Updates on chemical and biological research on botanical ingredients in dietary supplements
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- Pawar, R.S., Tamta, H., Ma, J. et al. Anal Bioanal Chem (2013) 405: 4373. doi:10.1007/s00216-012-6691-2
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Increased use of dietary supplements is a phenomenon observed worldwide. In the USA, more than 40 % of the population recently reported using complementary and alternative medicines, including botanical dietary supplements. Perceptions that such dietary supplements are natural and safe, may prevent disease, may replace prescription medicines, or may make up for a poor diet, play important roles in their increased use. Toxicity of botanical dietary supplements may result from the presence of naturally occurring toxic constituents or from contamination or adulteration with pharmaceutical agents, heavy metals, mycotoxins, pesticides, or bacteria, misidentification of a plant species in a product, formation of electrophilic metabolites, organ-specific reactions, or botanical–drug interactions. The topics discussed in this review illustrate several issues in recent research on botanical ingredients in dietary supplements. These include (1) whether 1,3-dimethylamylamine is a natural constituent of rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), (2) how analysis of the components of dietary supplements containing bitter melon (Momordica charantia) is essential to understanding their potential biological effects, and (3) how evolving methods for in vitro studies on botanical ingredients can contribute to safety evaluations. The virtual explosion in the use of botanical ingredients in hundreds of products presents a considerable challenge to the analytical community, and the need for appropriate methods cannot be overstated. We review recent developments and use of newer and increasingly sensitive methods that can contribute to increasing the safety and quality of botanical ingredients in dietary supplements.