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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Arkansas: Establishes Center for Dietary Supplements Research

A new center to provide regulatory agencies, industry and the public with credible information and assessments related to the safety of dietary supplements has been established by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Fay W. Boozman Colleges of Public Health and Pharmacy.

The Center for Dietary Supplements Research is co-directed by Drs. Bill Gurley and Igor Koturbash, and will provide expert opinions, risk communication, and professional and educational services related to the safety of dietary supplements.

About 70 percent of adults in the United States consume dietary supplements and 20 percent of those include herbal dietary supplements.

“Unlike conventional medications, dietary supplements are not required to undergo pre-market approval testing for safety or efficacy,” said Dr. Koturbash, “Thus, the potential for harm from such products is not evident until the public has consumed them.”

In recent years, there has been an increase in adverse effects from these supplements. Over the last decade alone, there’s been a significant increase — from 7 percent to 20 percent — in liver injury from herbal dietary supplements. Dietary supplements marketed for weight loss and exercise performance enhancement are of particular concern as many of these products have been linked to severe heart and liver damage. A number of these products have already been taken off the market.

This center will be a resource for information and technical expertise on these products, while at the same time working with industry experts, regulatory agencies, researchers and the public to deliver evidence-based, accurate information.

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