NTP workshop focuses on dietary botanical supplements
To address the challenges of assessing the safety of botanical dietary supplements, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) convened a workshop in 2016 called, "Addressing Challenges in the Assessment of Botanical Dietary Supplement Safety." The discussions and outcomes of the meeting were published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.
Botanical dietary supplements, sometimes called herbals or herbal dietary supplements, are products made from plants, plant parts, or plant extracts. According to estimates from one group, Americans spent approximately $7.5 billion on these supplements in 2016. Due to their widespread use, but lack of toxicity data on these products, NTP invited stakeholders involved in research, manufacturing, regulation, and consumption of the products to the workshop. The meeting prioritized three challenges in evaluating botanical safety: developing methods to compare botanical products that display a high degree of variability; identifying active ingredients responsible for biological responses to botanicals; and assessing the way the body absorbs, distributes, metabolizes, and eliminates botanicals.
Workshop participants discussed inconsistencies in study design and product composition, as well as difficulty in evaluating toxicity and maintaining product quality and integrity. They also addressed regulatory issues, including mandatory new dietary ingredient notifications. The meeting also highlighted the roles of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Dietary Supplement Program in these efforts. (KM)
Citation: Shipkowski KA, Betz JM, Birnbaum LS, Bucher JR, Coates PM, Hopp DC, MacKay D, Oketch-Rabah H, Walker NJ, Welch C, Rider CV. 2018. Naturally complex: perspective and challenges associated with Botanical Dietary Supplement Safety assessment. Food Chem Toxicol; doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2018.04.007 [Online 4 April 2018].