University to open dietarysupplement safety center

The center will be a place to discuss and research dietary supplement concerns.

by Naomi Scott

The University announced Monday that it will open a center that will study the safety of dietary supplements.

Richard Kingston, the director of the Center for Dietary Supplement Safety, said companies that make dietary supplements are not regulated stringently by the Food and Drug Administration.

As a result, adverse effects of the supplements are not always reported, he said.

The center will be a place where companies, health-care professionals and the public can field inquiries about dietary supplements.

Kingston, a toxicologist and University pharmacy professor, said that until the creation of the center, there had not been an academic or professional setting that monitored the safety of the supplements.

If a consumer had an adverse reaction to a supplement he or she was taking, there was no process through which a report could be filed, he said.

Theodore Labuza, a professor of food science and nutrition and one of the center’s core faculty members, said the center will do more research to determine the stability of dietary supplements in different venues. For example, some supplements are taken in capsule or tablet form, while others are consumed in liquid form,

he said.

Martin Kidwell, a licensed acupuncturist who works in the health and body care

department at the Wedge Community Co-op in Minneapolis, said some of the co-op’s customers voice concerns about dietary supplements sold in the store.

While there can be adverse reactions to these supplements, Kidwell said, many consumers use them because they have had adverse reactions and unsuccessful experiences using Western drugs.