The use of herbal dietary supplements, also known as nutraceuticals, is one of the most rapidly growing forms of self-medication in the United States and the world. Americans spent nearly $4 billion on supplements in 1998, up from $1.6 billion in 1994, according to the American Botanical Council. Dietary supplements don't undergo the rigorous testing demanded by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for drugs and are subject to few controls on quality and purity. As a result, little is known about their effectiveness, optimal dosage, side effects or interactions with other medications.
Because numerous claims are being made about the widely variable products, there is confusion in the marketplace. This book addresses essential questions about dietary supplements that need to be asked and answered.
The goal of the AAPS Dietary Supplements Forum and book, as stated by Larry Augsburger, Ph.D., chair of the AAPS Dietary Supplements Advisory Board and forum chair, is to "gain a better understanding of the science and quality issues of dietary supplements and promote the formulation of new scientific initiatives to remove any barriers to the formation of public policy and establishment of appropriate, rational standards that protect consumers."
In his welcoming remarks, Augsburger, a former AAPS president, cautions consumers that reading labels and comparing prices are not the best means to determine a dietary supplement's effectiveness and side effects. He stresses that consumers need to engage in critical pre-purchase research on any dietary supplement they wish to buy. Augsburger provides guidance to consumers on how to protect themselves from potentially dangerous or possibly ineffective products.
A key issue discussed includes whether vitamins or herbal remedies can lose their effectiveness. They can, but consumers don't know when products expire because the FDA, which regulates the drug industry, doesn't require expiration dates for dietary supplements. So how do consumers know when products have lost their potency? A professor of food science and engineering at the University of Minnesota addresses the issue of shelf life testing for dietary supplements.
Other key issues addressed in the book include:
· Regulatory implications of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health Education Act (DSHEA) and FDA plans for its implementation
· Current status and challenges of validating the health benefits and risks of dietary supplements
· Challenges of educating both health care professionals and consumers about dietary supplements
· Extraction methods, analytical challenges and other issues/problems involved in standardizing botanical extracts
· Scientific barriers to establishing appropriate standards for the manufacture, product quality and performance of dietary supplements.
The proceedings from the AAPS Dietary Supplements Forum feature presentations, panel discussions and question-and-answer sessions in a practical, reader-friendly format.
Some of the Presenters included:
· Paul M. Coates, Ph.D., Director, Office of Dietary Supplements, NIH
· Roger L. Williams, M.D., President and CEO, United States Pharmacopeia
· Derrick M. DeSilva, Jr., M.D., President, American Nutraceutical Association
· Joseph M. Betz, Ph.D., Vice President, American Herbal Products Association
· Larry D. Lawson, Ph.D., Research Director, Plant Bioactives Research Institute
· David S. Hungerford, M.D., Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Johns Hopkins University
· Bernadette M. Marriott, Ph.D., Vice President, Programs & Communications, Burroughs Wellcome Fund
AAPS is a professional, scientific society of more than 11,000 members employed in academia, industry, government and other research institutes worldwide. For more information about AAPS, visit AAPS Pharmaceutica at http://www.
Examining The Science Behind Nutraceuticals: Proceedings of the AAPS Dietary Supplements Forum
American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), AAPS PRESS
ISBN #0-9711767-0-1; soft cover, 392 pages, photographs, charts and graphs
List Price: $179 US (shipping not included) for AAPS non-members,
$125 US (shipping not included) for AAPS members
Publication Date: August 2001