FDA and Dietary Supplements
Eating a healthy diet in today’s society is challenging: the average grocery story in the USA has ~42,000 products and a large percentage (60-70%) of purchases are processed foods of varying nutritional quality. Almost 70% of Americans use one or more of 50,000 – 80,000 over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, or other dietary supplements. Non-vitamin supplements often lack data from modern research studies or use traditional culture medicines that were developed over centuries but under different food culture and built environment conditions.
The U.S. FDA recently announced new efforts to strengthen the regulation of dietary supplements and a reform of their oversight of the industry (http://tinyurl.com/yy9ugs67) which is determined by the 1994 Dietary Health, Education, and Safety Act (http://tinyurl.com/y54hmlbh). Although many specifics need to be established and public input will be sought, a concrete action was the creation of the Botanical Safety Consortium, a public-private partnership of scientists from industry, academia, and government “…to promote scientific advances in evaluating the safety of botanical ingredients and mixtures in dietary supplements.”
Our team developed an experimental approach (http://tinyurl.com/yyxm2pno), that included a replication arm, to test how mixtures of bioactives (in this case, 12 vitamins and 5 minerals) alter physiology along with computational networks for cofactors (http://tinyurl.com/yymc9399) and polyphenols (http://tinyurl.com/y496apwb).