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Adverse effects of plant food supplements self-reported by consumers in the PlantLIBRA survey involving six European countries


Restani, Patrizia; Di Lorenzo, Chiara; Garcia-Alvarez, Alicia; Badea, Mihaela; Ceschi, Alessandro; Egan, Bernadette; Dima, Lorena; Lüde, Saskia; Maggi, Franco M; Marculescu, Angela; Milà-Villarroel, Raimon; Raats, Monique M; Ribas-Barba, Lourdes; Uusitalo, Liisa; Serra-Majem, Lluís (2016). Adverse effects of plant food supplements self-reported by consumers in the PlantLIBRA survey involving six European countries. PLoS ONE, 11(2):e0150089.

Abstract

Background: The use of food supplements containing botanicals is increasing in European markets. Although intended to maintain the health status, several cases of adverse effects to Plant Food Supplements (PFS) have been described.
Objectives: To describe the self-reported adverse effects collected during the European PlantLIBRA PFS Consumer Survey 2011–2012, with a critical evaluation of the plausibility of the symptomatology reported using data from the literature and from the PlantLIBRA Poisons Centers' survey.
Subjects/Setting: From the total sample of 2359 consumers involved in the consumers' survey, 82 subjects reported adverse effects due to a total of 87 PFS.
Results: Cases were self-reported, therefore causality was not classified on the basis of clinical evidence, but by using the frequency/strength of adverse effects described in scientific papers: 52 out of 87 cases were defined as possible (59.8%) and 4 as probable (4.6%). Considering the most frequently cited botanicals, eight cases were due to Valeriana officinalis (garden valerian); seven to Camellia sinensis (tea); six to Ginkgo biloba (Maidenhair tree) and Paullinia cupana (guarana). Most adverse events related to the gastrointestinal tract, nervous and cardiovascular systems.
Conclusions: Comparing the data from this study with those published in scientific papers and obtained by the PlantLIBRA Poisons Centers' survey, some important conclusions can be drawn: severe adverse effects to PFS are quite rare, although mild or moderate adverse symptoms can be present. Data reported in this paper can help health professionals (and in particular family doctors) to become aware of possible new problems associated with the increasing use of food supplements containing botanicals.

Abstract

Background: The use of food supplements containing botanicals is increasing in European markets. Although intended to maintain the health status, several cases of adverse effects to Plant Food Supplements (PFS) have been described.
Objectives: To describe the self-reported adverse effects collected during the European PlantLIBRA PFS Consumer Survey 2011–2012, with a critical evaluation of the plausibility of the symptomatology reported using data from the literature and from the PlantLIBRA Poisons Centers' survey.
Subjects/Setting: From the total sample of 2359 consumers involved in the consumers' survey, 82 subjects reported adverse effects due to a total of 87 PFS.
Results: Cases were self-reported, therefore causality was not classified on the basis of clinical evidence, but by using the frequency/strength of adverse effects described in scientific papers: 52 out of 87 cases were defined as possible (59.8%) and 4 as probable (4.6%). Considering the most frequently cited botanicals, eight cases were due to Valeriana officinalis (garden valerian); seven to Camellia sinensis (tea); six to Ginkgo biloba (Maidenhair tree) and Paullinia cupana (guarana). Most adverse events related to the gastrointestinal tract, nervous and cardiovascular systems.
Conclusions: Comparing the data from this study with those published in scientific papers and obtained by the PlantLIBRA Poisons Centers' survey, some important conclusions can be drawn: severe adverse effects to PFS are quite rare, although mild or moderate adverse symptoms can be present. Data reported in this paper can help health professionals (and in particular family doctors) to become aware of possible new problems associated with the increasing use of food supplements containing botanicals.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:01 Mar 2016 18:44
Last Modified:06 Feb 2017 16:12
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0150089

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