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Botanicals’ safety

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Botanical dietary supplements with a safe history may not require the same level of toxicity testing as synthetic pharmaceutical drugs, according to research published in the February American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Misidentification, production errors, contamination or poor manufacturing processes are associated with most incidences of toxicity in supplements, according to Richard B. van Breemen at the University of Illinois-Chicago National Institutes of Health Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research. Additionally, botanical-drug interactions can be a source of toxicity, including formation of electrophilic metabolites, allergic reactions, botanical-induced autoimmune reactions, or specific systemic or organ-specific reactions, the researchers say. However, most toxicity can be prevented by sound agricultural and manufacturing practices and by applying existing toxicity tests similar to those used in drug development or new toxicity assays under development based on proteomics, genomics or metabolomics, van Breeman et al. say...

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