list of ingredients and the one likely common ingredient is Stevia. Stopped Shakeology and the headaches stopped. Tried it again in half the amount and got a bad headache a few hours after. I now read every label twice carefully before I eat anything.

  • Alex Jun 1, 2016

    I’ve had rare migraines when I finally cut back on my daily caffeine. I began a trial of Biocell Sport, a fruit juice purported to be a “nutraceutical” that decreases muscle and joint aches. It contains stevia extract and after 3 doses I awoke with significant migraine headache pain. I didn’t make the connection and took another dose. Now I’m pretty miserable reaching for tylenol. Thanks for helping me make this possible connection between stevia extract and migraines.

  • Diane Jul 3, 2016

    I am sensitive to chemicals, never take medications and watch my diet very carefully. STEVIA TRIGGERS MIGRAINES for me. This has been the case across different types of products (protein powder, magnesium supplement, breath mints, herb teas) on different types of occassions. The reaction is so consistent that it is obvious to me that stevia is the trigger, and my conclusion is that this chemical is not good for human consumption.

  • Jennifer Jul 5, 2016

    If I eat anything containing stevia…in any form…it comes in many forms, I get what I call a low level migraines. I tested this out on myself for YEARS. I even tried buying my own stevia. Every single time, I get a migraine. Now, I have chronic migraines, but even before mine became chronic, stevia was a problem. I have had migraines since I was about three years old. I have researched this online with no answers except to conclude that there just hasn’t been testing and data available. I am now starting to see products, in addition to all their other nutritional information, state that it contains no stevia, so maybe the word is starting to get out there.

  • JJ Aug 3, 2016

    I have started taking “Migrarelief” supplement and have not had a migraine in 3 months. I picked up a “diet” soda from a health food store on my way out and ended up with a 3-day Migraine – it had stevia in it which I’ve known caused migraines in the past, but I didn’t read the label, it only confirmed that I am still sensitive to stevia in any processed form. I have put stevia leaves in my tea with no problem. No other deviations from my usual diet or habits were significant except the stevia. — sticking with xylitol. So far, so good.

  • Irva Aug 16, 2016

    About 1 1/2 years ago, I switched from Splenda to Stevia. Many years ago, I would get ocular migraines. Not often, but they can be annoying. First there is an aura, flashing lights, usually on the side of my eyes. Then 20 to 30 minutes, I get a headache. Today, I got one right after I had my coffee with stevia in it. I also had one yesterday, around the same time. I don’t get them every day, but they usually occur in the morning. I drink my coffee black,but my last cup has 2-3 packets of stevia in it. So, it dawned on me, that maybe it’s the stevia. Does anyone else get ocular migraines and think stevia is the cause?

  • David Chaney Aug 17, 2016

    Yyyyyup! I get migraines from Stevia. No doubt. I have read about other people getting migraines also. Coke life being one of the reasons why. I think “artificial” sweeteners with high caffeine increase the chances of getting migraines for some reason.

  • Karen Werner Sep 4, 2016

    I rarely get headaches. I got diagnosed with late stage Lyme though in 2014, and the only time I ever got a horrendous headache was from a Herxheimer reaction to antibiotics with Lyme treatment. I decided to try Stevia extract, the type at Trader Joe’s and got a headache within an hour of trying a dropper full in water. Trying it again this morning to see if I get the same effect or not. It was a mild to moderate headache but definitely noticeable. Not sure what to do because research indicates Stevia kills Borrelia (Lyme disease bacteria) in its various forms and when it does, it can cause a Herx reaction. I am not sure if this means I am allergic to it or if it could be killing bacteria, since once you have late stage Lyme, there is no test to say it is gone.

  • Mr Smith Sep 19, 2016

    I have migraines on and off. I started working out and they seemed to flare up. I narrowed it down to the protein I was taking. I got different protein and later got another migraine. Narrowed it down to stevia. Seems like most proteins are have stevia or Ace-K …. ugh.

  • Amber Gardner Sep 28, 2016

    I have severe migraines that normally last for about 3 days every time, very often. I discovered sugar and caffeine are triggers. I also discovered fruit was giving me migraines. So the only sweet things I could have was decaf tea or coffee with Splenda. But after a week I fell into a horrendous, days long migraine.

    Switched to Stevia. Still use a little Splenda, but main intake is Stevia. A week later, migraine.
    So now I’m completely without anything sweet to eat. I am terrified of sweet, and am losing weight.

  • Cathy Oct 7, 2016

    Has anyone heard/read/experienced that stevia can contribute to bruxism (grinding teeth while asleep)? I don’t doubt that it’s a migraine trigger for some people too, but I really wondered about this one. I was grinding my teeth MUCH more after upping stevia.

    • Kate Aug 10, 2017

      That’s so weird. I’ve had this! I’ve been getting severe migraines for two months along with stiff neck, pressure in the back of my skull and my jaw feels like I’ve been grinding my teeth. My doc was so concerned, I looked ‘strokey’, and was hospitalized. After eliminating Stevia, everything went away. It took about 3 days, but no migraine, jaw loosened up, etc.

  • Ashley Oct 24, 2016

    This is a great article. People always tell me I’m crazy because Stevia is natural it can’t cause migraines. However, it does for me. So does white sugar. I have tried Stevia in the raw and it gave me migraines as well. I use Coconut sugar to sweeten coffee.

  • Ashley Oct 24, 2016

    Try coconut sugar. It’s the only sweetener I can use without migraines.

  • Colleen Nov 5, 2016

    Stopped using stevia.

  • NO Nov 8, 2016

    I started drinking Plexus slim and had terrible headaches. I know its not the caffeine because I can drink caffeinated sodas without a problem. I started testing it. No pink drink, no headache. Yes Pink drink, headache. I even started taking half doses and really diluting it with water. Still gave me migraines. I’ve researched the ingredients. I’ve concluded that it is the stevia. I have problems with “artificial” sweeteners as well. 🙁

  • Christina Sanchez Jan 29, 2017

    I am trying to watch my weight. I use Splenda and NEVER had it trigger a migraine. I suffer from Hymopalagic Migraines, really severe form. Well, some said Stevia was healthy try it . so, I did. I was in bed a week with a migraine! I said maybe a coqunicdence. Then, I tried again not altering anything g in my diet but that and BAM another week in bed. So no more Stevia for me!!!

  • Aelon rhiadra Feb 6, 2017

    So, I’m not normally a migraine sufferer. I keep finding stevia in drinks…. Because they give me if not a migraine then at least a light sensitive headache. Which sounds like a migraine to me.

    The most annoying was today I picked up some fruit juice. No added sugar, no artificial sweetener. Great, so I didn’t check…. Yup. Stevia. I’m lucky I read the blurb before I opened it. Now what chance have I that the supermarket will allow me to refund or replace it…

  • Lisa Makehere Feb 13, 2017

    Was a migraineur since twelve years old, now 57, “cured” the sometimes weekly three day attacks after getting a genetic profile and finding out I have a severe sulfur and amine (protein byproducts) intolerance that would explain trouble with all cruciferous, eggs, dairy, red meat, some poultry, fermented anything, just about everything one buys in the grocery store with any kind of shelf life. I can use fresh stevia leaf and certain brands of stevia powder that does NOT contain any INULIN. The inulin is the big trigger. I can’t handle any beverages commonly including inulin either, such as Cafe Roma, Cafix, Postum…. My diet now consists of white and sweet potatoes for the calorie dense foods, fresh fish, non cruciferous veggies in moderation, and fresh fruit almost straight from the tree or plant. I can’t eat root veggies high in INULIN, such as chicory root, sun chokes, yacon. For me, digestion, metabolism, and migraine are VERY closely linked. Suspect INULIN because most stevia products contain it. So do many weight loss products.

    • Lakey May 22, 2017

      Is this profile something you requested through your doctor or had done through a private company?

  • Gayla Feb 15, 2017

    My migraines have been, essentially, under control for nearly two years thanks to a book, Heal Your Headache – The 1,2,3 Program. However, for the past 3 weeks, I have been unable to shake the migraines. I thought it had to be something that I had changed. My diet was unchanged. I thought it could be the weather, but it seemed to last a little long for it to be weather-related. The only other change that occurred to me was I had purchased, and been consuming, a different B-12 supplement. Upon checking the ingredients this morning, there it was…Stevia Leaf. I probably won’t know for a couple of days if that is, indeed, the cause. However, after 20 years of migraines, I feel certain. So, please be aware of all of the ingredients in your supplements!

  • Annie Apr 6, 2017

    I tried a soda with Stevia for the first time in my life then about 45 minutes later i got a migraine headache.

  • Jennifer May 19, 2017

    I had Halo Top ice cream twice this week (my 1st and 2nd time ever having it) and got a migraine both times. It has to be the stevia. I’m adding it to my trigger list. I also got terrible headaches after trying Shakeology shakes which I stopped after 3 days. Shakeology also has Stevia but i didn’t make the connection then.

  • Michelle Jun 14, 2017

    Have avoided artificial sweeteners like the plague for years once I realized they were triggering migraines. I thought stevia (“natural”) would be okay. I’ve tried several foods, Halo, Suja’s drinking vinegar, athletes’ power snacks, etc., and have a fierce migraine the next day, sad but true. Big fat bummer….just cuz s/t is labeled “Healthy” does not make it so.

  • Colleen Peters Jun 17, 2017

    I had to completely stop using it. Anything that had Stevia as an ingredient triggered a migraine.

  • Colleen Jun 26, 2017

    When aspartame first came out 1 diet coke gave me the worst migraine of my life. I had 2 more until I realized the connection.
    I used stevia ( 1pack) to sweeten my drink, within a half hour I had the worst migraine , vomiting that I had since drinking aspartame, I felt this way for 3 days.I was ready to go to the ER.. I don’t believe in anything that states all natural!

  • Steve Butler Jul 5, 2017

    Thank you for this excellent point of view. I actually loved the products I consumed, that had stevia in them. I started having major headaches after a while. Once I “assumed” that stevia was the common link to these headaches, i reluctantly had to stop eating/drinking these loved items. I will look into what else may be a trigger.

  • Cynthia Jul 23, 2017

    Absolutely a migraine trigger for me. Whenever I use a drink with stevia I get a headache.

  • B Jacobson Aug 5, 2017

    I tried Stevia drops from a couple different companies. It gave me a moderate migraine on repeated occasions. It turned out that I am sensitive to glycerin, which was contained in the liquids, not the stevia. I’m still wary of stevia from those bad experiences, but I have found that it’s in my green drink, and a couple other high-quality products that I consume, and I haven’t had a migraine from any of those. It was suggested to me to purchase a small amount of the raw, organic (green-colored, not bleached, with no stabilizers or fillers) stevia to try it again. Currently, I use pure monk fruit, and erythritol (both with no fillers or additives) with no problems.

    • Kate Aug 10, 2017

      I used the raw, organic kind and I still had debilitating headaches. Horrible.

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