Category:Dietary Supplements

From LLL in VA/WV References

When considering an herbal medicine or supplement, please keep in mind that:

Because of the lack of safety data, the experts at InfantRisk generally recommend that breastfeeding mothers avoid taking dietary supplements and herbal medicines.

Dr. James Abbey of InfantRisk has said

Breastfeeding babies are a metabolically vulnerable population and it just makes sense not to expose them to substances for which the risks are poorly defined. Lactation is a time for simplicity and letting your body do what it does best....It is our well-considered position that breastfeeding women should limit their use of ALL herbs and medications to only those situations where the benefit to the family clearly exceeds the risk to the infant.
Herbal products are not well-regulated.

In the US, the FDA only regulates the labeling of dietary supplements, not their content or quality.

Most herbals are labeled as dietary supplements, and so have to include the disclaimer that they “have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration”, and are “not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent and/or cure any disease”.

The supplement manufacturer does not have to get FDA approval for its products or claims, and it does not have to prove that the product is either effective or safe.

The ingredients in herbal products often do not match what's on the label.

In a recent DNA study of 44 herbal products from 12 different companies, the researchers found that

  • 59% of the samples contained plant species not listed on the label
  • 33% of the samples contained contaminants or fillers not listed on the label
  • 32% of the samples contained a different plant in place of the product’s main labeled ingredient, which was NOT detected within the sample
  • 9% of the samples contained only wheat or rice, and not the plant species on the label

For example, one of the products in the study that was labeled St. John's Wort contained only senna, which is a laxative that should not be taken on a long-term basis. In other products, some of the unlabeled fillers and contaminants were allergens that could cause severe reactions in sensitive people.