22 January 2009

Dietary supplements with nano-additives: a bitter pill

USA: problems of safety control of nanotechnology application in dietary supplementsPublished by: birger

The ability of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA, USA) to regulate the safety of dietary supplements using nanomaterials is severely limited by lack of information, lack of resources, lack of authority in certain most important areas, as reported in a recent expert report of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN).

The report “A Hard Pill To Swallow: Barriers to Effective FDA Regulation of Nanotechnology-Based Dietary Supplements" describes the main problem of the FDA in the regulation of nano-dietary supplements and offers a lot of recommendations for improving the supervision of such products. The full text of the report (pdf, 2.5 Mb) is published on the PEN website.

Historically, the control of dietary supplements is a very serious, difficult problem for the FDA, and the fact that some of these products are currently manufactured using nanotechnology creates additional difficulties, says William Schultz, co-author of the report and a former FDA employee.

Very little is known about the use of the developed nanoparticles in the market of dietary supplements. The existing law requires additional amendments to force manufacturers to disclose limited information about their products, and the information that is available is the result of active advertising by manufacturers of the use of nanotechnology in the production of their products, according to the report.

While it is not possible to accurately determine the prevalence of dietary supplements using nanoparticles, it is very likely that in the next few years the public's exposure to such products will increase significantly, says Lisa Barclay, also a co-author of the report.

According to the federal study of environmental health and safety in the field of nanotechnology, with the support of PEN, the US government spends less than $1 million a year to study the direct effects of nanomaterials on the gastrointestinal tract.

It is unclear whether the dietary supplement industry conducts the appropriate thorough tests necessary to understand the action of nano-ingredients in products, as well as the characteristics of products. This means that consumers are potentially at risk, which should be balanced with the possible benefits of taking such supplements, says David Rejeski, head of PEN.

Portal "Eternal youth" www.vechnayamolodost.ru22.01.2009

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