Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Some herbal medicine products contain potentially toxic amounts of heavy metals

15.12.2004


An analysis of a sample of Ayurvedic herbal medicine products found that 20 percent contained metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic at levels that could be toxic if taken as directed, according to a study in the December 15 issue of JAMA.



According to background information in the article, approximately 80 percent of India’s one billion population uses Ayurveda, a medical system that originated in India more than 2000 years ago and greatly relies on herbal medicine products (HMPs). Ayurveda’s popularity in Western countries has increased. Because Ayurvedic HMPs are marketed as dietary supplements, they are regulated under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which does not require proof of safety or efficacy prior to marketing. Herbs, minerals and metals are used in Ayurvedic HMPs. Recent reports of serious lead poisoning associated with taking Ayurvedic HMPs were the impetus for the current study.

Robert B. Saper, M.D., M.P.H., formerly of Harvard Medical School, Boston, (currently with the Boston University School of Medicine) and colleagues examined Ayurvedic HMPs manufactured in South Asia and sold in Boston-area stores in order to examine their heavy metal content. From April to October 2003, the researchers purchased 70 different Ayurvedic HMPs at stores within 20 miles of Boston City Hall. Concentrations of lead, mercury and arsenic were measured in the samples. The potential amount of daily metal ingestion, estimated by using manufacturers’ dosage recommendations, was compared to U.S. Pharmacopeia and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulatory standards.


The researchers found that 14 (20 percent) of the 70 HMPs contained lead, mercury and/or arsenic, and that if taken as recommended by the manufacturer, each of these could result in heavy metal intake above the published regulatory standards. Lead was found in 13 HMPs; mercury in six HMPs; and arsenic in six HMPs. Half of the HMPs containing potentially toxic heavy metals were recommended for children. The 14 HMPs containing heavy metals were manufactured by 11 different companies. Of the 30 stores visited, 24 sold at least one heavy metal-containing HMP.

"… the presence of heavy metals in Ayurvedic HMPs and the numerous reports of associated toxicity may have important public health, clinical, and policy implications in the United States and abroad. Although the prevalence of heavy metal–containing Ayurvedic HMP use is unknown, the number of individuals at potential risk is substantial," the authors write. "Public health and community organizations should consider issuing advisories to current or previous Ayurvedic HMP users, encouraging them to consult their physicians about heavy metal screening."

"Our findings support calls for reform of DSHEA that would require mandatory testing of all imported dietary supplements for toxic heavy metals," they conclude.

Gina DiGravio | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jama.com

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure
24.11.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young
22.11.2017 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>