A Key Ingredient In Supplements Has Been Found Harmful To Pregnant Women

If ever there was a time to check the back of labels...

Mums to be, listen up!
Hoping to one day conceive or already carrying your first child?

Think taking supplements is the best way to optimise your health and body for preconception? A new warning from the Food And Drug Administration may change the way you see them.
In a report, as published by the National Institute of Health, a key ingredient in dietary supplements could be found to cause miscarriage or harm foetal development.

Image: iStock

The ingredient, known as vinpocetine, is a synthetic compound that can be sold on its own or combined with other ingredients and is promoted to enhance cognitive performance, energy levels and lead to a rapid reduction of body fat.
But as the researchers have found, vinpocetine—or also known as ‘vinca minor extract,’ ‘lesser periwinkle extract,’ or ‘common periwinkle extract’—can actually lead to devastating harm to women of childbearing age or already in the prenatal phase.  
What does it do exactly? The study found vinpocetine could dramatically decrease the weight of the foetus, and when tested on animals, also increase the chance of miscarriage significantly.
The report compared blood levels of pregnant animals and women and found after a single dose of vinpocetine, pregnant women may be just as likely to experience adverse effects as the animals.

Image: iStock

And, in an even more concerning finding, despite the content amount listed on the supplement bottles, scientists found in some cases, the vinpocetine levels varied, meaning a higher amount than expected could be consumed.

While the FDA is now warning against using products with vinpocetine, at a larger level, they are now asking manufacturers to provide safety warnings against use by pregnant women and women who wish to become pregnant.
With over half of the population in America consuming a supplement of sorts, according to the FDA, this news couldn’t come at a more worrying time.

Concerned about what key ingredients you can or can’t consume? Check out the new FDA Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List detailing what’s safe supplement wise. Also, if you’re still concerned, see your GP or health practitioner to make sure you’re doing what’s best for your body and baby.

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