Dietary Supplement Labels Often Inaccurately Represent Contents

HealthDay News — Mislabeling of herbal and dietary supplements (HDS) is common, occurring in more than half of products tested, according to a study scheduled for presentation at The Liver Meeting, being held by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases from October 20 to 24 in Washington, DC.

Victor J. Navarro, MD, from Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia, and colleagues compared product ingredients as determined through chemical analysis (standard liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy with electrospray ionization source protocol) with the ingredients listed on the product labels for 203 HDS products. 

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The researchers found that only 90 of 203 (44%) HDS products had labels that accurately reflected their contents. Mislabeling rates were 80% for HDS made principally of steroidal ingredients, 54% for those made principally of vitamin ingredients, and 48% for those made principally of botanical ingredients. Products used for bodybuilding had mislabeling rates of 79%, followed by mislabeling rates of 72% for weight loss products, 60% for energy boosters, and 51% for general health/well-being products. Mislabeling rates were similar for the 166 HDS products judged to be responsible for liver injury by Drug Induced Liver Injury Network investigators.

“These findings should inform how these agents are evaluated as potential causes for liver injury,” write the authors.

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