Since these supplements are not regulated by the FDA, it is essential that consumers be aware of the following issues surrounding herbal supplements, which can affect safety:

• Nonstandardization: Many herbal supplements are not standardized, making it difficult to compare potencies between products.
• Contamination and/or adulteration: Dietary supplements are not strictly regulated; many reports of poor product quality exist, including those involving contamination and/or adulteration.
• Bioavailability: Although some herbs have been studied in laboratories, data on human bioavailability are often lacking.
• Dosage and toxicity: Few herbal supplements have been investigated in a clinical setting for specific indications; therefore, the dosage and toxicity of these products remain unclear.
• Herb–drug interactions: Although interactions such as those involving grapefruit and St. John’s wort are well documented, most herb–drug interactions remain unclear.
Do not take herbal supplements without checking with your doctor or a qualified health expert.

Guest Article, Dietician Shwetha Bhatia